Chile Verde with Cannellini Beans

Inspiration: Brandon and I had a family chili cook-off to go to over Halloween weekend, and we always like to try to bring something different than a standard chili. Last time, we took our white chicken chili, and after some experimenting around this year, we settled on making chile verde doctored up to be a little more “chili-like” with a good bunch of cannellini beans and a few habeneros. Not a traditional chile verde per se, but something a little different!

What we Loved: Brandon and I both adore salsa verde and eat it all of the time, and this recipe is basically salsa verde in chili from. So for us, what’s not to love about the tart, spicy, fresh cilantro flavors of salsa verde mixed with tender pork and creamy cannelini beans? It’s really a great combination of flavors. The pork was fall-apart tender (maybe Brandon’s favorite part of the dish?), and we thought that the heat level was just right.

Helpful Hints: We made this chili a few times to get it just to our liking, so we learned a few things along the way. First, taking the time to cut your pork into nice small pieces is really worth it, because it makes the final result feel more like a chili than a stew or soup. But, it’s kind of a pain because pork shoulder is very fatty and therefore hard to cut. The second time around making this, I had my butcher chop my pork shoulder into stew-cut chunks, then I cut them down myself even further. Starting with a huge piece of pork shoulder yourself is not fun. Second, the cannellini beans make all of the difference in adding to the chili-like feel of the dish (in my opinion, at least). They’re not traditional to chile verde, but we like the flavor, and they add a remarkable substance/thickness. Third, plenty of salt is a definite must (just make sure to taste as you season). And fourth, you can vary the thickness and texture of this recipe depending on how much chicken stock you use. The chile verde in the picture above is a little thinner than other versions that I made, and the leftovers are always thicker, too.

Chile Verde with Cannellini Beans
Source: Adapted from For the Love of Cooking, originally from Arturo Vargas via Simply Recipes

I’ll post the recipe as I made it for the cook-off, which made a large crock-pot full of chili.

For the tomatillo sauce base
25 tomatillos, husked, cleaned, and sliced in half
3 poblano peppers, seeded, stemmed, and sliced in half
6 cloves garlic, unpeeled
1 large bunch cilantro
2 jalapenos, seeded and stemmed

To complete the chili
4 pounds pork shoulder, excess fat removed and cut into small pieces
Kosher salt and black pepper
Dried oregano
3 onions, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 habeneros, seeded, stemmed, and minced
1 lb dried cannellini beans, or about 3 cans (if using dry, soak/prep first according to package instructions)
2 cups chicken stock, more or less if desired

1. Place the tomatillos and poblanos cut-side down on a baking sheet. Add the unpeeled garlic cloves. Broil until the top of the vegetables are blackened, about 8 minutes.

2. Place the poblanos in a bowl, and cover with plastic wrap. Let sit for 10 minutes, then peel the skins from the poblanos and discard. Peel the skins from the garlic and discard.

3. Place the tomatillos, poblanos, garlic, cilantro, and jalapenos in a food processor, and process until smooth.

4. Season the pork well with salt, pepper, and oregano. Saute in batches until nicely browned, and set aside.

5. Add the onions to the same pan, and cook until softened, scraping the browned bits from the bottom of the pan and incorporating into the onions. Mix in the garlic and habeneros, and cook for an additional minute.

6. Place the pork, onion mixture, cannelini beans, and tomatillo sauce mixture into a crock pot. Mix well, and then add the chicken stock until the thickness is to your preference.

7. Cook on low for approximately 3 hours if using canned beans or at least 8-10 hours if using dried beans.

Pork Hock and 15 Bean Soup

Inspiration: I rave about the benefits of our meat CSA all of the time, but one of the great things about it is that every now and then, it opens us up to some new and interesting foods. I probably wouldn’t have gone to the store and picked out a pork hock, but when we were given one in our CSA share, we had to make good use of it. I stumbled upon an awesome bag containing a mixture of 15 beans from a local farm while I was grocery shopping recently, and it happened to have a ham and bean soup recipe on the back. Perfect for adapting for our pork hock!

