My mother used to make Chicken Marengo and we always both loved it. So, when I ran across this recipe, it gave me good memories of sharing this dish with my mother. This dish is of historical value: Napoleon and his traveling chef, Dunand, were the men who made this dish famous. After the battle at Marengo (Piedmont, Italy), Napoleon demanded from his chef a quick meal—imagine this after a treacherous journey over the Alps in mid-May. Cooking legend has it that even in these hinterlands, Napoleon’s forever challenged chef found a chicken, tomatoes, onions, garlic, herbs, olive oil and crayfish. He cut the chicken up with his “saber” and made a dish very much like this recipe. Reportedly being thoroughly French, Dunand also added a dash of cognac from Napoleon’s flask. Napoleon liked the dish immensely and since he won the battle, considered Chicken Marengo lucky. So he asked for it often just as Dunand had originally made it. My recipe here doesn’t have crayfish or cognac in it, however, I think that it might taste very good with a similarity of both of those ingredients: shrimp and brandy maybe? Other variations could include white wine and black olives. Crusty bread served with it is delicious or rice will do. It’s also very good served with a lightly cubed peeled baked potato and thinly sliced onion that has been sauteed in a pan with some olive oil and sprinkled with some S&P, fresh thyme and paprika. And don’t forget a fragrant white wine to drink.
- 2 ½ Tblsp. Olive oil or other good oil
- 8 chicken drumsticks
- 1 oz. bacon cut into small strips ( I freeze bacon to make sure I have a bit when I need it)
- 1 ½ Tblsp. flour
- 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
- 1 garlic clove, thinly sliced ( You can also use some minced garlic from the jar)
- 1 large tomato coarsely chopped (or you can use drained canned tomatoes amount to equal approximately 1 large tomato)
- 1 Tsp. tomato paste (from the tube or I freeze mine in 1 tsp. amts. and use that)
- 1/4 C. chicken or beef broth (I use chicken)
- 1 C. 2-percent milk (you can use whole milk or half and half diluted if you wish)
- Several parsley sprigs plus 2 Tsp. chopped parsley(I’ve used dried parsley as well)
- Preheat oven to 375
- In an ovenproof skillet, heat 1 Tblsp. oil over medium high heat. Add chicken, season with S&P, and lightly brown on all sides—about 8 minutes. Transfer chicken to a platter.
- Add bacon to the skillet and cook, stirring until the fat is rendered—about 2 minutes. If there is a lot of fat, drain most of it and add the remaining 1 ½ Tblsp. of oil to the skillet. Stir in the flour until smooth. Add the onion and garlic and cook over moderate heat, stirring until slightly softened—about 3 minutes.
- Add the tomato and tomato paste. Cook, stirring, until the tomato softens slightly-about 5 minutes. Add the milk and broth and bring to a boil, stirring until slightly thickened-about 3 minutes.
- Return the chicken to the skillet and add the parsley sprigs.
- Cover the chicken and braise in the oven for about 20 minutes—until the meat is cooked through.
- Transfer chicken with tongs to a pretty platter and return the skillet to the stove top. Over moderate heat cook the gravy whisking constantly until smooth, about 2 minutes and add the chopped parsley to it.
- Pour the sauce over the chicken legs and serve with crusty French bread.
- For easy access and printing of this and past recipes, visit Margot’s blog http://blog.tempinnkeeper.com Call Margot for personal cooking help @ 721-3551.
- Margot is a self-taught enthusiastic & passionate cook. Having been an inn-keeper for 5 years at her own inn, she accumulated a lot of good recipes which she loves to share.