- 3 guajillo chiles stemmed and seeded
- 1 pound ripe tomatoes
- 1 clove garlic
- 1/2 cup roughly chopped white onion
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher or coarse sea salt or to taste
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 6 cups chicken broth
- 1 sprig fresh parsley
- 12 corn tortillas cut into 1- to 2-inch strips
- 1 ancho or pasilla chile stemmed, seeded, cut into 1-inch strips and quickly fried (optional, for garnish)
- vegetable oil for frying
- 8 ounces queso fresco diced
- 1/2 cup Mexican style cream crème fraiche or sour cream
- 1 ripe Mexican avocado halved, pitted, meat scooped out and diced
- Set a comal or skillet over medium heat. Once it is hot, toast the guajillo chiles for about a minute per side.
- In a medium saucepan, place the toasted guajillos, tomatoes, and garlic clove and cover with water. Place over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer anywhere from 12 to 15 minutes, until tomatoes are fully cooked and mushy, and the guajillos have rehydrated and plumped up.
- Place the guajillos, tomatoes, garlic and onion in a blender, along with 1 cup of the simmering liquid and salt. Puree until completely smooth.
- In a large soup pot, heat the 2 tablespoons oil over medium-high heat. Once hot, but not smoking, pour in the tomato puree. It will sizzle, make noise and smoke. Partially cover with a lid, if you need to. Let the puree cook, season and thicken, changing from a bright red to a darker red and thicker consistency, for about 12 minutes, stirring occasionally. Pour in the chicken broth, add the parsley sprig and once it comes to a simmer, continue simmering for another 10 minutes. Before serving, remove the parsley sprig.
- To prepare the garnishes: Fry or bake the tortilla strips. Flash fry the ancho or pasilla chile strips, literally 5 seconds in already hot oil in a skillet set over medium heat, drain in a paper towel.
- Serve in soup bowls. Add a handful of tortilla crisps, and let people decide how much cream, queso fresco, chile crisps and avocado to add to their bowls. Or, if you don’t want to give anyone a choice, place all the garnishes in the soup plates, and pour the hot soup into the bowls at the table.