Stay warm with stew

If the rainy weather has made you feel like cuddling up indoors, why not also a hot bowl of stew?

Students from the Florida Culinary Institute in West Palm, Fla., have come up with a recipe for a Casablanca Chicken Stew that may evoke feelings of warmth and comfort.

And if there is a chicken in the pot, you can be certain of rich flavors that combine well with just about any spice, vegetable or other ingredient.

The Casablanca Chicken Stew starts with the rich flavor of boneless, skinless chicken thigh meat, combined with the African flavors of cinnamon, cumin, ginger and garlic.

Golden raisins, red bell pepper, parsley and cilantro add texture and color to the finished dish.

This easy recipe is made with many pantry staples, and can be prepared in under an hour, making it a good choice for a busy midweek meal.

Store leftovers in the refrigerator and enjoy this stew for several days. The flavors will only deepen. Serve this stew over couscous or rice with crusty sourdough bread.

Casablanca Chicken Stew

11/2 pounds chicken thighs, boneless and skinless, cut into 1-inch pieces

11/2 tablespoons olive oil

1 onion, chopped

1 red bell pepper, sliced thin

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1 can (15 ounces) garbanzo beans, drained

1/2 cup golden raisins

1 can (14 ounces) chicken broth

1 tablespoon flour, mixed with 2 tablespoon water

1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped

1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

1 tablespoon lemon juice

In large sauté pan over medium-high heat, warm olive oil. Add chicken pieces and cook, stirring often, until chicken pieces are browned, about 10 minutes. Remove chicken from pan and set aside.

To same sauté pan, add onions and red bell pepper; cook until almost tender, about 6 minutes. Add garlic, black pepper, cinnamon, cumin and ginger. Stir and cook until spices are fragrant, about 45 seconds. Add garbanzo beans, raisins, chicken broth and cooked chicken. Bring mixture to a simmer; reduce heat to low, cover and cook 15 minutes.

Bring sauce in pan to a simmer, pour in flour/water mixture and stir well.

Simmer five minutes until sauce is slightly thickened. Remove from heat; stir in parsley, cilantro and lemon juice.

Serve over rice or couscous.

Makes 6 servings.

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