Every once in awhile Mr. C. will be completing the New York Times cross word puzzle, and will run across (or down) an answer that by its clue he knows is a cooking term or dish. And if he doesn’t recognize the term or dish, he asks me to enlighten him since I am the self proclaimed resident expert on all things cuisine. Now sometimes I can answer with assurance, sometimes with a faint idea of what I’m talking about, but more often than not, I haven’t got a clue. So when Mr. C. recently asked me about marengo, I just stared at him and shrugged my shoulders. But of course, later that morning I had to look it up.
I discovered that Marengo is a town in Italy, and that maybe possibly Chicken Marengo was prepared for Napoleon by his personal chef after the French won the battle of Marengo on June 14, 1800. (Myth or legend, who knows?!) What I do know for sure however, is that Melissa d’Arabians recipe for Chicken Marengo, with a couple of minor adaptations on my part, is an absolutely delicious, easy to prepare, and healthy chicken dish. So who cares about the origin of the recipe even though both the French and the Italian claim it as their own creation. (Well of course they do!) And incidentally, there are about as many wildly different ingredients and ways to prepare this dish as there are Carter’s Little Liver Pills! (Actually since 1959 they have simply been called Carter’s Little Pills.) And yes, they are still being made and apparently sold. Or they wouldn’t keep making them, right??? But back to the variety of ingredients possible in a Chicken Marengo.
Some include poached or fried eggs (yikes), crayfish, Cognac, garlic, black olives, thyme, etc. The list is endless. But for my taste, this simple preparation is absolutely perfect. (And no I don’t care if Napoleon would have liked it or not!)
So do yourself a favor. First of all, don’t buy any Carter’s Little Liver Pills (talk about an expired pull date), but do prepare this amazing dish next time you want to feature chicken in a new and exciting way.
- 2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts, sliced lengthwise, and then pounded thin
- kosher salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ c. all-purpose flour
- 3-4 T. extra virgin olive oil
- 1 medium sized sweet onion, sliced
- ½ lb. button mushrooms, sliced
- 1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
- 2 T. tomato paste
- ½ c. dry white wine
- ½ c. beef broth (yes, beef broth)
- 1 (14-oz.) can chopped tomatoes
- 2 tsp. butter
Season the chicken with salt and pepper and lightly dredge in flour. In a large sauté pan, heat 3 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium-high heat and add the chicken. Brown on both sides, until lightly golden, about 3 minutes per side. Remove from the pan and set aside.
In the same pan, add another tablespoon of the olive oil, if needed, along with the onion, mushrooms, and pepper. Sauté until the veggies are almost soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and cook for 2 minutes. Turn up the heat, and add the wine and let it reduce by about half. Add the beef broth and chopped tomatoes. Once the mixture begins to burble, reduce the heat, and cook for about 7-8 minutes. Add the reserved chicken and any accumulated juices and cook until the chicken is warmed through, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the butter. Serve immediately. Great served over brown rice.