Chicken Marengo


We are having company over and Chicken Marengo was on my list. MK had a doctor’s appointment so I started this chicken dish, something that is usually my thing anyway. I have been making it for some forty years or so. When we were first married, we picked up the book, ‘Good Cooking with Wine,’ by Mary Reynolds. For whatever reason, it was one of my favorite cook book finds as there are several great renditions of quality French recipes.

The Chicken Marengo is supposedly a dish created to celebrate the Napoleonic victory at the Battle of Marengo in Italy. Since they had little other than mushrooms, tomatoes, and chicken, that became the main set of ingredients for the meal.

The nice thing is that the ingredients are limited and all made in one pot. The other thing is that it never ceases to make the people eating it happy and the sauce it creates is wonderful for dipping a good French bread in.

It takes under an hour to cook and now, after cleaning up the kitchen and doing a few other clean ups that we needed, I am going to head to the gym.

I am looking forward to the Chicken Marengo and, more importantly, seeing good friends and breaking bread with them.

Life is good.

Here is the recipe:

Chicken Marengo

Cooking time: about 1 hour…serves four

2 lb. roasting chicken cut up 2/3 cup dry wine
¼ cup oil 1 ¼ cups chicken stock
1 small onion chopped 1 tablespoon thick tomato paste
1 garlic clove, crushed salt and pepper to taste
1 cup button mushrooms chopped parsley or croutons
2 tablespoons flour

Heat the oil in a heatproof casserole and over gentle heat fry the chicken joints until golden brown all over. Add the onion and garlic and fry with the chicken. Stir in the flour and cook for one minute, then stir in the wine, chicken stock and tomato purée. Add the button mushrooms, then cover the pan closely and simmer gently for about 40 minutes. Dish the chicken, reduce the sauce by boiling if necessary, and pour over the chicken. Garnish with freshly chopped parsley or croutons of fried bread. If liked, serve with boiled rice.

This famous dish is said to have been invented by Napoleon’s chef to celebrate the victory at Marengo when the only ingredients available on the battlefield were some scraggy chicken, wine, oil, and mushrooms.

Good Cooking with Wine, Mary Reynolds

About Richard Koerner

Sixty something, father, papi, educator, organizer, Francophile, traveler, amateur photographer, gardener, cyclist, kayaker, calligrapher, cinephile, reader, and overall renaissance type human being.
This entry was posted in Cuisine and Food, France, French Cuisine, Life in general, Thoughts and philosophy. Bookmark the permalink.

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