Pollo Marengo was, many believed to be Napoleon Bonaparte’s favorite dishes. The dish is made by sauteing a small chicken that has been cut into 8 pieces in olive oil and butter with white wine, garlic, tomatoes and mushrooms, then garnished with sauteed Crayfish (Shrimp) and Fried Eggs.
It is believed that the first time this dish was cooked, after Napoleon had defeated the Austrian Army at The Battle of Marengo in Piedmont, Italy, south of Alessandria. After the battle, as Napoleon was hungry and wanting to eat, his chef (Dunand) had to forage for whatever food-stuff he could get his hands on. Chef Dunand’s assistants came back with a couple chickens, mushrooms, crayfish, and eggs, and then the chef went to work creating the dish which Napoleon absolutely loved, and came to be known as Pollo Marengo, named after the town where it was created following the battle there. This was supposedly the first preparation of the dish, which morphed into later to the dish that now includes mushrooms, tomatoes, and wine, which it is believed were not in the first preparation of the dish as made by Chef Dunand. The dish nowadays is most often made with Shrimp instead of Crayfish, and not often done, but just to guild the Lilly for those fortunate to do so, you may shave black or White Truffles over the dish. This later addition of truffles is a nod to Piedmont which is renowned for their decadent White Truffles, though they could not be in the original dish as the battle was fought on June 14, 1800, and White Truffle are not in season this time of the year.
So no matter how the original dish was made and what the ingredients are, Pollo Marengo is quite a wonderful dish that was a bit popular in the 1950s and 60s, but not so much these days, other than with serious hard core foodies and gourmands. If you’ve never tried it, don’t pass up the chance to make the dish. With chicken, mushrooms, shrimp, and fried eggs, the dish is sure to please most any of guests. So enjoy!
3 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 – 3 1/2 pond Chicken, cut into 8 pieces
Sea salt & Ground Black Pepper
a half pound Button Mushrooms, cleaned and cut into quarters
1/2 cup Dry White Wine
½ cup chicken stock
6 San Marzano Plum Tomatoes
4 Tablespoons Italian Parsley, chopped
5 large Eggs
8 large Shrimp, cleaned, divined and shell removes (leave tail on)
- Heat butter and olive oil in the Dutch oven.
- After patting chicken parts dry, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add to Dutch oven, skin side down. Cook until skin is crisp and browned.
- Remove breast pieces to a platter and cover to keep warm. Cook leg and thigh pieces a little longer, then add to platter.
- Add mushrooms to the pan. Cook for about 4 minutes on the first side until golden brown. Turn mushrooms and brown on the second side. Add garlic, wine, and chicken stock.
- Stir well. Add tomatoes and parsley.
- Add chicken pieces back to pan. Cover and simmer for 10–15 minutes. Meanwhile, heat up six shallow soup plates. Add chicken to each plate, then spoon the sauce from the pan over the chicken.
- Melt butter in frying pan, then add eggs and cook sunny side up.
- Fry the Shrimp in the same butter, being careful to not overcook them.
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