Pollo alla Mareng

Chicken Marengo

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This dish was apparently served to Napoleon and his officers at the end of the Battle of Marengo, using only what remained on the cook’s cart. This explains, one can only presume, the slightly weird combination of ingredients. They taste good, nevertheless. This dish is often served with prawns on top of each egg. If you want to add them, cook the unpeeled shellfish in white wine with a good pinch of salt for about 5 minutes until cooked through.

Ingredients

  • 1.2 kg/ lb chicken, jointed
  • 60 ml/4 tbsp plain/all-purpose flour
  • 175 ml/6 fl oz/¾ cup, plus 60 ml/4 tbsp, olive oil, plus extra if needed
  • 400 g/14 oz canned tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  • 5 basil leaves, tied together with white cotton
  • 175 ml/6 fl oz/¾ cup dry white wine
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 200 g/7 oz/3 cups mushrooms, thickly sliced
  • 4 slices white bread, such as ciabatta
  • 4 eggs
  • 30 ml/2 tbsp finely chopped parsley, plus extra to garnish
  • juice of 1 lemon, strained
  • sea salt and ground black pepper

Method

  1. Wash the chicken joints and pat them dry with kitchen paper. Put the flour on a plate or in a plastic bag and use to dust the chicken all over. Season with salt and pepper.

  2. Heat the 175 ml/6 fl oz/¾ cup oil in a wide frying pan, add the floured chicken and fry for 15 minutes, turning occasionally, until browned all over.
  3. Add the tomatoes, basil and wine, then add the crushed garlic and a little salt. Stir and cover, then cook for a further 15 minutes.

  4. Add the mushrooms, cover again and cook for 10 minutes more.
  5. Heat the 60 ml/4 tbsp oil in a separate frying pan, add the bread and fry until crisp and golden. Remove and set aside. Fry the eggs in the same frying pan; you may need a little more oil.
  6. Sprinkle the parsley over the chicken, pour over the lemon juice and stir.

  7. Using a slotted spoon, remove the chicken from the pan and arrange on a platter. Discard the basil. Surround with the sauce and mushrooms, then arrange the fried bread around the edge. Put an egg on each slice of bread. Serve immediately, sprinkled with extra chopped parsley.