Oysters & White Wine – A Guide to the Perfect Pairing

Amazing Matriarch is here to help you host the perfect oyster & white wine paring be it for your next party, or a night in with your special someone.

The Oysters

The best way to pick oysters is to do a taste test; whether it be with a marked, mixed dozen at home or at a local raw bar (check out the 10best oyster bars in Boston or search 10best.com  for ideas in your city from other local experts) a sampling will hep you decide what you want to serve.

There’s been a battle between east and west coast oysters for years, personally I find oysters from each coast equally enjoyable, while my husband prefers the more mild flavors and smaller since of west coast oysters. The difference between oyster from each coast is that you’ll find large, firm, meaty morsels of high salinity in the shells of east coast oysters and a slightly sweet melon and cucumber flavor in the smaller, more delicate west coast oysters.

A mix of both is always nice, but  as an east coaster with easy access to briny delights from local waters year-round; who buy into the fresh is  best when it comes to food (especially raw seafood) movement, I recommend sourcing oysters from local farmers and seafood shacks.

Popular east coast oysters, that are easily accessible and worth shucking at home include:

Oysters on the half shell at home
Oysters on the half shell at home
  • Wellfleet – large, meaty, clean tasting with excellent salinity
  • PEI, Malpeque– tender, the brininess and sweetness are in balance
  • Island Creek– rich, fatty meat with a buttery finish in a deep cup
  • Blue Point– medium in size with a mild ocean flavor, meaty and from in texture

Popular west coast oysters worth seeking out include:

  • Kumamoto– cucumber flavor, deep cups, small in size
  • Fanny Bay– strong cucumber flavor, meaty and firm

Serve shucked on a platter of crushed ice or alongside shucking knives and gloves (oven mitts work well) for a more casual “shuck your own” event.

The Sauces

Meeting Chef Justin Shoults
Meeting Chef Justin Shoults

Whatever oysters you choose to serve and however you choose to serve them, be sure to have a sampling of sauces on hand:

  • Tabasco: the watery nature of tabasco allows for a hint of heat without too much bulk to overwhelm the oyster’s texture
  • Lemon wedges: technically not a sauce, just a squeeze of lemon over your oyster is all you need to counterbalance the salinity of what’s in the cups
  • Cocktail sauce: “beginners” eat oysters with cocktail sauce, but those who truly enjoy the oyster prefer to eat it without as the heft of the this sauce. It’s strong flavor and dense texture can overwhelm the oyster (do not even think of putting on west coast oysters) so use sparingly.
  • Mignonette– this vinegar based sauce is easy to prepare and can be altered using various add in (herbs, type of vinegar, & flavoring agents like ginger). My favoirte, simple mignonette to make is from Ina Garten and Food Network.
  • Herbed Creme Fraiche– This is delightful on both east and west coast oysters where the mild flavor enhances the oyster; a sorel laced version I tasted at a seminar presented by Brine’s Chef, Justin Shoults at the 2015 Nantucket Wine Festival was perfect, but other herbs can easily be subbed in, just be sure to puree the herbs as to avoid a chunky sauce.


The Wine

Sampling of whites with oysters
Sampling of whites with oysters

I typically pair my oysters with a bottle of Veuve Clicquot. Luckily, when participating in the Flight of the Oyster tasting at The Nantucket Wine Festival there was an expert (Philippe Newlin) on hand to create a perfect pairing with  dry to sweet Bordeaux; changing how I look at my at home raw bar drink selection forever.

Six that worked well:

  • Sirech Les Deux Terroirs Blanc 2013, Pessac-Leognan
  • Chateau Marjosse 2013, Entre-Deux-Mers
  • Chateau Carbonnieux Blanc 2013, Pessac-Leognan
  • Chateau Cos d’Estournel Blanc 2013, Medoc
  • Hauts de Smith Blanc 2012, Pessac-Leognan
  • Chateau Suduiraut 2007, Pessac-Leognan

Pour your sips and savor the oysters finding the combination that calls to you and filling that glass to the top.

-Helping you rock the raw bar, Jess

What’s your favorite oyster pairing? Tell us via Facebook: Amazing Matriarch, Instagram: amazingamtriarch or Twitter: @AMatriarch;  Tag us on social using#amazingmatriarch



Make it a Mother’s Day She Won’t Forget

Before my kids came along Mother’s Day meant hosting elaborate feasts for my mother, mother in law and grandmother. Or running from house to house ensuring everyone got equal time on Mother’s Day. But the stress of appeasing everyone, in one day, all about an hour away form one another, became a burden when I became a mother and had two little kids demanding my attention so I switched things up and started a new tradition.

