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Moroccan-Style Chicken and Potato Stew

As with most stews, those back-to-basics, all-weather favorites, there's not much hard work for the cook involved here, no complicated techniques to puzzle out.

The combination of feisty spices, seasonings and a sweet touch of figs or raisins gives the dish its Moroccan flavor. Meat and potatoes are there for those who don't feel properly fed without them; carrots and tomatoes add color and satisfy those who view veggies with tender favor.

Makes 4 servings

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
4 skinless, bone-in chicken-breast halves (about 8 to 10 ounces each)
1 medium onion, chopped
6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
two 14 1/2 -ounce cans stewed tomatoes, undrained
1 1/3 pounds potatoes (about 4 medium), cut into 1-inch pieces
1 cup baby carrots
1 cup dried figs or 1/2 cup raisins
2 tablespoons lemon juice

Preparation 10 minutes, cooking time 1 hour

In a Dutch oven or large saucepan, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add chicken; brown on all sides, about 8 minutes. Remove chicken from pot; set aside. In same pot, cook and stir onion and garlic 4 to 5 minutes or until onion is translucent. Stir in salt, cinnamon, cumin, curry powder, ginger and red pepper. Cook and stir 30 seconds or until fragrant. Add tomatoes, potatoes, carrots and figs; heat until tomatoes just come to a boil. (Mixture will look dry at first; additional liquid will form as stew cooks.)

Return chicken to pot. Cover tightly; reduce heat and simmer 35 to 45 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Stir in lemon juice before serving.

Per serving: 650 calories; 10 grams fat; 146 milligrams cholesterol; 1,313 milligrams sodium; 82 grams carbohydrate; 13 grams fiber; 63 grams protein

- From National Potato Promotion Board

Copyright 2001, The Baltimore Sun  Associated Press April 25, 2001

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