Chicken Marengo


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Adding shellfish to a meat stew that has tomatoes introduces synergistic umami from the abundance of nucleotides in these ingredients. An excellent example of this type of dish is chicken Marengo. Legend has it that it was created following the Battle of Marengo in Italy in June 1800, when the French led by Napoleon were fighting the Austrians. In order to feed the troops after their victory, Napoleon’s chef, Dunand, sent his men out to forage in the surrounding countryside. They returned with tomatoes, eggs, chicken, and crayfish. The chef created a delicious stew, which so delighted Napoleon that he allowed it to be named after his triumph at Marengo and had it served to him after every battle. The combination of chicken, eggs, tomatoes, and crayfish impart a very intense umami taste. Chicken Marengo

A fricassee is a stew made with light meat—for example, veal, poultry, or lamb—together with a variety of vegetables and, possibly, mushrooms. A classic dish is chicken fricassee, which is rich in umami from the glutamate in the chicken and vegetables and the guanylate in the mushrooms. Served in small pastry shells, chicken fricassee with asparagus is a delicious treat.

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  • 1 free-range chicken, about 1.5 kg (3 lb)
  • olive oil
  • 12 fresh crayfish
  • 20 pearl onions, peeled
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 dL (â…˜ c) dry white wine
  • 1 can (2 c) peeled, chopped tomatoes
  • 2–3 dL (⅘–1â…• c) chicken bouillon or dashi
  • 5 sprigs fresh thyme
  • country bread
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 free-range eggs
  • 200 g (7 oz) chanterelles or other tasty mushrooms
  • 1 bunch fresh parsley


  1. Split the chicken open and discard the backbone. Cut the rest into pieces, complete with the carcass and the bones, which add taste substances.
  2. Brown the pieces thoroughly in olive oil in a large pot and set aside.
  3. If necessary, add a little more olive oil to sauté the crayfish for a few minutes. Take out the crayfish, remove their heads, and set them aside. Put the heads back in the pot together with the onions and garlic. Cook until the onions are light brown, then add the white wine and reduce the liquid a little.
  4. Return the chicken pieces to the pot. Add the crushed tomatoes, chicken bouillon, and thyme, cover with a lid, and allow to simmer over low heat until the chicken is cooked through but still juicy. Remove the carcass and bones and keep the chicken warm until serving.
  5. Peel the crayfish. Cut the crust off the bread, and cut it into cubes. Toast first the crayfish and then the bread cubes lightly in olive oil in a skillet.
  6. Fish out the crayfish heads from the pot with the chicken and discard; season the sauce with salt and pepper.
  7. Crack the eggs into a bowl filled with cold water and vinegar so that they tighten up. Warm some olive oil in a small pan. Remove the eggs carefully and pat them dry on a paper towel. Fry them in the oil until they are golden but still runny inside.
  8. Place the eggs on a paper towel to drain the excess oil and season them with sea salt and freshly ground pepper.
  9. Toast the chanterelles in a dry skillet. Chop the parsley.
  10. Serve the chicken in the tomato sauce. Distribute the bread cubes over the chicken. Add the fried eggs, sprinkle with the parsley, and top with the crayfish.