Before I prepared this dish, I googled Chicken Marengo. Wikipedia was the first result with the history of Chicken Marengo: An Italian savoury dish, so named for being the dish that Napoleon Bonaparte ate after the Battle of Marengo.
According to history Napoleon demanded a quick meal after the battle and his chef was forced to work with meager ingredients. Chicken sliced up with a saber and crawfish were among the choices. Napoleon reportedly liked the dish and (having won the battle) considered it lucky. He refused to have the ingredients altered on future occasions. If you’d like the rest of the story, you can click HERE
After the history lesson, I reviewed about 10 different Chicken Marengo recipes. I guess we’re not as superstitious as Napoleon as each recipe I reviewed offered a different set of ingredients. Not once did I see crawfish listed, but the common theme for Chicken Marengo is chicken braised in a tomato sauce.
For my final plan I referenced one of my most trusted sources, Dairy Hollow House Bed and Breakfast and found a less tomato-ey version. Perfect.
This definitely turned out to be a rich-sauced delicious dish. It took a total of about 3 hours from start to finish, but what better way to spend a cold and rainy afternoon? Elegant enough to serve to guests for a dinner party, I believe this could be prepared in advanced and easily reheated for an impressive meal. Serving the Marengo with a simple green salad with a flavorful vinaigrette and a delicious dessert should result in some impressed guests.
Here’s what I did:
In a large fry pan add 2 T each butter and olive oil.
Add one frying chicken that has been quartered.
As the pieces brown, transfer them to Dutch oven. In the same pan that the chicken was browned, saute:
1 chopped onion
When onion softens, add
4 cloves of chopped garlic
Whisk in 1/3 C. flour
Cook for about 1 minute, stirring constantly, then add:
1 C. white wine and 1 1/2 C. Chicken Broth
Stir constantly for about 3 minutes until the pan is deglazed and the sauce is smooth and creamy. Then stir in:
3 roughly chopped medium tomatoes
Pour over the browned chicken in the Dutch oven. Sprinkle the chicken and sauce with:
- 1/2 C. golden raisins
- 1/2 t. fresh ground black pepper
- 1/4 t. each thyme and basil and rosemary
- 1 bay leaf
Stir well to combine, bring to a boil, turn down heat and let simmer partially covered for about an hour.
Meanwhile in 2 T. olive oil saute:
- 1 dozen small white onions, peeled and left whole
- 1/2 pound sliced mushrooms
- 2 large carrots, sliced
When vegetables are slightly softened, remove them from heat and put them into a greased ovenproof casserole and the one you intend to serve from. Sprinkle the vegetables in the dish with:
the juice of one lemon
1 C. large pitted black olives, sliced in half
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove the chicken pieces from the sauce and lay them among the vegetables in the casserole dish. Return the sauce to a boil, stirring often for about 15 minutes. This will reduce and intensify the flavor of the sauce.
Pour the reduced sauce over the chicken in the casserole and sprinkle with
1/4 C. brandy
Pop the casserole into the oven and bake covered 10 minutes, and then 10 minutes uncovered.
Serve piping hot over buttered egg noodles or mashed potatoes, drizzling sauce over all.
It’s What’s for Dinner or a Dinner Party!