There’s no escape to the spa or ditching the kids in favor of “me time” on my mother’s day menu, but there are two elements I insist upon that fit the stage of life my kids are in: family fun (ideally outdoors), and eating out (even if it is just take out).

Anyone is welcome to join, but I plan a day that works with the weather (last minute) and revolves around my kids naps, keeping them active, avoiding cooking and cleaning for any member of my household, and keeping me sane.

Check out my picks in and around Boston for a Mother’s Day you won’t forget no matter your life stage.

If you’re the mamma of young children and want to skip the stress but keep your kiddos close, here are a few ways to have fun with little ones:

  • Find a local bike path. In the Boston area we often spend Mother’s Day biking Memorial Drive, where  the road is closed and the scenery along the river includes city views. My kids release some energy; I don’t worry about their decible level and  everyone has fun.
  • High tail it to waterfront park. South Boston’s Castle Island let’s you let loose, stroll the pathways or enjoy a picnic. Or skip the advanced preparation and have a kid friendly meal at Sullivan’s where the fried food is legendary and the lobster rolls reasonably priced.
  •  Go for a hike. This Mother’s Day, Boston area favorite Mass Audubon area, Blue Hills is offering a pancake brunch and guided hike
  • Check your local listings of places moms get in free.  Lincoln’s Drumlin Farm offers moms free admission on Mother’s Day.

However, just because my life stage dictates my activities and the idea of anything fancy, contained or controlled is torture with my two and five year old, does not mean this lady can’t dream. Those of you with well-mannered older kids should enjoy a little relaxation (someday this will be my ideal Mother’s Day). And Boston area restaurants have brunch plans with your name on them. Excellent restaurants serving up Mother’s Day meals you’ll remember include:

Legal Harborside
Legal Harborside
  • Legal Harborside serves up seafood treasures that are sure to make the aquatically inclined momma swoon. $65 gets you a customizable prix fixe complete with lavish choices like the (pictured) treasures of the sea. Always welcoming to little ones, Legal’s makes it easy to enjoy your Mother’s Day meal.
  • Hard Rock Cafe teams up with  the New England Aquarium to serve one rockin’ menu this Mother’s Day.  Breakfast is a bargain with a $13.95 price tag for adults and $9.95 for the kids. children under 2 eat free.
  • Head to high tea at Aragosta. Serving brunch earlier in the day, you can do something different and treat mom to high tea served from 2-4:30pm.

If your kids are grown (or close to it), or mom’s treat is eat out without them, then a couple of excellent suggestions include:

  • Pastoral’s monthly cooking class. Cooking with Mama kicks off on Mother’s Day and let’s you and your mama learn a new skill side by side. or simply indulge in brunch, where $42 gets you three courses and a cocktail.
  • The Taj Hotel where the view of the Public Garden is equally as spectacular as what’s on your plate. Sit outside on the rooftop patio or dine in elegance within the ballroom dining area. The buffets will include an impressive seafood tower and seatings are at 11, 11:30, 1:30 and 2:00pm
  • Reserve a table at Bistro du Midi where you’ll find elegance on your plate as well as in the decor. Window tables let you peek at the Public Garden while you sip their signature Bloody Mary that lives up to any hype you may have heard (the champagne cocktail is also delightful). A social occasion spot for sure, Bistro du Midi is a top choice for moms and their adult children.
  • Bergamot is serving three courses for $44 from 11am to 2pm, allowing mom to sleep in then enjoy a special dining experience.

-Because Mother’s Day should be fun for everyone, Jess

Fill us in on your favorite Mother’s Day activities! #amazingmatriarch on social media. Find us on Facebook: at Amazing Matriarch,  Instagram: amazingamtriarch or Twitter: @AMatriarch;  #amazingmatriarch 

Leftovers With a Purpose: Simple Tips for Making Multiple Meals with Shared Ingredients

I was once a gourmet cook, who used her kitchen time as a stress reliever. Now I’m a stay at home mother of two with a husband who has a consistently inconsistent travel schedule. On the side, I’m a travel and lifestyle writer who’s out several nights a week and a business woman trying to launch a business (this blog).

