Carnitas Caldo (Carnitas Soup)

Friday, November 8, 2013

TGIF...or IWIWOV (I wish I was on vacation). For those of you that don't live in my town, I'll have you know that the lake had a sheet of ice over it this morning behind my house. Waaaay too early for that! Thankfully, the temps are on the upswing, the snow from earlier this week is starting to melt, and the lake was only temporarily covered in a thin layer of ice. Whew!

With this brisk weather, there is nothing better than a warm bowl of soup, or caldo if you will. As my household only consist of T & I, those delicious crispy slow-cooker carnitas from Wednesday left me with many leftovers. Luckily, I had plenty left over for this spicy little Mexican caldo.

Step One: Gather the ingredients.

Step Two: Roast those serranos (or jalapenos).

Step Three: Saute onion and chayote for 5 min over medium-high heat. Add garlic for  a couple minutes, then the remaining carnitas, broth, serranos/jalapenos. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 30 minutes.

Step Four: Make the potato-masa dumplings. Set aside, or refrigerate until ready to use.

Recipe adapted from Gimme Some Oven

CARNITAS CALDO ( CARNITAS SOUP) | Yield: 6-8 Servings | Total Time: 1 hour 30 min + carnitas cook time


1 Tbsp olive oil
1 large white onion, diced
1 chayote, skin and core removed, then sliced into matchsticks*
8 cloves garlic, minced
8 C chicken broth
5-6 C cooked pork carnitas*
1-3 roasted serrano peppers (or substitute jalapeno), chopped, to taste*
salt and pepper, to taste
2 C potato-masa dumplings
2 avocados, cubed
1 C fresh cilantro, chopped
6-8 C baby arugula
lime wedges for garnish

*NOTE* I found chayote (a type of squash) in my local Walmart produce section. If you aren't having any luck, try substituting jicama, pepper, or carrots. Chayote is about the size of a pear, and the taste is somewhere between summer squash, jicama, and green apple, with a texture similar to broccoli stalks. Use leftover carnitas for the soup. If substituting jalapeno, be very careful of how much you add to the soup, as it is a larger pepper, and tends to be more hot than serrano.

Potato-Masa Dumplings Ingredients:
1 C mashed potatoes (1 large russet)
1/2 C masa harina*
1 egg
1/4 tsp. salt

*NOTE* If you have trouble finding masa harina (as I did), substitute hardshell corn tortillas. You'll need about 6. Put them in a food processor or blender, and grind into a fine powder. You could substitute corn meal, but then you will need to add a little lime juice to get the correct flavor profile. Another substitute idea: add a can of corn and some diced potatoes for a similar, but easier option.


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut the serranos or jalapenos in half and lay cut side down on a small foil-covered baking sheet. Rub the skin side with a small amount of olive oil, then roast in oven for about 20 minutes, or until skin begins to appear dried out at the edges. Remove from oven and allow to cool.

Meanwhile, heat oil in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Add onion and chayote, saute for 5 minutes until the onion is transluscent. Add minced garlic and cook an additional 1-2 minutes. Add carnitas, broth, serrano peppers (adding one at a time to keep a control on the heat). I chose to thin out my soup a little and added 3 C water at this point. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer at least 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste, if desired. I found that I didn't need any extra seasoning.

Skin and cube potato. Boil potato for about 20 minutes, or until cubes are tender. Drain potatoes. In a small bowl, combine potato cubes, masa harina, egg and salt. Mash together. Take about 1/4 C and roll into a tube about 1/2 inch in width. Slice into 1 inch sections, roll into balls, and drop into boiling water to flash cook. As soon as the dumplings float to the top, they are ready. Watch very closely, or the dumplings will disintegrate. Remove to paper-towel lined plate. Refrigerate until ready for use.

Ladle enough soup into a bowl to fill about halfway. Add potato-masa dumplings, chopped cilantro, arugula, avocado, and lime to garnish. Don't forget to squeeze some of that delicious lime juice into your soup before taking the first bite.

Do you have any favorite Mexican inspired soup recipes?

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Thanks for visiting! Let me know if you have any suggestions of recipes I should try, fun ideas to do with the kiddo, or a suggested adventure to add to our bucket list!

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