INSTANT POT MEXICAN MEATBALL AND BARLEY SOUP

Prep Time 10 mins Cook Time 40 mins Total Time 50 mins
Serves 8     adjust servings


Ingredients

For the meatballs

  • 1 lb. ground turkey meat (not turkey breast)
  • 1 egg
  • 3 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup finely crushed tortilla chips
  • 1 tablespoon salsa verde
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

For the soup

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 stalks celery, chopped into large chunks
  • 3 small potatoes, diced (red or Yukon gold work well)
  • 3 carrots, chopped into large chunks
  • 1/2 cup pearl barley
  • 26 oz. container petite cut tomatoes in juice
  • 2 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1/3 cup cilantro leaves, chopped, plus more for garnish
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup salsa verde
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup crumbled cotija cheese, optional

Instructions

To make the meatballs:

  1. Combine ground turkey, egg, green onions, salt, crushed tortilla chips and salsa verde in a large bowl. Using a wooden spoon, stir well to mix.
  2. Using an ice cream scoop or a 1/4 cup measuring spoon, scoop the turkey mixture into your hands and gently roll it to form a ball. Do not overmix.
  3. Place the prepared meatballs on a plate and set aside.

To make the soup:

  1. Activate the saute function of the Instant Pot. When the digital screen indicates 'hot,' coat the bottom of the pan with the olive oil. Gently place the meatballs on the pot, one at a time. Allow the meatballs to brown on one side before flipping them. It should take roughly ten minutes for the meatballs to brown evenly on all sides. There is no need to drain, but you can if you'd like.
  2. When the meatballs are browned, turn the Instant Pot off while you prepare the rest of the soup. Add the celery, potatoes, carrots, barley, tomatoes, garlic, spices, cilantro and liquids to the pot. Using a spatula, gently scrape the bottom of the pan, turning the browned meatballs into the soup. If a few of the meatballs happen to break apart during this step, don't stress about it. The soup won't suffer in the least for it.
  3. Lock the Instant Pot lid into place and set the valve to the 'sealing' position. 
  4. Activate the 'soup' function and set the cooking time to 30 minutes. 
  5. When cooking is complete, allow the Instant Pot to naturally depressurize for three minutes. Move the valve to the 'venting' position. When the pin drops, unlock and remove the lid.
  6. Garnish the soup with cotija and chopped cilantro, if desired.
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