Planning healthy breakfasts, lunches and dinners to fit the hectic schedule of my family has become just another chore in a never ending cycle that seems to keep growing as my kids grow. Far to often I find myself at the mercy of convenience fare; serving my family processed food -not my ideal means of providing nourishment.

Inspired by Cooking Light’s March 2015 feature, Cook Once, Eat 3x, I’ve taken control of my kitchen and found a way to stress-less-ly enjoy meal planning and preparation in a whole new way.

The Cooking Light feature offers three recipes that share one common ingredient, roasted root vegetables, and uses it in very different ways: as a side dish with chicken, in a turnover, and in a soup. Brilliant, simple, healthy and satisfying, all three recipes were home runs with each member of my family. Most of all, I had zero stress repurposing the roasted roots each day.

Seeking more easy ideas, I put my own spin on Cooking Light’s concept; roasting a whole chicken along with a 6 crowns of broccoli that produced enough leftovers to use in two more meals throughout the week: Chicken Nachos, and Broccoli Soup.

Meal 1: Roast Chicken and Oven Roasted Broccoli

A super simple and sensational recipe this crowd pleaser involves few ingredients and gives you a moist, flavorful bird.


  • olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper
  • garlic powder
  • onion powder

Pat the chicken dry then rub it with olive oil. Mix the seasonings together then coat the exterior of the bird with the mixture. Set your oven to bake at 425 degrees for 20 minutes (this will crisp the skin nicely) then reduce to 350 degrees and walk away for a little over an hour while the oven does its thing to a 5-6 pound bird (cooking times vary based on size and oven).

When the chicken is close to ready (an hour and fifteen minutes into total cooking time) return to the oven and add the tray of broccoli, allowing just enough time for the bird to brown up, be removed, and rest before the broccoli is caramelized. Turn the broccoli  about halfway through the 20-25 minutes it needs to cook (the size of your florets places a roll in cooking time) in the 425 degree oven.

Slice the chicken, and serve with a side of broccoli. Let the remaining chicken and broccoli cool then store in airtight containers (after removing the remaining chicken from the bone).

IMG_4213If you’re looking to take your chicken to another level, skip the olive oil and seasoning mixture. Instead, mix 2 tablespoons of room temperature butter with 2 tablespoons of your favorite chopped herb (thyme, rosemary, dill, parsley, oregano, and sage all work well) loosen skin, and massage the butter mixture beneath, then sprinkle the outside with a bit of salt and pepper, squeeze 1 lemon on top, then stuff the lemon halves inside the bird along with any extra herbs before baking as directed above.

Meal 2: Chicken Nachos

Everyone in my house loves chips; but I’m not a fan of them becoming the main course.  Dressed-up with shredded leftover chicken, and melted cheese these tortilla chips transform into a protein-packed, kid friendly meal. Amp up the nutrition by setting up a toppings bar loaded with veggies and dips and you’ll be returning to chips for dinner in many forms.


  • 1 cup leftover shredded chicken
  • 1/2 to 1 bag of your favorite tortilla chips
  • 1 cup (or more if you’d like) shredded cheese of choice; I like a Mexican blend

Optional extras:

  • chopped tomatoes
  • chopped onion
  • shredded lettuce
  • chopped olives
  • 1 can of rinsed black or pinto beans
  • chopped avocado or guacamole
  • sour cream
  • salsa

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, layer tortilla chips on a sheet pan, top with chicken, cheese and beans (if you’re using), and bake for 10 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly but not too brown, remove from oven and allow to cool then transfer to individual plates or serving platter.

Place toppings bar selections in small bowls on your dinner table and pass them around so your family can create their own masterpiece. Challenge your kids to create the coolest toppings combination and you’re sure to find them clearing their plates.

Meal 3: Broccoli Soup

Choose your favorite broccoli soup recipe. I’ve yet to find a go-to choice and have not been successful experimenting. I like mine with cream, but I’m not a fan of the calories. My most recent favorite is simple and can be found in Food and Wine online. If you choose to use this recipe, I suggest roasting the garlic the night you cook the chicken and broccoli to save time. With the pre-roasted broccoli and garlic this recipe is lightening fast and super simple allowing your food to be on the table in 30 minutes or less.

Serve this alongside a panini, grilled cheese sandwich, or a fresh salad and this soup becomes a filling meal.

