So I have accidentally figured out a way to make decent stew on a school night that doesn't involve actually making the stew on the weekend before. I made coq au vin (used the New Best Recipe after checking out the Cordon Bleu and Julia Child versions) several weeks ago, and accidentally ended up with a lot more vin than the coq required. So after reducing the liquid down I reserved about 2 cups and put it in a ziplock bag into the freezer. I had no idea what I was going to do with it, but it seemed like a bad idea to throw it down the drain. Last night I had gotten chilled in the morning and badly wanted to have some stew for dinner, except I only had an hour to get dinner ready. Sauted some chicken pieces, set them aside, sauted garlic and minced onion until browned, threw in the chicken with a can of tomato puree and some canned chicken stock, diced turnips, carrots and celery, and the 2 cups of reduction from the coq au vin. Simmered for an hour, which was long enough to get the veg and chicken quite tender, but had the rich flavor of a stew that had actually been simmered for many more hours than that.
<1lb chicken, cut up (any parts, pref without skin)
2 celery ribs
1 can tomato sauce
1 c chicken broth
2 c reserved reduction from some other dish that you actually spent time simmering and reducing properly.
Combine as above.