Chicken Marengo, Pollastri alla Marengo

Chicken Marengo is said to have been first prepared for Napoleon on the eve of June 14, 1800, following his victory over the Austrians near the Piemontese town of Alessandria. As one might guess, the situation was fairly chaotic, and the cook used whatever he was able to scrounge.

This is probably why no two Chicken Marengo recipes are alike, and many are quite fanciful. Giovanni Vialardi’s is actually tame by modern standards, and this is probably because he compiled it just a few decades after the battle took place.

Clean two chickens and cut them into 6 pieces each, in other words three from the breast, the thighs, and the backs, plus the wings and the drumsticks, which should be boned.

Mr. Vialardi says to put the pieces in a pot with a quarter cup of oil and a half cup of unsalted butter – you can, if you want, reduce the amount of fat, and I likely would — and add to them 2 onions, a carrot, and a stalk of celery, all sliced finely.

Cook until the meat has colored and the onions are golden, then stir in 2 tablespoons of flour and 2 cups of broth or water, check seasoning, and simmer until the chicken is tender than the sauce is reduced. Transfer the birds to a heated platter, deglaze the sauce and either strain it or blend it, pour it over the birds, and serve.

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Categories: Carni Piemontesi, Piemontese Meats, Cut Up Chickens and Other Birds

Author:Cosa Bolle in Pentola

Italy boasts an astonishing number of varietals, denominations, and wines, and tremendous changes are sweeping the land. New wines are being created, new DOCs are being introduced, and the existing denominations are overhauling their regulations both to reflect the practices adopted by their member wineries and to favor improvements in quality. Even the most staid and stolid region can flower seemingly overnight, emerging with exciting new wines and wineries that require rewriting the enological maps and rethinking one's positions. And, of course, recipes too, because cuisine and wine are closely intertwined and it's difficult to imagine one without the other.

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