Chicken Marengo

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.

Chicken Marengo…

It’s What’s for Dinner or a Dinner Party!

On this day..

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  1. says

    I heartily agree – cooking an “involved” sumptious meal on a drizzly day is just the thing! This looks so good and I’ll bet the house smelled divine all afternoon. Very nice post and beautiful photos!

  2. says

    I have to say, I have never heard of this dish before. But I love that it has raisins and olives (sweet and salty – umm AWESOME). Thanks for doing all of this research on it. It’s so cool when recipes have a historical backstory.

  3. says

    Chicken Marengo is one of my “go-to” dishes. I’ve been making it for years and we love it. Mine is a little different than yours, but I’ll have to try the raisins and carrots you’ve included. Funny, I almost always serve mine with English peas too.


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