What we Loved: Since we had never cooked with pork hocks before, B and I were both very skeptical at first, but it really turned out that the pork hock was the key ingredient to this soup. The main flavor of the soup came from the broth, which was wonderfully rich and smoky with a great pork/ham taste. And after 10+ hours in the crockpot, the meat completely fell off of the bone. It was so easy to cut off the fat/tough parts and shred the rest for the soup. With plenty of salt for added flavor and the great creamy texture of all of the different kinds of beans, there sure was a whole lot going on with just a few ingredients. Brandon and I would both list this as one of our favorite soups that we’ve ever made.

Helpful Hints: Make sure to add plenty of salt (taste testing as you go) when the soup is done cooking, as it really does enrich all of the other flavors in the pot a lot. And I’m sure that this soup would be good with any kind of beans you prefer – there’s no need for a 15 bean mix if you can’t find one. But I thought that it was really awesome to use such a varied mix with such an awesome nutritional profile! (If you’re interested or want to pick and choose some beans to use for this recipe, our bag of beans contained: yellow eye beans, cranberry beans, red kidney beans, navy beans, pinto beans, great northern beans, adzuki beans, cannellini beans, yellow peas, green peas, blackeye peas, red lentils, green lentils, baby limas, and Christmas limas).

Pork Hock and 15 Bean Soup
Source: Adapted from Carlson-Arbogast Farm’s (Howard City, MI) recipe for “Mom’s Favorite Soup”

24 oz mixed beans (I used a bag of Carlson-Arbogast Farm’s Bean Appetite Souper Mix)
Oil or butter
2 cups onions, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 quarts chicken stock
1 smoked pork hock
Kosher salt and black pepper

1. Soak the beans covered in water overnight, then drain and rinse.

2. Heat a bit of oil or a pat of butter in a pot (I use the stovetop-safe removeable insert of my crockpot) over medium heat. Add the onions, and saute until softened and lightly browned. Mix in the garlic and the cumin, cooking for an additional 30 seconds.

3. Add the chicken stock and beans, and bring to a boil.

4. If using a stovetop-safe crock pot insert, remove the insert from the stove and place it back in the crock pot. Otherwise, transfer the mixture to your crock pot. Add the pork hock and cook on low for 10-12 hours.

5. Remove the pork hock. The meat should fall from the bones. Remove any fat/tough parts, and then shred the rest and return it to the pot.

6. Season the soup well with salt and pepper. Makes 12 cups.

Charcoal-Grilled Pulled Pork with Cider Vinegar Barbeque Sauce

Charcoal-Grilled Pulled Pork with Cider Vinegar Barbeque Sauce

Inspiration: B recently bought a charcoal Weber grill, and he’s been grilling up a storm ever since. We’ve had a gas grill for several years that we love, but new toys are always fun. So when we had an entire Sunday at home, B wanted to spend all day slow cooking something on the charcoal grill for supper, and I wasn’t going to complain. He’s awesome :)

What we Loved: I’m going to preface this by saying that this meal was the best meal that I’ve had in recent memory, and overall one of the best meals that I’ve ever had in my life. Are there many things that sound better than a pork shoulder that has been slow roasted for eight hours over mesquite lump charcoal and Jack Daniels wood chips? I didn’t think so :) The meat was crispy and blackened with delicious, smoky bourbon/mesquite flavor on the outside, and it was so rich and juicy on the inside. I can’t even describe how wonderful the slow cooked, smoky flavor was. Way to go, B! You really don’t need any sauce or accompaniments at all with such a delicious cut of meat. That being said, we went ahead and combined it with just a touch here and there of apple cider vinegar barbeque sauce (a crazy flavorful sauce that is perfectly rich, sweet, sour, and savory), green beans slow cooked with bacon and onions, and some classic deviled eggs. I truthfully can’t recall many meals that we’ve made that have been better. The entire meal is a ridiculous amount of work and took up the entire day (thank you, B!) – but it’s way, way worth it.

Helpful Hints: B says to be patient with this recipe. It will take between 6-8 hours of grilling after all of the prep time, and this will vary depending on your grill, the size of your roast, and any other factors that come into play. Make sure to avoid opening the grill any more than you have to. Every time that you do, it might add 15-30 minutes onto your griling time because of the loss of heat. It’s best to place the grill thermometer in a place where you can see it through the vents, so that you only need to open the grill to replace coals or wood chips when it gets too cool.

