Instant Pot: Mexican Loaded Baked Potatoes

Baked potatoes can be pretty boring. There's always the usual toppings - butter, sour cream, salt, pepper... maybe even chives. I think they tend to be a forgotten side, not to mention a meal on their own! Tonight I served "baked" potatoes from my Instant Pot with Chicken Tortilla Soup, but not just the usual plain baked potatoes. Instead, I loaded them up with Mexican inspired toppings that complimented the soup. I used small potatoes since our soup was a hearty serving but if you wanted, these could serve as a meal in itself with large russet potatoes. Don't underestimate the lonely baked potato - use your imagination and top them with a slew of toppings, just as you would pizza!

Mexican Loaded Baked Potatoes

4 russet potatoes, clean & scrubbed
1/2 cup sour cream
1 link Mexican chorizo (the soft variety)
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, finely minced
1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
salt & pepper to taste

Optional additional toppings:
sliced olives
cojita cheese

In your Instant Pot:

Plug in the IP with insert set in place.

Add 1 cup of water and place steamer rack inside of IP.

Using a fork, poke holes around each potato and set on the steamer rack.

Press SAUTE and cook the pancetta until crisp. Remove from pot and set aside.

In the now empty IP, add the celery, onion, carrot, bacon, garlic, bay leaves, and thyme to remaining drippings in pot and sauté until vegetables are soft, about 8 minutes. Add lentils and stir 1 minute.

Add 10 cups broth; bring to simmer.

Secure the lid of the IP and ensure the valve is set to SEALING.

Press MANUAL and adjust the time to 10 minutes on HIGH pressure.

The display will reflect ON while the IP comes to pressure. Allow a few minutes for your IP to come to pressure.

Once at pressure, the display will reflect 10 (the number of minutes you initially set) and will begin to countdown to 0 minutes.

When the IP beeps after pressure cooking for 10 minutes, allow your IP to naturally release pressure for 15-20 minutes. While naturally releasing pressure (also known as NPR or NR), the display will reflect numbers counting up from 1. The numbers indicate how many minutes the IP has stopped cooking since it beeped (or how many minutes it has been naturally releasing pressure).  No need to touch your IP while it naturally releases pressure. The pin at the top of your IP will drop when all pressure has been released and it's safe to open.

While the potatoes are pressure cooking, heat a skillet over medium high heat. Once hot, crumble the soft chorizo and saute until cooked through and crisp.

Open up your IP when the pin has dropped (allow a few minutes for this to happen).

Remove from oven and pierce with fork to create dotted "X" on top of the potato. Press in at ends of potato to push flesh up and out.
{OPTIONAL: If you want a crisp skin on the potatoes, preheat the oven at 475 degrees. Brush each potato with vegetable oil and season with salt & pepper if desired. Bake in preheated oven for 5-7 minutes.}

Top the potatoes with chorizo, cilantro, cheese, sour cream (or any additional toppings) and season with salt and pepper to taste.