Instant Pot (or not!) Chicken Tortilla Soup

Instant Pot (or not!) Chicken Tortilla Soup

Today I’m pulling through on my promise to share my successes with Instant Pot, my new electric pressure cooker (you can read more about my pressure-cooking obsession here). It’s been a revolutionary addition to my kitchen, but unfortunately for my readers its major role has been to constantly churn out oatmeal, rice, beans, and other essential staples too boring to blog about. But my favorite appliance is so much more than that! So I’m glad I finally got my act together to write up a recipe that puts Instant Pot in the spotlight.

But if you’re not into pressure-cooking, that’s no reason to pass over this recipe. I’ve been making this soup for years before I got wacky about pressurizing my foods. The flavors develop just as well after a simmer on the stovetop, and the process is still totally easy for a weeknight.

The benefits of cooking this soup in the Instant Pot are speed and simplicity. After the initial saute, the soup cooks in only 4 minutes under pressure – before you get too excited, keep in mind it takes about ten minutes before that to build up to operating pressure, so it’s not a huge time savings from the stovetop method (the really mind-blowing time savers that pressure cookers offer involve tougher foods, like meaty roasts or dry beans). But it’s still 30% faster, and completely hands-off and self-contained, freeing up the cook to chop garnishes and fry up the crispy topping.

Instant Pot (or not!) Chicken Tortilla Soup

And I apologize for getting this far without mentioning that however you cook it, the stuff is incredibly good. Major crowd-pleasing material. It’s just legit, simple, whole-food ingredients coming together to pack a huge flavor PUNCH.

I really like this soup as written, straight up, but it’s also a great baseline recipe for loading up with extra veggies. Top candidates include finely chopped zucchini, bell (or poblano!) peppers, and shredded greens. Add any extra veggies after the onions have had a chance to soften, and if you really stuff the pot full with goodies, just add a little extra broth/water to keep the right consistency.

Note that this recipe uses corn tortillas in two capacities. First, little bite-size squares are added to the base along with the vegetables, contributing to the soup’s body and acting as sort-of noodles. Then, the real star of the show: crispy pan-fried tortilla topping. Today I fancied it up with these pretty strips, but to make it even less effort, just leave the tortillas whole for easy flippin’, then break them apart over each bowl.

I’m not normally one to discourage shortcuts, but if you’re thinking about just crunching bagged tortilla chips on top… I’m going to ask you to reconsider. I mean, take a good look at this:

Instant Pot (or not!) Chicken Tortilla Soup

It doesn’t matter if you simmer this or pressure-cook it… just make the soup. Garnish like you mean it. A little fried crunch atop a bowl of undeniable healthy goodness is sometimes just what it takes to elevate your life from good to awww yeah.

Instant Pot (or not!) Chicken Tortilla Soup

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yield: Serves 4

Instant Pot (or not!) Chicken Tortilla Soup

For soup:
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 6-inch corn tortillas, chopped into 1-inch squares
2 tbsp. fresh cilantro, chopped
1 very large ripe tomato, chopped
1 15 oz. can black beans (or equivalent amount cooked beans)
1 cup frozen corn
3-4 cups chicken broth (or 3-4 cups water + 1 tbsp. 'Better Than Bouillon')
2 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 tsp. ground cayenne pepper
1 bay leaf
3 chicken breasts (roughly 12-16 oz.)
To serve:
corn tortillas, sliced into strips
canola (or other) oil for frying
fresh cilantro
grated cheese
fresh lime juice
Instant Pot Instructions:

Set Instant Pot to saute mode, medium (default) heat. Add the olive oil and onion and cook, stirring frequently, until softened. At this point, add the garlic, cilantro, and tortilla squares. Stir to combine and cook for one minute longer before adding the tomato, black beans, corn, 3 cups broth, spices, and chicken breasts. Cancel saute mode, and cover Instant Pot with its lid, set to sealing position. Select Soup Mode and manually adjust the time to 4 minutes.

It will take about 10 minutes to reach pressure before the 4-minute countdown begins. This is a good time to prepare the toppings. Heat the frying oil over medium heat in a medium-sized skillet. The oil is hot enough when you can place a tortilla strip in and it immediately starts bubbling. Fry the tortilla strips on both sides until golden brown, then transfer to a paper towel to drain. Lightly salt the tortillas immediately after frying. Grate the cheese, wash and chop the cilantro, and slice lime wedges for serving.

After the timer goes off, manually release the pressure (be careful of the steam!). Remove the chicken breasts to a plate and use two forks to shred the meat apart. Return the shredded chicken to the pot and stir to combine. Ladle the soup into bowls and serve with fresh cilantro, a sprinkle of shredded cheese, a squeeze of lime juice, and the crisp tortilla strips.

Stovetop Instructions:

Add the olive oil to a Dutch oven or large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, until softened. At this point, add the garlic, cilantro, and tortilla squares. Stir to combine and cook for one minute longer before adding the tomato, black beans, corn, 4 cups broth, spices, and chicken breasts. Increase heat to high to bring the soup to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Let the soup simmer for about 20 minutes.

This is a good time to prepare the toppings. Heat the frying oil over medium heat in a medium-sized skillet. The oil is hot enough when you can place a tortilla strip in and it immediately starts bubbling. Fry the tortilla strips on both sides until golden brown, then transfer to a paper towel to drain. Lightly salt the tortillas immediately after frying. Grate the cheese, wash and chop the cilantro, and slice lime wedges for serving.

When the chicken breasts are cooked through, remove them to a plate and use two forks to shred the meat apart. Return the shredded chicken to the pot and stir to combine. Ladle the soup into bowls and serve with fresh cilantro, a sprinkle of shredded cheese, a squeeze of lime juice, and the crisp tortilla strips.

http://flavorrd.com/2014/03/chicken-tortilla-soup/

One thought on “Instant Pot (or not!) Chicken Tortilla Soup

  1. yummy! i think this instant pot was easy to use and very convenient. It’s incredibly good! Tnx for showing this!

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