The lovely ladies of Blah Blah Birds invited Sam and me to be part of their Fall Recipe Swap. Racking my brain on what to share and what represents Los Angeles during the fall (it's still 80 degrees here), I quickly dialed up my mom for some brainstorming. As usual mother knows best and reminded me to keep it simple so ladies and gentlemen let me introduce you to a soup that will ease your dinner time woes and is chock full of flavor: drunken carnitas spicy tortilla soup. Inspired by a Trader Joe's demonstration that I stumbled across and literally saved me from a grocery store meltdown (let's just say I don't do well when surrounded by grocery carts and horrible parking situations) this soup starts with 2 TJ's classic ingredients: Trader Joe's carnitas and Salsa Verde. But in this household we need to kick it up a notch and add a couple of our own staples: spice and beer. The best part about this soup is: it's perfect for those picky eaters out there. So let's get started and remember, I'm not an expert when it comes to the kitchen but this recipe is simple enough for anyone to try and you can get creative with your ingredients.
Things to think about prior to getting started:
I like to cook mine for a couple hours. I found the longer I leave it on the more flavor.
If you see it's getting more stew-like than soup-like add more water. Most of you know this already but for us newbies it's important to note.
For extra spice, add a habanero chile to the pot. One of those babies will have any cold or flu running for the hills. If you're like me, I tend to spice out any bug that comes my way.
If you don't like any of the ingredients below, feel free to substitute or remove. It's fine to switch out the carnitas for chicken or more veggies.
Drunken Carnitas Spicy Tortilla Soup
1 bottle of Trader Joe's Salsa Verde
1 packet of Trader Joe's Carnitas (already cooked so if you plan on making this carnitas from another store, be sure to cook prior)
3 cloves of garlic - crushed
3 cups of chicken broth
4 cups of water
1 bottle of beer (I prefer Negra Modelo)
1/4 of a large onion - chopped
3 large jalapenos (if you want more spice use 2 jalapenos and 1 habanero)
3 large limes
1 large lemon
Pepper to taste
2 TSP of Tajin
1 TSP ancho chile spice
1 TSP Cayenne
Tortillas (corn or flour)
Cilantro (if you like)
Directions: Take a large saucepan and pour in the salsa verde, beer, water, chicken broth and add the packet of carnitas. Bring to a boil and cook for a couple of minutes. Once at a boil lower heat to simmer, then add the rest of your ingredients. I tend to let it cook for 2 hours so it's super flavorful. You may need to add another cup of water if you like yours with more broth. If your in a hurry, 45 minutes to an hour works nicely too. When ready to serve, I like to top my soup with corn tortilla strips, cheese, avocado slices, lime and jalapeno.
Remember all the above is what I used but you can add or eliminate whatever you like. Our household loves spice so we tend to go a little overboard to ensure the heat is optimal. Enjoy!