This is a wonderful variation on Flemish stew. For a more flavorful base, you must use quality protein. Skip the chain grocery store and head to your butcher. I recommend thick cut bacon that has been smoked or cured. The chicken should be recently slaughtered, and preferrably from a local source. To save a little money, de-bone and skin your own thighs. I find the amount of dark ale to be on the high side. If you would like more herbs in your stew, I recommend adding a tablespoon of coriander seeds, and a couple of bay leaves. You may also want to try a heaping tablespoon of whole-seed dijon mustard before you stew. This recipe definitely needs more acid and I notice some people opting for adding vinegar to the stew. I would recommend squeezing a slice of fresh lemon over the stew when it's being served. I really enjoy this recipe and will be making it many more times.