Albóndigas (meatballs) are fun to make and eat; here they’re packed with the flavors of smoky bacon and warming cumin and chipotle. This satisfying soup is a terrific main course on a chilly night. Round out the meal with a side salad and white rice. The better the quality of the broth you use, the better the soup will turn out, so do use homemade beef broth. The garnish of chicharrón (deep-fried pork skin) adds a deliciously crunchy counterpoint to the tender meatballs.
- In a blender, combine the tomatoes and 1 garlic clove, blend until smooth, then transfer to a bowl.
- In a food processor, combine the onion and the remaining 4 garlic cloves and pulse until very finely chopped. Transfer to a different, large bowl. Add the diced bacon to the food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Add to the bowl of onions and garlic, along with the salt, black pepper, cumin, red pepper flakes, egg white, half of the cilantro, the corn, and 3⁄4 cup of the cotija cheese. Stir until combined, then add the ground beef and, using your hands, mix thoroughly until all of the ingredients are evenly distributed. Shape the mixture with moistened hands into 24 balls, each 1 1⁄2 to 2 inches in diameter, and place them on a plate as you go.
- Press Sauté—high on the Instant Pot and heat the oil. Add the meatballs in a single layer, working in batches if necessary, and cook, turning occasionally, until lightly browned on all sides, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a clean plate. Add the pureed tomatoes to the pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 5 minutes, scraping up any browned bits on the bottom of the pot.
- Return the meatballs to the pot, then pour in the broth. Press Cancel. Secure the lid and set the Pressure Release to Sealing. Press Pressure Cook, then set the cooking time for 5 minutes.
- When the cooking program is complete, press Cancel. Perform a quick pressure release by moving the Pressure Release to Venting. Open the pot, then stir in the remaining cilantro. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt if needed.
- Using a slotted spoon, divide the albóndigas evenly among warmed bowls. Ladle the hot broth over the top. Sprinkle each bowl with 1 tablespoon of the remaining cotija cheese and serve right away, passing the chipotle chile powder, diced onion, chicharrón, and lime wedges on the side.
Reprinted with permission from The Essential Mexican Instant Pot Cookbook by Deborah Schneider, copyright © 2018. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House. Photography credit Erin Scott © 2018