-Making mealtime manageable one bite at a time, Jess

Rather dine out? Check our Jessica Polizzotti’s picks for family friendly Boston restaurants on USA TODAY’s 10best.

Some Food is Worth the Search: Three Secrets of Boston’s Food Scene Unveiled

Boston’s full of secrets be it tours and attractions, bars or even restaurants. These three restaurants have secrets, be it an entrance, location, or menu items to order. And these secrets are worth revealing because what good is it to have something great and not share it.

With only 20 seats, and only for those who are legally adults, Bogie’s Place is tucked inside jm Curley. The steakhouse meals served here come a la carte, warranting a sharing of sides. Caviar fans will be happy to know that Bogie’s place has a small selection on their menu. And be sure to leave your cell phone behind because the sign clearly states they are not allowed. It would be a shame to get kicked out of such a cool secret dining spot.

A4 Pizza may not be hard to find, but their secret slice is never listed. Changing with the chef’s whim, the secret slice can only be ordered if you know to ask for it. The funky combinations will pleasantly surprise you. When the chef is at their sit down sister spot, Area Four, you may be able to order a secret slice there as well.

Get in on the pop up action at a Kitchen Kibitz dinner. Constantly changing locations, this supper club moves its location for each event; you never know where the next will be, unless you follow them on Facebook. Partnering with a different Boston chef each time, Kitchen Kibitz adds a modern twist of old world Jewish cuisine.

Reserve your seats, buy your tickets, and order off the menu to experience three of Boston’s best dining secrets.

-Revealing Boston’s secrets one at a time, Jess


Stop Your Whining and Get to Wine-ing at Boston Wine Events

If Boston’s winter has you whining about the excessive amount of snow on the ground, and the excessive cold, check out two great wine events that are sure to switch you from a whiner, to a wine-r- the Boston Wine Festival and Boston Wine Expo

Boston Wine Festival kicks off in January to save you from the post holiday haze that had you fooled that this winter won’t be so bad after all. Taking place at the Boston Harbor Hotel, the Wine Festival is a series of wine focused dinners featuring the cuisine of acclaimed Chef, Daniel Bruce, paired with wines from around the world. Running through March, the events of the Boston Wine Festival often sell out making a seminar or dinner best planned in advance. Boston Harbor offers hotel packages so guests can easily retire for the evening with only a walk to their room.

The Boston Wine Expo takes place annually on President’s Day weekend at 10best 2015 best Boston hotel, the Seaport Hotel and World Trade Center. This expo is jam packed with winters from around the world sampling their finest wines in a laid back atmosphere, while chefs take to the two stages to showcase their skills in cooking classes aimed at teaching you a new kitchen trick. Seminars are held in various conference rooms throughout the Boston Wine Expo and offer deeper exploration of a region, style or parking of wine. Hotel packages are available to make your weekend even better. And use of the drync app allows easy purchasing while you’re tasting so you’ll be sure to remember the wines you loved.

Buy your tickets today so you can wine the right way until winter comes to a close.

-Here to rescue you from the winter blues, Jess


Treat Yourself to a Winter Refresh at Pyara Aveda Salon & Spa

The face of serenity

Once upon a time I took really good care of myself. I got regular massages, exercised  each day, got highlights every 8 weeks and even kept my attire up to date.

Enter children, a lack of free time,  and a budget to adhere to (kids are really expensive) and self-care became secondary. Although my days of relaxation and of beautification have decreased, I occasionally  shell out some serious cash to a sitter to sneak in a few solo moments at a really great spa.

The hip vibe of the salon area at one of my faves (and a 2015 10best Boston Spa winner), is Pyara Aveda Salon and Spa, makes me feel young again, while the serene lower level spa helps  me look it. With a mere three hours to escape it all, I stepped back in time to the world of a younger me and let myself relax while I enjoyed a refresh.

I took three hours away from it all

In just three hours, I went from drab to fab with a customized facial, blow out, hand treatment and make-up touch up. Allowing me to walk out beautified and energized.

Cold winter days in Massachusetts create dry winter skin, making a facial a must. Targeting your specific needs, your specialist begins with a short list of questions to ensure you get the facial that’s right for you. Using Aveda products and their trademark Chakra balancing methods, Pyara creates a whole body experience in a relaxing environment.

