Instant-Pot 101: Chef Deb Schneider Showcases Best Tortilla Soup a la Machine

Uncategorized By Jan 30, 2020

Deborah Schneider, executive chef at Sol and Solita restaurants that include locations in Orange County and Los Angeles, has written an excellent new book, “The Essential Mexican Instant Pot Cookbook” (Ten Speed Press, $19.99).  It showcases the vibrant flavors of Mexican food with fresh and authentic recipes for soups, tacos, burritos and tamales, as well as side dishes, salsas and desserts. All the recipes are made using an electric pressure cooker.

All the recipes are made using an electric pressure cooker.

Chef Schneider, a James Beard Award-nominated author, joined me in my home kitchen for an Instant Pot 101 session. She said that most new electric pressure cooker owners are intimidated when they first open the box. The number of function buttons can “share the pants off them,” she said, assuring that initially users only need to know about the “saute” and “cancel” control buttons.

The base of the soup is a salsa-like mixture that is sautéed-until-thick in the Instant Pot, and then the broth and chicken join the party. This simple technique added a delicious depth of flavor. Tortilla chips and cheese added richness, placed in the bowls before the steaming hot broth was poured on top. Then, of course, there were those mouthwatering garnishes; diced avocado, cilantro and a squeeze of fresh lime juice.

It’s my favorite version of this delicious soup.

Tortilla Soup a la Instant Pot

Yield: 4 servings
2 dried guajillo chilies, stemmed, seeded, and torn into pieces
1 cup boiling water
2 Roma tomatoes
2 tomatillos, husked, wiped clean, coarsely chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled
1/2 large white onion, finely diced, plus 1/4 cup diced white onion for serving
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 small carrot, peeled, cut into small dice
1/2 fresh Anaheim chili, seeded, diced
1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs
6 cups chicken broth
1 teaspoon salt, kosher salt preferred
2 cups toasted corn tortilla strips or tortilla chips broken into bite-size pieces
1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack or cheddar cheese
Garnish: 1 ripe avocado, halved, pitted, peeled, diced, 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves, 4
lime wedges

  1. Place guajillo chilies in blender; add boiling water. Soak 10 minutes or until chilies are
    softened, then drain off and discard water. Cut 1 tomato into quarters and scoop out and discard
    core and seeds. Coarsely chop quarters and add to blender. Core, seed and finely dice second
    tomato and set aside. Add tomatillos, garlic and 1/2 cup finely diced onion. Blend until very
    smooth, scraping down blender as needed. Do not add any water.
  2. Press Saute-High on Instant Pot and heat oil. Add the diced tomato, the remaining finely
    diced onion, carrot and Anaheim chili; sauté for about 1 minute until beginning to soften. Add
    the chili puree from blender and cook, stirring until mixture is quite dry and beginning to stick to
    pot. Press Cancel. Add chicken, broth and salt. Secure the lid and set the Pressure Release to Sealing. Press Soup, then set cooking time to 20 minutes.
  3. When cooking program is complete, press Cancel. Perform a quick pressure release by moving the Pressure Release to Venting. When venting is complete, open the pot, then transfer
    the chicken to a plate. Using two forks, shred the chicken into bite-size pieces. Divide chicken among 4 bowls. Top each with tortilla strips, cheese and diced onion, then ladle the hot broth
    over the top. Garnish with avocado and cilantro. Serve with lime wedges. “The Essential Instant Pot Cookbook” by Deborah Schneider (Ten Speed Press, $19.99)

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