Le Poulet Marengo

Chicken Marengo

This manner of cooking chicken is said to have been invented by Napoleon’s chef after the battle of Marengo. Having run short of butter, he used oil instead, which is now one of the essential ingredients of Chicken Marengo—that, tomatoes and garlic. These are the foundations, but since the days of Napoleon, famous chefs have added various other things, and the garnishes are many. At one time, olives were among the famous garnishes, and later it became the fashion to serve fried eggs and écrevisses (Dublin prawns) with this dish. Mushrooms and onions are always used as a garnish. I am not giving here the complicated and specially garnished Poulet Marengo of the chefs-de-cuisine and restaurateurs, but that which is used by most French cooks and housewives.


  • 1 jointed chicken
  • 3 tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon of tomato purée
  • 6 tablespoons of white wine, the same of veal stock
  • 3 tablespoons of oil, about 12 pickling onions, about the same number of mushrooms
  • 1 clove of garlic, salt and pepper, a sprinkling of flour


Put the oil in a saucepan and, when hot, add the pieces of chicken, and cook to a golden brown on all sides. Add the tomatoes and the tomato purée. Sprinkle the joints with a little flour, stir well till the flour browns, add the white wine, the stock, the mushrooms and onions, previously slightly browned in butter, season with salt and pepper, add the clove of garlic, and simmer gently for 1 to 1½ hours. Put the pieces of chicken on a hot dish, garnish with the mushrooms and onions, and croûtons of fried bread, and pour the sauce over them. Sprinkle a little chopped parsley over the whole.