Regarding the barbeque sauce, beware that the below recipe makes a ton of sauce. It’s ridiculously delicious, but we only used small amounts because it’s really rich and we didn’t want to cover up the flavor of the pork too much. That being said, the sauce is way too good to skip! As a solution, we basically drizzled a bit of it over the tender, inside pieces of meat on our plates, and we saved the blackened chunks of meat for eating all on their own – as they truly deserve to be eaten :)

Charcoal-Grilled Pulled Pork
Source: Original recipe

1 3-4 lb boneless pork shoulder
Smoked paprika
Garlic powder
Kosher salt
Freshly cracked black pepper

1. Coat the pork shoulder completely in a generous amount of smoked paprika, garlic powder, salt, and freshly cracked black pepper. Let the pork sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.

2. Place a good amount of wood chips in a bowl of water (three-four handfuls). Let soak for 30 minutes.

3. To grill the meat, you are going to use indirect grilling. To prepare the grill, light your charcoal with lighter fluid or use a chimney to heat the charcoal. When the charcoal is hot, move it to either side of the grill (using charcoal holders if desired to hold the charcoal). Wrap two handfuls of the wood chips loosely in two foil packets, poking several holes in the foil. Place the wood chip packets directly on top of the charcoal on either side of the grill. Place a drip pan between the charcoal/wood chips that are on either side of the grill. Place an oven thermometer on the grate or somewhere inside the grill away from the direct coal heat so that you can keep a constant eye on the temperature inside the grill. Place the thermometer in such a manner so that you can see it from the outside of the grill through the vents.

4. Stabilize the temperature in the grill to be between 225 and 250 degrees F by controlling the air flow through the top vents and bottom vents of your grill. When the temperature is in this range, place a cupful or so of water into the drip pan. Place the pork on the grate in the middle of the grill over the drip pan, sticking a meat thermometer in the thickest part of the roast. This way, you are using indirect heat to cook the meat.

5. Keep the temperature inside the grill in the 225-250 degrees F range until the inside of the thickest part of the meat reaches 190-195 F (6-8 hours). Baste if desired every hour or so while cooking, and refill the coals and wood chips as necessary in order to keep the grill hot.

6. Remove the pork from the grill, wrap it in foil, and let it sit for 30 minutes before shredding with two forks.

Cider Vinegar Barbeque Sauce
Source: Tyler Florence

We cut this recipe in half and cut down on the cayenne. Here’s the recipe as we made it.

3/4 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup brown mustard
1/4 cup ketchup
1/6 cup packed brown sugar
1 garlic clove, crushed
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1. Add all ingredients to a sauce pan. Heat over medium low heat until the sugar dissolves and everything is well combined.

Chile Colorado

Carne con Chile Colorado

Carne con Chile Colorado

*Photo Updated January 2012*

Inspiration: Brandon and I don’t really need many reasons to make a nice Mexican supper. When it comes to Mexican food, I think we could happily eat it every day. Especially Rick Bayless’ Mexican food.

What we Loved: The sauce in this dish has a really unique and smoky flavor, almost like a rich mole sauce. I was surprised with the complexity, given that the ingredient list isn’t very long, but I think that the particular peppers that are used really just have layers and layers of flavor. After we toasted the peppers to make the sauce, the rich aromas in the kitchen were amazing, and they carried through right into the meal. Brandon and I both thought that the cilantro garnish really added a fresh and crisp citrusy flavor to the dish that was really the finishing touch.

Helpful Hints: Having a wonderful husband to prepare this dish while you work on making some soup for lunches is helpful indeed.

Also…I searched for New Mexico chiles for a while and finally stumbled upon them at a local market, but I’d say to definitely hunt for them if you’re going to make this dish. I tried to make it with different red peppers (ancho?), and while that dish was very good, it wasn’t anything similar to this dish. The sauce was savory and spicy, almost like that of a pork stew, while the sauce using the New Mexico chiles really turned out quite similar to a rich mole.

