3/4 pound (340 grams) large Roma tomatoes (about 5)
1/4 large white onion, peeled
2 garlic cloves, lightly crushed
6 cups homemade chicken stock or low-sodium chicken broth
1 large chile ancho (14 grams), stemmed and seeded
3 large chiles guajillo (16 grams), stemmed and seeded
1 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano
3 sprigs epazote
2 1/2 teaspoons (10 grams) fine sea salt, plus more as needed
4 cups vegetable oil, for frying
8 corn tortillas, cut into thin strips
For serving: shredded rotisserie chicken, crema, queso fresco, chopped onion, chopped cilantro, and lime wedges
Line a medium skillet, preferably cast iron, with 2 sheets of foil and heat over high heat until very hot, about 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes, onion, and garlic and cook, turning them occasionally, until charred on all sides, 12 to 16 minutes. Transfer to a large, wide pot.
Add the stock, ancho, 1 of the guajillos, oregano, epazote, and salt to the pot with the charred vegetables. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the chiles and vegetables are very tender and flavors have melded, about 30 minutes. Let cool in the pot slightly, about 10 minutes.
Working in batches, transfer the soup to the jar of a blender. Blend until smooth. Transfer back to the pot and season with salt if necessary.
Meanwhile, cut the remaining 2 guajillos into very thin strips. Heat the vegetable oil in a medium skillet over high heat until very hot, about 375°F. Fry the guajillo strips, turning them frequently, until deep brick-red in color, about 10 seconds. Transfer to a paper towel–lined sheet tray. The oil is now seasoned with the flavor of the chiles. Working in batches, fry the tortilla strips, stirring frequently, until deep golden brown and crispy, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel–lined sheet tray and sprinkle with salt. Continue with the remaining tortilla strips.
Reheat the soup if necessary and ladle into bowls. Top each with tortilla strips, shredded chicken, fried chiles guajillo, a drizzle of crema, a sprinkle of queso fresco, chopped onion, chopped cilantro, and a squeeze of lime.
Rick Martínez is an award-winning, bestselling cookbook author and host of cooking and travel shows on YouTube. He is a regular contributor to The New York Times and currently resides in Mazatlán with his dog, Choco, where he cooks, eats, and enjoys the Mexican Pacific coast.