I truly let go for the first time in months and let myself enjoy every minute of this treatment. From the essential oil that was applied to my third eye (I chose tangerine because it made me feel happy) to the neck, shoulder and foot massage while my masks were setting, I thought about absolutely nothing. I could have stayed in that room, on that table all day, but alas the treatment ended and it was time to get prettied up.

Upstairs, in the salon of Pyara, I met with a Master Stylist, who, after a brief consultation, got to work on my extra thick hair (it takes a solid hour to go from shower to somewhat acceptable on a regular day so for me a blow out is a real treat).

After  a complimentary head and neck massage I made my way to an adjustable  wash table- a real score for the 5’1″ me who’s often craning my neck in discomfort, with feet dangling when getting a pro wash.  At Pyara, I  was able to kick back (the seats have foot rests), relax and let someone else wash my hair for a change.

Back at my stylist’s table  my locks went from drab to fab in the skilled hands of my blow dryer wielding wizard, in what seemed like no time at all.

Ready for the final touch, their on-staff make-up artist began working her magic on my hands with a  moisturizing treatment before  getting to work on on my make-up. The revelation was amazing; I was aglow from my facial with my features defined in a natural way. I looked like a woman who spent time caring for herself on a regular basis.

The best part, Pyara has a retail store within its walls allowing me to update my beauty supplies without an extra stop. Armed with a list of Aveda products recommended just for me, I worked my way along the shelves choosing the products I wanted.

One last gratuitous self-check and I was ready to step back into real life where this me time made a the most difference.

-A gal getting a little glam on a regular weekday, Jess

Open In Boston During Winter Storm Marcus, 2/9/15

School’s closed, offices are shuttered, and the Governor has declared yet another snow emergency. 2015 is one for the record books for sure!

For some, the show must go on; so if you’re in the office, on the manufacturing floor or living in the city and just want to escape the confines of your four walls, head out to dinner tonight.

Here’s a heads up on a few restaurants that are open for business around Boston today and even some specials in honor of the snow day.

Search #OpeninBos on social media for more. And check out 10best for Jessica’s reviews.

-Helping you sneak out during a snowstorm, Jess

Winter Attire Tip: Layer Up & Embrace the Cold

Bundled up to brave the elements

I was once winter phobic, self diagnosing myself with “seasonal affective disorder” the second I heard it was a thing, and hibernating until the last bit of snow had melted. I was mostly miserable from November until April, and really unsure of why I lived in Boston (in truth, I like to be able to see my family, and that’s the reason I never left). Fast-forward to my mid-thirties, 2 kids and a job that has me traveling to check out winter activities, and my outlook has totally changed; I’ve learned to embrace winter and it’s made me a better person.

Bundled up, in every warm layer I own, with a value pack of hand and foot warmers in my bag for “just in case”, I have fun, outdoors, all winter long.

My new found love affair with winter started when my son began ice skating and my husband built him an ice rink in our back yard (a city kid myself, I still think this is the most amazing thing I’d ever seen). I wanted to be out there so badly that I’d toss my figure skates and ski pants with a cute little hat and fashionable wool coat to take a few twirls before finding myself frozen and begging my then two year old to come in.

Mommy & Marcus hockey in our yard
Mommy & Marcus hockey in our yard

I was so disappointed, I turned to my winter expert, my husband (who has not bought himself an article of clothing since before we met, and has me choose his suit daily)  for winter fashion tips. And although I really did not like what I heard, I slowly succumbed to his suggestions, and as much as I hate to admit it; his tips are 100% responsible for making me a winter warrior.

He taught me how to dress for warmth (rather than style), and layer myself into a nice cocoon of warmth that can get me through a few slope-side hours in the (sunny, windless) single digits. I replaced my Ugg boots with REI recommended warm, waterproof  Vasque  boots, traded my dress socks for Smartwool socks (snag for less at Nordstrom Rack where they’re often only $10/pair) and layered the crap out of my clothes. I’ve been known to pile 5 (thin) layers beneath my coat and three beneath my snow pants (Under Armour & The North Face are my favorite layering brands). I bought thick, insulated, waterproof, $70 winter gloves (because I lost one of mine enroute to Stowe last weekend) and a hat I hate being seen in, but love on my head on a cold winter day. And when the cold takes my breath away I turn to Turtle Fur to protect my neck and face.

And I’m warm.

