On a recent cold rainy fall day, I had something of an epiphany for how to use a whole chicken I had that was about 45 seconds away from starting to turn. I was tired of soup, but I wanted sauce, spice, and flavor. Solution: Stew. I also forgot pictures because I was too cold, hungry, and grumpy.
I quartered my chicken and browned the quarters in my heaviest pot in some olive oil. I should have removed the wings because they ended up disintegrating and just adding boney bits. Oh well. Once the chicken had some decent browning going on, I poured on a can of whole peeled tomatoes. These are basically the best thing ever for making sauce from scratch, because they have a minimum of processing and are 95% as tomatoey as fresh tomatoes, at maybe 1/5th the price. The rest of the veggies were carrots, peeled and halved; some small white onions quartered and little pearls kept whole; and lots and lots of garlic (maybe 8-10 cloves).
Sinus-clearing action was called for, so I added half a dozen dried Thai chiles I got at the St. Paul farmers' market, seeded and stemmed but otherwise whole. I dropped in a few bay leaves, some healthy pinches of dry basil and rosemary, a handful of blanched almonds, and a few tablespoons of turmeric. Then, a few tablespoons of lemon juice and balsamic vinegar. Lastly, I poured on about 1.5 quarts of stock, or whatever it took to cover. Wine would be good here, but my cellar didn't cooperate. Oh, and a couple good splashes of olive oil.
The best step in stew making: cover, simmer, wait. After about 90 minutes, the chicken was falling off the bone, and the tomatoes had more or less dissolved into the sauce. I removed the chicken and added a half can of tomato paste and boiled the sauce for a few minutes to thicken it up. I served it up with couscous with golden raisins, peas, and scallions, and garnished with some basil chiffonade and squirts of fresh lime.
Today, the leftover stew (we ate all the chicken) got mixed with a box of pasta and some shredded leftover roast chicken breast to make a nice chicken noodle pasta kinda thing.