Chicken Marengo is a tasty one pot dish that has an interesting history. It is delicious, easy to cook and simple prepare. We can joint a chicken for you in the shop but using chicken thighs is also a good option as they respond well to the longer slow cooking.

About Poulet á la Marengo

This dish has an interesting 200 year history. As with all traditional or longstanding recipes there are many variations, embellishments and claims to fame. The story here is that after his victory at the battle of Marengo in Northern Italy Napoleon asked his chef Dunand for a good tasty meal. Being in the aftermath of a battle ingredients were scarce and it is  said that the chef could only find a chicken, tomatoes, garlic and mushrooms. Napoleon was delighted by the dish and requested that the same meal was served to him after every battle.

Later when there were better supplies available Durand  substituted the mushrooms for crayfish and garnished with fried eggs and added the wine however legend has it that the great commander refused it, thinking that a change to the recipe would bring him bad luck. Other food historians think that the dish was created by restaurant cooks naming the dish after the famous battle.

Many contemporary recipes for this dish omit the crayfish and eggs which is what we have done below.

Ingredients For Chicken Marengo

I chicken jointed into 8 pieces (or 8 chicken thighs)
60g Butter
vegetable oil for frying
1 Large onion chopped
1 tbs plain flour (plus enough to dust the meat before frying)
large glass of white wine
1 tin (400g) chopped tomatoes
2 large garlic cloves finely chopped
Bouquet garni
200g button mushrooms or larger quartered
Salt and pepper for seasoning
Chopped parsley for garnish

Cooking Method for Marengo Chicken

Season the chicken pieces well with plenty of salt and pepper then dust with some of the flour. Fry in a hot pan until golden all over. Set to one side. In the same pan at a lower heat add the onions and fry gently until soft and translucent. add the garlic and fry for a little longer.

Now add the spoonful of flower to thicken the sauce, stir to absorb all the oils and then add the wine, keep stirring to ensure there are no lumps and scrape up any tasty residues.

Next add the tomatoes and bouquet garni. Return the chicken to the pan and add some water (or stock) to just cover the meat. Bring the pan  back to the boil and simmer gently with the lid on until the chicken is cooked through and the sauce is reduced and thickened. If the sauce is still a bit thin remove lid and simmer a bit longer.

Before serving fry the mushrooms in butter and add to the sauce. Taste the sauce and season with salt and pepper as needed. Garnish with parsley.

Serve with rice, potatoes or noodles/pasta.


If you would like some more chicken recipes or cooking tips check our blog here >>