Place ham in a large wide pot set over medium heat. Cook until crisp, about 2 minutes. Remove to a bowl. When cool enough to handle, break into pieces.
Add 2 tbsp (30 mL) oil to pan. Add mushrooms. Cook, stirring occasionally over medium-high heat until browned around the edges, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove to bowl with ham.
Add 1 tbsp (15 mL) more oil to pan. Swirl to coat. Add half of chicken. Cook until lightly golden, 2 to 3 minutes per side. It’s ok that chicken is not cooked through at this point. Remove to bowl with ham and mushrooms. Repeat with remaining chicken, adding more oil if needed.
When chicken is removed, add prepared onions. Sauté over medium heat until softened slightly, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle flour overtop. Stir constantly until evenly mixed. Pour in a splash of wine to deglaze the pan. Scrape up and stir in any brown bits from pan bottom. Stir in remaining wine along with broth, brandy, olives, thyme and bay leaf. Add ham, mushrooms and chicken pieces to pot. Increase heat to high. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally until chicken is cooked through and liquid thickens, 25 to 30 minutes.
Season to taste. Serve over boiled potatoes, cooked noodles or rice or with crusty bread for dipping. Also delicious the next day!
Makes 4 to 6 servings.
Slow-simmered chicken stew is at its best when loaded with mushrooms,
olives and wine!