Originally aired January 19, 2012
- 8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- Salt and pepper
- Flour, for dredging
- 1/4 cup EVOO Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 pound hot Italian sausage with fennel
- 1 small bulb fresh fennel, thinly sliced
- 1 onion, thinly sliced
- 1 cubanelle pepper, halved, seeded and thinly sliced
- 1 red bell pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
- 1 chili pepper, such as Fresno pepper, thinly sliced
- 3 to 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1/2 cup dry white or red wine
- 1 28-ounce can Italian tomatoes
- 3 cups chicken stock, divided
- A few leaves of basil, torn
- 2 cups milk
- 1 cup quick-cooking polenta
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1/3 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Season chicken with salt and pepper and dredge in flour. Heat a few tablespoons EVOO over medium-high heat in a large Dutch oven and brown chicken well, 5 minutes on each side. Remove to plate, add more oil and brown and crumble the sausage. Remove to plate with chicken.
Add fennel, onions, peppers, garlic to the pot and season with salt and pepper. Let soften, 5-7 minutes, then stir in tomato paste. Cook 1 minute, deglaze with wine and add tomatoes and 2 cups stock, breaking up tomatoes. Add reserved sausage and chicken back to the pot, a few leaves of torn basil and simmer 30 minutes, stirring occasionally over low heat.
Bring remaining cup chicken stock and milk to a low boil in a saucepot. Whisk in polenta and thicken 2-3 minutes then stir in butter and cheese.
Serve polenta in bowls topped with the chicken and sausage stew.