Skiing at Stowe this past weekend, the weather was frigid, the staff of locals at the Stoweflake Mountain Resort and Spa, where I was staying, made it clear they would not be visiting the mountain that day, the room on the shuttle, short lift lines, and crowd in the lodge confirmed it was a crazy cold day. But we were determined to brave it.

Snow Shoeing home from Thia's
Snow Shoeing home from Thia’s

Truth is, dressed for the weather, we hardly noticed the sub-zero temps, making my first time on skis in five years, the best ski day skiing I’ve ever had.

Not only was I toasty warm, but I got to enjoy my daughter’s first day skiing, my son’s first time on the chairlift and my husband’s ability to make even the coldest outing fun.

So, I’ll keep the layers on, forget how silly I look, skate, ski, snowshoe, build snowmen all winter long, and enjoy every moment of fun that winter has to offer- with or without my kids by my side.

People don’t notice whether it’s winter or summer when they’re happy.Anton Chekhov

Skip the Chocolates, Toss the Flowers and Head to Boston for Some XO this Valentine’s Day

 Treat your someone special to a Valentine they’ll never forget; book a vacation or staycation in Boston. Too much work? Not at all;  we have your itinerary set, you just have to make the reservations, buy the tickets and get yourself into the city.

Stay at the Ames Hotel where their XO special is just oozing romance. Your room,  a corner or deluxe king , is modern in decor, with elegant touches. Enjoy the  “Sexy Shower” with your someone special (these large scale glass showers give you full view of the room). Pack light as The Ames has everything you need to get intimate in their  “Intimacy Kit”.  After  you’ve made use of your room, refuel with your complimentary box of artisanal chocolates from EH Chocolatier.  

Ames Hotel Room
Ames Hotel Room

 Please your lady outside of your room with a little shopping utilizing the included “Because I Love You” gift card for $75 to Alex and Ani. Top it off with a little refresh when you take advantage of the professional make-up application that comes with your stay at the Katrina Hess Studio

While she gets pretty, he heads off for a  luxurious hot towel shave at Ball and Buck.  This barber shop is housed within men’s wear store making it the ideal place to buy something to wear when you’re not in your room.

Make your way back to the Ames Hotel for a late lunch, or light snack and the two complimentary cocktails that await at King St. Tavern. Spend a little more time in your room before heading off for a romantic dinner at the  Hungry Eye where a cozy spot is standard. The $200 per couple price is a steal for the menu they have planned.

Chef Jody Adams at Boston Wine Expo 2014
Chef Jody Adams at Boston Wine Expo 2014


When Valentine’s Day comes to an end, hold off on heading home. Instead spend a the afternoon at  the Seaport World Trade Center  where the Boston Wine Expo will be making a splash on the wine world. Enjoy the two stages of chef demonstrations and  sample great wines from around the world, just be sure to add a seminar to your itinerary because these “classes” are informative and fun.
Need more ideas, check out my Boston articles and lists on 10best.
-Hint, hint hubby. XO, Jess

Warming Winter Soup for a Snowy Day

When you’re a New Englander there are winter days when you can’t leave the house. Like today, when hurricane Juno is rocking the Northeast and those of us in the Boston area are getting pummeled with 3′ of snow accompanied by high winds. Driving is impossible and the only option for escape is to snow shoe to our neighbor’s house armed with some serious plates of ready to share, homemade, comfort food.

Inspired by a recent 10best Boston Mexican restaurant list, I  whipped up a “just in case the power goes out” slow cooker Mexican chicken soup. Simple and satisfying, this soup will warm you from the inside.

Start by chopping an onion, carrot, and pepper (color of choice) then sauteing vegetables before adding to the slow cooker. Add 2 cooked, chopped or shredded chicken breasts into the slow cooker along with one 32 oz container of chicken stock and a 15 oz can of fire roasted tomatoes with the juices.

Mexican chicken soup
Mexican chicken soup

Season with a tablespoon of cumin, 2 tablespoons of chili powder, 2 cloves of garlic, salt and pepper.If you like it spicy toss in a can of chopped green chiles or a chipotle pepper or two. Slow cook on low overnight  (6 hours on low is plenty), then add a can of rinsed black beans and let sit in the pot on warm until ready to serve.

Spoon into serving bowls and top with a sprinkle of cheese, chopped avocado, cilantro, a dollop of sour cream and crushed tortilla chips and dig in throughout the day.





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