Right about now is when winter stops being fun and starts getting old.  Christmas is months in the past, the New Year’s resolutions are, well, what New Year’s resolutions?, and Valentine’s Day just doesn’t cut it when everyone knows there are at least two more months of snow and gray skies ahead.

I’ve been using my trapped-inside-because-it’s-so-stinking-cold status as an excuse to try out some new recipes lately.  Some have been amazing, others, not so much.  Since I’m always hunting for new pork recipes in particular, I was excited to discover this delicious southwestern pork soup full of tasty ingredients like tomatoes, avocados, and cilantro (don’t worry, it’s not just a bowl of guacamole).   It’s fast, easy, and uses ingredients that I generally have on hand.  So if you’re freezing after an afternoon of snowblowing–again–give this one a try.

Southwestern Pork SoupSouthwestern Pork Soup (adapted from Cooking Light)
Time:  15-20 minutes
Serves 4

2 T. olive oil
1 cup chopped onion (about 1/2 large onion)
2/3 cup chopped green bell pepper (about 1/2 large pepper)
1 T. minced garlic
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced
1 pound pork loin, trimmed and cut into bite-sized pieces
3 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
2 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. salt (to taste)
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 (15 ounce) can pinto beans, rinsed and drained (about 2 cups)
1 (14 ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained (I prefer petite)
3 T. chopped fresh cilantro
1 medium avocado, diced

Heat a soup pot or Dutch oven over medium heat.  Saute onion, bell pepper, garlic, and jalapeño in olive oil for 2-3 minutes or until slightly tender.  Add pork; cook 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add broth and next 6 ingredients (through tomatoes); bring to a boil.  Partially cover, reduce heat, and simmer 6 minutes or until pork is done, stirring occasionally.

Garnish individual servings with cilantro and avocado.

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