It seems totally counterintuitive to be making soup and using my Instant Pot right as the weather is warming up. However, as a mom of two little boys with unrelenting energy, plus our family having a massive winter/cabin fever hangover from this miserable winter, we all just NEED to be outside as much as possible lately. Every day I seem to be forced to make a decision between taking the kids outside to play in the late afternoon, or making a homemade dinner. And honestly, after this past winter, it’s really no contest. So I’ve served chicken nuggets and pb&j more times than I’d care to admit lately, but sometimes you just do what you gotta do. I think the benefits they gain from being outside (fresh air, vitamin D, physical activity, imaginative play, social time with neighbors, and sensory input) far outweigh the negative effects of processed meat or a little too much sugar, but maybe that’s just me.
I have really grown to love my Instant Pot for two simple reasons…I don’t have to prepare or think about dinner in the morning like you do with slow cookers (seriously loathe that). And secondly, I can usually just throw some meat in it, leave for a couple hours, and decide what to do with it later. Usually it becomes tacos of some form. But be honest, was there every a time you were like, “Oh dang, we have to eat tacos again.” Didn’t think so.
I used to make this soup a lot when I worked for the sorority in Oregon. We had a soup every day for lunch and it was honestly so fun to get to create new soups regularly. I got SO much practice with soup, ha ha. This one was always a favorite of the girls. You can dress it up or dress it down depending on the occasion…just have fun with it and enjoy!
Chicken Tortilla Soup
Yield: about 8 servings
2.5 lbs. chicken breasts (about 3 breasts)
1.5 cups water
1 small-medium sized yellow onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, finely chopped or minced
1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes
2 (14 oz) cans black beans, drained (pinto works too)
1 cup frozen corn
3 cups chicken broth/stock (use the broth from cooking the chicken plus more if needed)
2 Tbsp. chili powder
2 tsp. granulated garlic powder (not garlic salt!)
2 tsp. cumin
Kosher salt to taste
Serve with: lime wedges, chopped fresh cilantro, sour cream, sliced avocado, tortilla chips, and shredded cheese (cheddar, jack, cotija, etc)
*See tips below if you don’t have an Instant Pot.
Put chicken breasts and 1.5 cups water in Instant Pot, close and slide the lid to lock it, and turn the vent to “sealing.” Press “manual”, “high pressure”, and set for 30 minutes. It will start to cook after a minute. When it says “on” that means the pressure is building. When 30 comes on the scree, it has begun to cook. You can do this step up to 4 hrs before you want to eat, and the Instant Pot will keep it warm for that long after cooking.
When you are ready to cook the soup, turn the vent on the Instant Pot to “venting” and let the air escape (if any is left) before opening the lid. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board, let cool slightly, and chop as finely as you like (I chop mine pretty fine so my kids have an easier time eating it - you can also just shred it with two forks or tongs). Be sure to save the chicken broth!
Set a large pot on the stove over medium heat with about one Tbsp. of oil or butter. Let the pot get hot, then add the chopped onions and garlic. Saute those until transparent. Add the can of crushed tomatoes, drained beans, corn, chopped chicken, and enough chicken broth or stock to cover all the ingredients (about 3 cups-also use the leftover broth from cooking the chicken, then add more as you wish). You can make this soup as thin or thick as you like by adding more or less broth. Once you’ve added as much broth as you like, add your spices. I usually use about 2 Tbsp. chili powder, 2 tsp. cumin, 2 tsp. granulated garlic powder, and Kosher salt to taste…this part is obviously adjustable to your taste! Let the soup simmer until heated through, then serve.
I like to serve it with lime wedges, chopped fresh cilantro, sour cream, shredded cheese, tortilla chips, and sliced avocado. Enjoy!
If you don’t have an Instant Pot, just put the chicken breast in a large pot on the stove and fill it halfway with water. Bring the chicken to a low boil, and cook for about 1 hr, or until it shreds easily with a fork. You will need to keep an eye on this and add water as necessary, as some of it will evaporate during boiling. Just be the chicken is always covered with water. When the chicken is done, it will easily shred with two forks or tongs. Be sure to save the leftover broth!
You can also cool this soup down and freeze it for up to 6 months.
I love having these Knorr homestyle chicken stock concentrate packages on hand in my pantry, so I always have chicken broth when I need it. They are richer in flavor and less overly salty than boullion cubes. This is not an ad, I truly love these and use them ALL the time. The link below is an Amazon affiliate link. You should be able to find them in your grocery store too though, in the soup aisle.