Carne con Chile Colorado
Source: Rick Bayless

2 lbs pork shoulder, cubed
8 dried New Mexico chiles
1/2 onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon cumin
Extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and black pepper, as needed
Water, as needed
Cilantro, to garnish

1. Remove the stems, veins, and seeds from the chiles. Break the chiles into large pieces.

2. Heat a nonstick saute pan over medium heat. When the pan is hot, add the chiles and cook until they just start to turn color, pressing down occasionally with a spatula. Flip the chiles, and repeat on the second side.

3. Remove the chiles into a shallow bowl. Cover with water, and top with a small plate to weigh down the chiles. Let the chiles soak for 30 minutes. Remove the chiles from the water, reserving one cup of the water.

4. Put the chiles in a food processor with the onions, garlic, oregano, cumin, and the cup of chile water. Puree until smooth.

5. Heat a drizzle of olive oil in a saute pan over medium high heat. Season the pork cubes with salt and pepper. Add the pork cubes in batches to the pan and cook for 2-3 minutes to form a brown crust. Flip, and cook for 2-3 minutes more. Remove the cooked meat from the pan and add the next batch. Make sure to work in batches so that the pan is not overcrowded, which will prevent the meat from forming a nice crust.

6. Add all of the meat back into the pan. Add the red chili sauce, using it to deglaze the pan while scraping the browned bits off of the bottom of the pan with a spoon.

7. Add about 2 cups of water to the pan. Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce the heat to medium low. Simmer for 1 hour. If the sauce is too thin at this point, remove the lid and increase the heat. Cook uncovered until the sauce is the desired consistency.

8. Add salt and pepper to taste, if necessary. Serve garnished with cilantro.

Pork, Chorizo, and Mushroom Stew

Inspiration: B bought me the most fabulous slow cooker for Christmas. My last slow cooker, which I really loved, was a really nice (or so I thought!) Kitchenaid slow cooker whose ceramic pot cracked all the way down the middle one day while I was cooking a nice pot roast. And after only 10-15 uses! Needless to say, I was really upset with the fact that it broke and with Kitchenaid’s customer service, and I had to resort to using my old, pretty terrible crockpot for at least a year because I didn’t want to spend the money to replace my nice one. So this past Christmas, B hooked me up with a fabulous All-Clad cooker that has an aluminum insert that’s also safe to use on the stovetop and in the oven, which means crock pot cooking all in one pot, with no worry of a cracking ceramic insert! I didn’t even know such a thing existed, and I’m still unnaturally excited about it :) B showed me this recipe on the Williams Sonoma site that made use of the all-in-one pot functionality, so we spent a nice Sunday afternoon changing the recipe to suit our tastes and creating a lovely, Sunday night stew.

What we Loved: What didn’t we love about this stew? It was incredible. It made our home smell so delicious and hearty all day long as it cooked, and the end result was an intensely flavorful stew with fall-apart pork pieces, ridiculously tender chorizo pieces, and a rich and earthy sauce. The sauce was particularly enjoyable because it contained all of the flavor from the vegetables and garlic, as well as all of the juices and fats from the three different types of meats that cooked in it. And I just loved the rich red color! We put the whole cloves from a entire head of garlic in the stew, and they ended up with a softened, roasted garlic flavor that I really enjoyed. A clove on my spoon with a bit of the sauce was a little piece of heaven! I was also very surprised by the chorizo, which was more tender than I ever thought it could be. All-in-all, this was a very meaty, filling, and wonderful stew that was so perfect for a cold Sunday evening.

Helpful Hints: As B was cooking the bacon, which is the first step of the process and which renders the fat in which to cook the pork and vegetables, we realized that our bacon wasn’t very fatty (as far as bacon goes, anyway) and wasn’t rendering enough fat. So, we added some of the discarded pork fat to the pot with the bacon, and this browned up wonderfully and added plenty of extra fat and flavor to the pot.

Pork, Chorizo, and Mushroom Stew
Source: Adapted from Williams Sonoma

We used the cassoulet recipe as a base and changed it to suit our preferences and make a stew. Here’s what we did.

