Your Mexican Tortilla Soup Needs 2 Essential Flavors, According To An Expert

Tortilla soup with ingredients on pink board
Tortilla soup with ingredients on pink board - Lunamarina/Getty Images

Tortilla soup, a Mexican dish, is a hearty and delicious comfort food that can be adapted to your dietary preferences (the vegetarian version is just as tasty as a version with chicken). But, even though it's a versatile dish, there are a couple of ingredients you need to make sure you include -- besides the titular tortillas, of course.

To find out how to make the best tortilla soup possible, Tasting Table spoke to an expert: Chef Roberto Santibañez, a James Beard award-winning cookbook author and chef who owns Mi Vida, which boasts three locations in Washington D.C., and Fonda, which has three locations in New York City.

When asked the key to making great tortilla soup, Santibañez insisted that it comes down to two ingredients: epazote and chile pasilla negro (or black chiles). Epazote is an aromatic herb that is native to both Mexico and Guatemala and can be used either fresh or dried (although fresh will provide more flavor). As for the taste, it has notes of mint, oregano, and citrus. Meanwhile, black chiles bring a sweet and robust flavor profile to the dish.

Read more: Try These 8 Traditional Mexican Dishes

Why Roberto Santibañez Thinks Epazote And Black Chiles Are Key To Great Tortilla Soup

Bunch of epazote on wood board
Bunch of epazote on wood board - Guajillo studio/Shutterstock

While speaking to Tasting Table, Roberto Santibañez explained why epazote and black chiles are integral to a great -- and authentic -- Mexican tortilla soup. As for the epazote, Santibañez said, "It's what gives a good tortilla soup that pungent, herbaceous, woodsy flavor." As mentioned above, you can find epazote in either fresh or dried form -- but Santibañez insists that you seek it out in fresh form to get the most out of the flavor. As for where to find it, the chef said you can seek out a Mexican grocery store or find it online.

Santibañez also noted that using black chiles for tortilla soup is a common practice in his home country of Mexico. As for what they bring to the table, he continued, "The chiles have this really distinct earthy flavor. It's only mildly spicy and provides a beautiful deep brown color to the broth." And to top off the dish, Santibañez adds one more thing: diced avocados on top.

Read the original article on Tasting Table.