One of my latest discoveries is a new method for making chicken based “stews.” By stews, I really mean anything where the chicken is coated in a thick sauce. Unfortunately, chicken, even on the bone, doesn’t seem to stew particularly well. My solution lately, which seems to have met with great success, is to oven roast the chicken first. This works best with skin-on chicken still on the bone. The bones lend more flavor and the skin helps preserve the moisture, but even skinless chicken does well being roasted. So far I’ve kept the roasting simple, just rubbing the chicken with salt, pepper, olive oil, and a splash of apple cider vinegar.
After roasting, I let the chicken cool for a bit to let the juices retract, and then shred or cube or otherwise prepare it. Then, to make my “stew,” I simply add the chicken plus any roasting juices, of which there aren’t many, at least not until you cut it, to the stewing sauce, which I’ve been making on the stove top. This approach yielded a delicious chicken curry, where I’d prepared a yogurt-based sauce of apples and onions (with appropriate spices) in a large sauteing pan. After allowing the sauce to really simmer and develop while the chicken roasted, I simply added in the post-roasting chicken and tossed the pieces in the sauce on medium heat for a few minutes to infuse some flavor but not otherwise over cook the chicken. Then I let it sit in the warm pan to soak up some more flavor for a few minutes before serving.
The end result was that the chicken was still extremely juicy and tender (and surprisingly flavorful), and the sauce had the benefit of cooking for almost 40 minutes, giving it a much richer flavor than it would have had if I had simply cooked it until the chicken was appropriately done. I’m looking forward to further experiments and will keep you posted. Mmmmm, delicious.