4 oz bacon, cut crosswise into 1/4 inch strips
2-3 pounds boneless pork shoulder (I used a picnic roast), trimmed of excess fat and cut into 1 inch pieces
3 medium yellow onions, chopped
24 oz baby portabella mushrooms, sliced
1 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 28 oz can peeled Italian plum tomatoes, drained and chopped
2 cups chicken broth
24 oz Spanish chorizo links, sliced
1 head garlic, cloves separated and peeled

1. Add the bacon pieces to a saute pan or dutch oven (I used the stovetop-safe insert of my crockpot). Heat over medium heat until the fat is rendered and the bacon is browned, approximately 7-8 minutes. Remove the bacon  from the pot and set aside.

2. Add half of the pork to the pot and brown it on all sides, approximately 7-8 minutes total. Transfer the cooked pork to a platter, and repeat with the remaining pork.

3. Add the onions and mushrooms to the pot. Cook until all of the water releases from the mushrooms and evaporates, approximately 15-20 minutes.

4. When the mushrooms have started to brown, add the wine, and simmer until reduced by half. Stir in the tomato paste, tomatoes, and broth.

5. Remove the pot from the heat, and add the pork, chorizo, garlic cloves, and reserved bacon.

6. If you aren’t using a stovetop-safe crockpot insert, transfer the contents of the pot to your crockpot insert. Cook on low for 9-10 hours, until the pork pulls apart with a fork.

Bacon Avocado Pizza

Bacon Avocado Pizza

Inspiration: There really just aren’t a lot of things better than homemade pizza on a Friday night. When B and I were on our honeymoon a few years back, we ate at an Italian restaurant in San Francisco and ordered their “California” pizza, which had avocados and cilantro as a couple of the toppings. It was the first time that we’d ever had those flavors on a pizza, and we really loved it. With a spare avocado to be used, I decided to make my own avocado pizza.

What we Loved:  I think that this is the best pizza that I’ve ever made (aside from our margherita pizza, which is our all-time favorite). This was a good pizza. It’s heavy with toppings (literally heavy), and the toppings all taste really great together. I used Vidalia onion slices, bacon, chopped cilantro, and sliced avocado, and along with pizza sauce and mozzarella cheese, the flavor combination was just amazing. I really can’t rave enough about how good I thought this tasted. I particularly loved the salt from the bacon and the creamy richness from the avocado, which, by the way, I used plenty of.

Helpful Hints: There’s nothing too difficult about making this pizza. Just prepare and enjoy.

Bacon Avocado Pizza

Bacon Avocado Pizza
Source: Original Recipe

1/2 recipe pizza dough (recipe follows)
1/2 recipe pizza sauce (I used this recipe)
1 small Vidadlia onion, cut into slices
8 slices bacon, cut into strips and sauteed until browned
1/2-2 cups freshly shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1 large avocado, sliced

1. Grease a pizza pan. Spread out the pizza dough on the pan, using flour if necessary to help spread the dough. Top the dough with the pizza sauce, the cheese, the onion slices, and the bacon.

2. Cook the pizza in a preheated 400 degree oven for 12-15 minutes, or until the bottom of the pizza crust is browned and the cheese is browned.

3. Top the pizza with the cilantro and the avocado. Slice and serve.

Pizza Dough
Source: Adapted from Cooks Illustrated
*Makes enough for three thin pizza crusts.

1 3/4 cups water, divided (1/2 cup of the water should be warm, the rest should remain at tap temperature)
2 1/4 teaspoons dry active yeast (1 envelope)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons table salt
Non-stick cooking spray or extra virgin olive oil for brushing bowl

1. Measure 1/4 cup of warm water into a mixing bowl. Sprinkle in the envelope of yeast, and let stand until the yeast dissolves, approximately 10 minutes.

2. Add the remaining 1/4 cup warm water to the bowl, plus the remaining 1 1/4 cups of tap water and the 2 T of olive oil. Meanwhile, mix the flour and the salt in a large mixing bowl. Add the liquid ingredients (holding back a tablespoon or two) to the flour mixture and combine. If the dough does not readily form into a ball, add the remaining liquid and continue to mix. Process until the dough is smooth.

3. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and knead by hand to form a smooth, round ball. Put the dough into a large oiled bowl, and cover with a damp cloth. Let rise until doubled in size, about 2 hours.

4. Place the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and use a chef’s knife to cut the dough into three equal portions.

