Tex-Med Stew

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            This is a really fabulous stew recipe found in the pages of Sunset magazine, October 2011.  It has the comforting base of a delicious chicken soup with Latin spicing, but then takes a surprising twist with the addition of briny olives and a little citrus.  Since I am spoiled for choice of olives here in Tunisia, I chose our tiniest black olives that have been cured with red chilies and chunks of preserved lemon.  The lemony, salty, heat this blend contributed made the soup, in my opinion.  The recipe calls for pimiento-stuffed green olives and some orange zest and that would be good too, but not as good.  Sorry.
            This soup was in a section of the magazine featuring beer pairings.  For my friend P, they suggested Gordon Biersch Blonde Bock with this soup.  Anything you can get your hands on in Prague?
            If you’re within driving distance of my house in Tunis and want me to spot you ½ cup of quinoa, just let me know.  I’ve got lots.
Chicken, Quinoa, and Green-Olive Stew
4 cups homemade chicken stock
2 lbs. boned, skinned chicken thighs
2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
1 large white onion, finely chopped
½ tsp. salt
1 tsp. each:  ground cumin, ground coriander, and dried oregano (preferably Mexican)
3 garlic cloves, minced
½ tsp. each:  ancho chile powder and cayenne
1 cup chopped ripe plum tomatoes (about 2 large) or fire-roasted diced canned tomatoes
2 tsp. orange zest
½ cup quinoa
1 cup cooked chickpeas (garbanzos), rinsed if canned
1 cup pimiento-stuffed small green olives
1.     Bring broth to a simmer in a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat.  Add chicken and lower heat to a simmer.  Cook chicken, covered, 15-20 minutes or until cooked through; transfer to a plate.  Pour broth into a large bowl and set aside.  Wipe out pot.
2.     Add oil, onion, and salt to pot and cook over medium heat until onion softens and is starting to brown, about 10 minutes.
3.     Stir in cumin, coriander, oregano, and garlic; cook 2 minutes.  Add ancho chile powder, cayenne, chopped tomatoes, reserved broth, orange zest, and quinoa.  Reduce heat and simmer, covered, until a white ring appears around each quinoa seed, 10-15 minutes.  Meanwhile, shred chicken.
4.     Add shredded chicken, chickpeas, and olives and heat through.
Serves 4-6

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