- 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 3 medium onions, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 12 bone-in chicken thighs, (about 4 pounds), skin removed, trimmed
- 1 teaspoon salt, divided
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, plus more to taste
- 1 cup dry white wine, or vermouth
- 1 1/2 pounds button mushrooms, halved or quartered, depending on size
- 4 plum tomatoes, chopped
- 1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary, or 3/4 teaspoon dried
- 1 1/3 cups cornmeal
- 6 cups cold water
- 1 tablespoon thinly sliced fresh basil
Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-low heat. Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring, until the onions are very soft and translucent, 2 to 4 minutes more. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the onions to a bowl; set aside. Remove the pot from the heat.
Place flour in a shallow dish. Sprinkle chicken with 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper. Dredge the chicken in the flour. Gently shake off any excess.
Cook the chicken in 2 batches in the Dutch oven, using 1 tablespoon oil for each batch. Cook over medium-high heat, turning once, until browned on both sides, 2 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer the chicken to a plate.
Pour wine (or vermouth) into the pot and cook, stirring and scraping up any browned bits with a wooden spoon, for 1 minute. Stir in mushrooms, tomatoes, broth, bay leaves and rosemary. Return the reserved onions to the pan. Add the chicken and any accumulated juices, making sure each piece is partially submerged. Bring to a simmer, then reduce heat to medium-low. Partially cover the pan and cook, gently stirring once or twice, until the chicken is very tender, about 1 hour.
Meanwhile, combine cornmeal, water and salt in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens, about 5 minutes. Partially cover the pan, reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until thick and very creamy, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Remove from the heat and let stand, covered, while you finish the stew.
Remove the chicken to a plate and tent with foil to keep warm. Bring the liquid in the pan to a boil over medium-high heat and cook until thickened, 10 to 15 minutes. Skim or blot any visible fat from the surface. Season with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper to taste. Return the chicken to the pan.
Gently stir in basil. Serve the stew over the polenta.