Moroccan Chicken Stew

8 chicken thighs, skinned
1 Tb vegetable oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1/2 ts turmeric
1/4 ts cinnamon
1/8 ts red pepper
4 whole cloves
2 bay leaves
4 cups chicken stock (you may want to add a cube of bouillon for richer flavor)
1 16 oz can whole tomatoes, quartered with juice (if you like spicy food you can use the kind with peppers)
1 medium green bell pepper, sliced
2 carrots, sliced into rounds
1/2 ts salt
1 19 oz can garbanzo beans, drained (average size can – my store’s aren’t 19 oz. You can also use homemade)
4 cups prepared couscous, hot
1/4 cup golden raisins (optional)
1/4 cup slivered almonds (optional)

Pour the oil into a stock pot (I use an 8-quart) over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook for until the onions start to soften (you want to watch it and make sure the garlic doesn’t burn).

Stir in the turmeric, cinnamon, red pepper, cloves, and bay leaves. Add chicken and chicken stock and let it come to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook for about 25 minutes.

Add tomatoes, garbanzo beans, green pepper, carrots and salt and cook until vegetables are tender.

If you are serving this to guests: take soup bowls and place an equal amount of couscous in each bowl. Place a chicken thigh on top of the couscous and then gently pour the broth and vegetables over the chicken. Sprinkle with slivered almonds and raisins if desired (I never do).

What I prefer to do, especially if I’m serving a large group, is remove the thighs, wait for them to cool, de-bone them and put the meat back in the pot. I also make sure to remove the cloves and bay leaves before serving. (Be careful dripping this soup, turmeric stains!)

I know this recipe sounds unusual, but I am a very picky eater who doesn’t like spicy food and I love this soup. It’s also quite simple to make. It might sound expensive because of all the spices and such but if you have a bulk section in your store, you can probably get the amounts needed for this recipe for less than $1. Chicken thighs are cheap and the rest of the ingredients are quite economical. For more savings, make sure that you DO NOT buy the small white boxes of couscous – your bulk section should have couscous and it will be a lot cheaper.

If I have leftovers, I like to chill the soup in the fridge overnight and then put it in mason jars and freeze it. A single jar will contain enough soup for 4 medium-sized appetites (or 2 if you want seconds!), if combined with fresh couscous a salad, and maybe some hot homemade pita or naan bread. Basmati rice is also wonderful in place of couscous and gives it a whole other flavor. Enjoy!

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