Place the tomatoes and garlic in a saucepan. Cover with water, bring to a boil over medium high heat and cook for about 10 minutes, until the tomatoes are completely cooked through and rehydrated.
Transfer tomatoes and garlic to a blender or food processor, along with 1 cup of the cooking liquid, the white onion, and 1 teaspoon of the salt. Puree until smooth.
Heat the oil in a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the pureed tomato mixture and cook for 6 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until it darkens in color and thickens in consistency.
Meanwhile, rinse your blender, add the refried pinto beans, and 2 cups of the chicken broth and puree until smooth.
Reduce the heat to medium and stir the bean puree, remaining broth and remaining ½ teaspoon of salt into the thickened tomato mixture. Simmer for about 10 or until the soup has seasoned and has a creamy consistency. Taste for salt and add more if needed.
Ladle the soup into bowls, drizzle with a tablespoon of the cream, top with some cheese, a handful of tortilla strips, chicharrones and diced avocado. You can also place the garnishes in bowls on the table to let your guests decide how much of each garnish they want to add to their bowls.
Born and raised in Mexico City, Pati is host of the 3x James Beard Award-winning PBS television series “Pati’s Mexican Table” and the PBS primetime docuseries “La Frontera.” She is resident chef at the Mexican Cultural Institute in Washington, D.C., and a cookbook author.