Pork Stew with Smoky Tomato Sauce, Potatoes, and Avocado

Pork Stew with Smoky Tomato Sauce, Potatoes, and Avocado

Inspiration: With Cinco de Mayo coming up, I wanted to make a nice, authentic Mexican meal over the weekend when I had some time to put into it. One of my favorite cookbooks is Authentic Mexican by Rick Bayless, a book that my parents bought me for Christmas one year. Everything that I’ve tried from that cookbook has been fantastic, so I knew that I wanted to use it to find a new recipe for my Cinco de Mayo meal. The recipes in the book all tend to be very involved, though, which I why I chose to make my meal over the weekend. I’ll be making something simpler on Tuesday.

What we Loved: Everything about this meal was fantastic. It was absolutely wonderful, and one of the best meals that I’ve made all year. The stew (called tinga poblana) consists of pork, chorizo, tomatoes, potatoes, and a lot of spices, and the layers of flavor are just amazing. At the end of cooking, the recipe calls for chipotle peppers in adobo sauce to be added to the stew, and they provide a fabulously rich, smoky, and spicy flavor to the sauce. I love the salty, greasy flavor of chorizo, so I loved its inclusion in this dish, and I also really appreciated the flavor of the avocado and the pepperjack cheese. The avocado added a nice, cooling contrast to the spicy dish, and the pepperjack cheese melted nicely down into the stew. This dish made my house smell wonderfully smoky and delicious, and it exceeded my expectations completely, even though I went into the recipe thinking it would be great.

Helpful Hints: This dish is time consuming, so make sure that you have plenty of time to prepare everything. Bayless suggests serving the stew with crusty bread, but I used some flour tortillas. We dipped them into the sauce and also broke them into pieces, filling them with some of the stew and wrapping them up like mini soft tacos. I loved eating the stew this way, but I’m serving the leftovers tonight with bread as Bayless suggested. The recipe also doesn’t call for cilantro, but I used a little as garnish and loved the flavor that it added, so I think it would taste great to use it liberally when serving, too.

Pork Stew with Smoky Tomato Sauce, Potatoes, and Avocado (Tinga Poblana)

Source: Rick Bayless, Authentic Mexican

1 lb lean, boneless pork shoulder, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces
1/2 teaspoon mixed dried herbs (marjoram and thyme)
3 bay leaves
2 medium red-skinned boiling potatoes, quartered
3 large tomatoes
4 oz chorizo sausage, removed from casing
Extra virgin olive oil
1 Vidalia onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
2 canned chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, chopped
4 teaspoons of adobo sauce from the can
Salt and pepper
1 avocado, peeled, pitted, and sliced
8 slices jalapeno jack cheese (or Queso Fresco, as the original recipe calls for)
Cilantro, to garnish (or onion slices to garnish, as the original recipe calls for)

1. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil, and add the pork. Add the herbs and the bay leaves, and stir. Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover, and cook for 1 hour. Remove the meat from the pot, and cut it into 3/4 inch pieces. Reserve one cup of the cooking water.

2. While the meat is cooking, boil the potatoes in salted water until just tender, approimately 12 minutes. Remove the potatoes, and cut into 1/2 inch pieces when they are cool enough to handle.

3. Place the tomatoes under the broiler for 15 minutes, turning once halfway through, until the skins are charred and peeling away from the tomato. When the tomatoes have cooled, remove the skins, and chop the tomatoes into 1/2 inch pieces.

4. Heat a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil in a dutch oven. Crumble the chorizo into the pot, and saute until browned, approximately 10 minutes. Remove the chorizo from the pot with a slotted spoon, and set aside.

5. Add the onions and the pork to the pot, and cook until very well-browned, approximately 10 minutes. Stir in the garlic, and cook for an additional minute.

6. Add the chopped tomatoes, oregano, and chorizo to the pot. Mix well, and simmer for five minutes. Stir in the potatoes, the reserved cup of broth, the chopotle peppers, and the adobo sauce. Season with salt and pepper, and simmer gently for approximately 10 minutes.

7. Scoop the stew into a bowl, and decorate with alternating slices of avocado and cheese. Top with a bit of cilantro and serve.