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Chicken Marengo

Pollo Marengo
Like Chicken Tetrazzini, this recipe for Chicken Marengo also has a story behind it. Marengo is a city south of Turin in the Piedmont region of Italy; it was there that Napoleon defeated the Austrians in 1800. Not in the habit of eating before a battle, he was starving after the victory and commanded his chef, Dumand, to whip something up. Desperate for ingredients, he sent foragers out to search for food and what materialized was a scrawny chicken, a few crayfish, a handful of tomatoes, some eggs, garlic, and a frying pan. Dumand got to work. What he created left Napoleon begging for more, and he ordered that after each battle, this dish must be served! I must beg Napoleon’s forgiveness for not including crayfish in the recipe, but, if available, they are added as fried garnish on top of the dish.

Serves 4 to 6


1/4 cup King Arthur All Purpose Flour

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

One 3 1/2 pound chicken cut into pieces

4 tablespoons Filippo Berio Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 onion, chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

1 cup chopped tomatoes

1/4 cup sherry or white wine

6 fried eggs for garnish (Optional)


Place the flour, salt and pepper in a plastic bag.  Add the chicken pieces a few at a time and shake them to coat with flour.  Transfer the pieces to a dish.

Heat the olive oil in a cast iron skillet or other stovetop casserole dish.  Brown the chicken a few pieces at a time and set them aside.

Sauté the onions in the same pan until they soften; stir in the garlic and continue to cook until the garlic is soft.  Return the chicken to the pan along with the tomatoes and sherry.  Cover and cook over low heat for 30 to 40 minutes or until the chicken is fork tender.

During the final minutes of cooking time, fry the eggs, keeping each separate in the frying pan, and place one on each pre-warmed plate as a garnish.

Note: Dumand tried to improve this dish by adding mushrooms, but Napoleon, being highly superstitious, associated the original recipe with victory, so no substitutions could be made!

This recipe is featured on show 1804, Organic Chicken – Pollame Organico.


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