When I unwrapped my Instant Pot on Christmas morning, I had NO IDEA what I was holding. I’m not trying to be cleverly misleading by inferring that – metaphorically – I didn’t presume to understand the raw, cooking power waiting to be unleashed. To be clear, I didn’t. No. I mean I had literally never heard of an Instant Pot.
I know. It seems crazy.
I was aware of the general existence of counter top pressure cookers, and I had – of course – seen them used on cooking shows, but I’d never looked into them. So when I found myself holding my newly gifted I-Pot, I didn’t know what to say.
My wife is an infuriatingly skilled gift-giver; the kind of person who knows what you need, even if it’s something that you never knew you needed. And in this instance, she was right on target. In that awkward moment of silence, as I contemplated my squat new contraption, she pulled up the Instant Pot Community Facebook group on her phone, and simply said, “No really, it’s a THING.”
And what a thing it is. If you don’t have an Instant Pot, I can’t recommend it highly enough. Get one. Especially if you have kids. I’m pretty sure I’ve said the same thing about my slow cooker, but in the world of “set it and forget it”, nothing beats the Instant Pot. It’s wonderful.
If you don’t want to take my word for it, check out the aforementioned Facebook group. I can best describe this forum as a well-meaning and friendly body of cooking enthusiasts dedicated to sharing recipes, tips and tricks, while semi-consciously elevating the worship of a household appliance to a level usually reserved for minor deities. It would be creepy if it wasn’t so damn useful.
Turns out I’m one of them, as I’ll be sharing this recipe with the group.
For this recipe in particular, I set out to adapt my stove-top Tortilla Soup recipe to the Instant Pot, so I could free myself up to play with the babies without worrying about dinner. A recipe like this is easy to prep ahead of time – say, during an afternoon nap – and then bring together when you’re ready to cook.
- 5 1/2 cups Chicken Broth
- 3 boneless and skinless chicken breasts
- 1/2 Yellow onion – diced
- 1 tsp fresh garlic – minced
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1 can (15 oz) black beans – drained
- 1 can (15 oz) yellow corn – drained
- 1 can (15 oz) stewed tomatoes
- 1 can (25 oz) hominy – drained
- 3 cups fresh zucchini – halved lengthwise and chopped
- vegetable oil
- salt and pepper
- Fresh avocado
- Tortilla chips
- Sour Cream
- Fresh lime
- Fresh chopped cilantro
Prep the ingredients ahead of time:
- Open all cans, and drain the beans, corn and hominy.
- Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper
- Dice the onion
- Chop the zucchini
- Mince the garlic
- Measure out the spices – A note on the spices: I made this pretty spicy, if you’re not a spice-fan, try cutting the amount of chili and cumin in half (1/2 tsp each).
Turn the Instant Pot on saute, and add a tablespoon of vegetable oil. Let it heat up.
Carefully place the seasoned chicken breasts in the pot, and sear it for 3 minutes on each side, or until you get a nice little bit of golden brown coloring.
Remove the chicken from the pot.
Add the diced onion, and saute for 3 minutes, stirring frequently.
Add the garlic, and saute for 1 minute, stirring frequently. Don’t worry if you start drooling already, it’s natural.
Add the rest of the spices, and give it a stir, before adding the tomatoes (with the juice) and 1.5 cups chicken broth.
Return the chicken to the pot with the rest of the mixture.
Add the beans, corn, hominy, and zucchini, and then season it with salt and pepper.
Top it up with chicken broth, so everything is covered (but don’t go over the max fill line).
Cook on manual for 15 minutes, and use a natural release.
When it’s done, use tongs to take the chicken out, and shred it with two forks before placing it back in the pot, and giving it a stir.
Serve it up with some crushed tortilla chips, a squeeze of lime, some fresh avocado, cilantro, and sour cream to coll down the spice. Oh, and a cold beer. Because, beer.
Pictures of the process: