This Rooster Marengo recipe comes with a dollop of fanciful historical past

Rooster Marengo

Energetic time:50 minutes

Whole time:1 hour 20 minutes

Servings:4 to eight

Energetic time:50 minutes

Whole time:1 hour 20 minutes

Servings:4 to eight


According to legend, Rooster Marengo was invented by Napoleon’s chef on the battlefields of (mais bien sûr) Marengo in northern Italy. As le Petit Caporal led his overmatched troops to a spectacular victory over the Austrian military, his chef was in a panic. France’s fearless chief would require a luxurious feast to rejoice his triumph, however the provide wagons carrying the meals had gotten misplaced.

“Sacré bleu!” he stated. (In all probability.)

Napoleon’s chef took inventory of what he had. There was a skillet, which he carried with him in all places like a soldier did a saber, and a flask of brandy, as a result of he was French. He dispatched two males on horseback to scavenge the ruins of Marengo for something edible, whereas he stayed behind to frantically forage for meals on the blood-soaked battlefield.

He plucked wild garlic from the bottom; tomatoes from a vine; herbs from a thicket. One in every of his males returned with a couple of stolen chickens and a pocketful of eggs; the opposite appeared with a jug of oil at his hip and a loaf of crusty bread tucked beneath his arm. It wasn’t a lot, however for a intelligent chef on a date with future, it was sufficient.

Napoleon wouldn’t be the one man to emerge victorious on the Battle of Marengo.

The pilfered foul had been rapidly dispatched, plucked clear and hacked into quarters with a pointy sword. Napoleon’s chef laid the butchered birds right into a searing-hot skillet slicked with golden olive oil, leaving or not it’s till the pores and skin grew to become crackly and crunchy from frying in its personal rendered fats.

The chef tore bread to bits together with his naked arms, partially as a result of his serrated knives had been on a lacking wagon, however largely as a result of he was hopped up on adrenaline and pure, unadulterated French chef rage. (There are not any excuses for dropping a wagon prepare stuffed with wine and cheese whereas crossing the Alps!)

He pulled the cooked rooster from the pan and tossed the shredded bread into the schmaltz left behind, letting it prepare dinner into croutons as golden because the setting solar. He moved the toasted bread to a grand serving platter (he discovered one hiding within the backside of his baggage), threw the garlic and tomatoes into the new pan, and poured within the flask of brandy.

WHOOSH! A rush of flames shot as much as the sky with a ferocious roar, which everybody in attendance discovered very spectacular. Napoleon’s chef was getting his groove again, and it felt improbable.

“Oh la vache, je suis bon,” he stated. (In all probability.)

He artfully organized the rooster atop the crouton mattress earlier than drowning it in brandied, garlicky tomato sauce. As Napoleon strolled into the eating tent, his chef rapidly fried up the eggs from his steward’s pocket and positioned them daintily atop the overall’s feast. (Whereas there are not any official data of this occasion, primarily based on the scale of trouser pockets and the typical dimension of a Nineteenth-century Frenchman, we will assume this was between 4 and 6 eggs.)

Napoleon slumped into his eating chair, filthy, famished and harboring exceedingly excessive requirements for military meals. The weary normal took a chew; his backbone straightened to consideration, his eyes opened broad.

“Incroyable!” he exclaimed. (In all probability.)

So smitten was the overall with the advert hoc dish, he insisted the chef serve it on the finish of each battle. Phrase of Rooster Marengo unfold throughout Napoleon’s rising empire, the recipe altering itself wherever it went to accommodate the native terrain. In some unspecified time in the future, mushrooms grew to become concerned. So did wine as a result of, properly, France. Some cooks added shallots; others added bell peppers. Nearly everybody removed the eggs, as a result of having to scrub out a skillet only for fried eggs is annoying.

French chief Napoleon Bonaparte has a sophisticated legacy

Over 200 years later, the world continues to be feasting on Rooster Marengo, and nobody can agree what the recipe is meant to appear to be, very similar to the legend itself.

Most white-knuckle thrilling origin tales find yourself being apocryphal, particularly after they need to do with entrees. However dismissing it as lore isn’t a lot enjoyable, now, is it? We don’t at all times have to be so involved with the details or “authenticity” — generally a dish deserves to have parts of the improbable. Generally we’d like tales of gods and generals and pockets stuffed with eggs on a weeknight.

Since I don’t have a French-army-camp-sized skillet, I tailored my Marengo for the oven, the place I can gently prepare dinner eight rooster thighs in brandied sauce with out having to hover over the range utilizing a number of pans. The oven additionally makes it straightforward to make loads of croutons, which all too typically are omitted from fashionable interpretations. Identical to you by no means take a wagon stuffed with cheese into the Alps with no map, you need to by no means ignore a possibility for schmaltz-soaked bread.

And when you’ve bought the approach down pat, be happy to have enjoyable with this recipe. Swap out the mushrooms for cubed zucchini, use purple wine as an alternative of white — you can even add the eggs again in, simply to see what that was all about.

Napoleon is useless; you haven’t any gods nor generals to impress. Write your individual story.

Searing the rooster might be messy, however utilizing a high-sided Dutch oven or a splatter display screen may help.

Storage: Refrigerate the rooster and croutons individually for as much as 4 days.

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For the rooster and sauce

  • 2 to 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 8 to 10 medium bone-in rooster thighs (3 kilos whole)
  • 1 teaspoon nice salt, divided, plus extra to style
  • 1 pound white button mushrooms, thickly sliced (about 2 cups)
  • 2 shallots, minced
  • 4 massive cloves garlic, minced or finely grated
  • 1 cup dry white wine, akin to sauvignon blanc
  • 1/2 cup brandy
  • One (28-ounce) can entire peeled tomatoes
  • 2 massive bay leaves
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly floor black pepper, plus extra to style
  • Rooster drippings
  • Loaf of crusty rustic bread (1 pound), torn into 1-inch items
  • 3/4 teaspoon nice salt, plus extra to style
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly floor black pepper, plus extra to style
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Sear the rooster and make the sauce: In a big, deep saute pan or forged iron skillet over medium warmth, warmth 2 tablespoons of olive oil till it shimmers. Season half of the rooster thighs with 1/4 teaspoon salt and prepare dinner, pores and skin facet down, till the pores and skin is crisp and golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes. The rooster will splatter, so use a display screen if in case you have one.

Fastidiously flip the thighs over; prepare dinner till browned, one other 2 to three minutes; then switch to a plate. Repeat with the remaining rooster. Switch the rooster to a plate and canopy to maintain heat. Pour the rendered rooster fats into a big, heatproof bowl, leaving a small quantity within the pan.

Place one oven rack within the lowest place and one other within the center, and preheat to 375 levels. Scatter the mushrooms throughout the underside of a 9-by-13-inch baking dish and put aside.

Return the saute pan to medium warmth, and add the shallots, the garlic and a pinch of salt. Prepare dinner, stirring and including extra oil, if wanted, till golden, about 2 minutes. Pour within the wine, scraping up any brown bits on the underside of the pan with a picket spoon, then add the brandy, tomatoes, bay leaves, the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and the pepper. Improve the warmth to excessive and stir gently, breaking the tomatoes into massive items by urgent them with a picket spoon. When the sauce involves a boil, lower the warmth to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, till decreased by half, 5 to 7 minutes.

Make the croutons: Whereas the sauce is simmering, within the bowl with the rooster fats, toss the bread, salt and pepper till coated, including 1 to 2 tablespoons of oil, as wanted. Style, and season with extra salt and/or pepper, as desired, then unfold out on a big, rimmed baking sheet.

Return to the rooster and sauce: As soon as the sauce has decreased by half, pour it over the reserved mushrooms. Nestle the rooster items within the pan, shifting the mushrooms round (or on high of) the rooster as essential.

Slide the rooster onto the underside rack of the oven; set the crouton sheet pan on the center rack. Toast the croutons for 15 to 17 minutes, stirring midway, till golden brown. Prepare dinner the rooster undisturbed for 25 to half-hour whole, or till the meat is tender and the sauce is effervescent. (An instant-read thermometer ought to learn not less than 165 levels when inserted into the thickest a part of the rooster.)

Serve the rooster on high of the croutons, generously ladling sauce on high for the bread to take in, and serve scorching.

Energy: 655; Whole Fats: 33 g; Saturated Fats: 8 g; Ldl cholesterol: 143 mg; Sodium: 848 mg; Carbohydrates: 40 g; Dietary Fiber: 4 g; Sugar: 6 g; Protein: 37 g

This evaluation is an estimate primarily based on out there components and this preparation. It mustn’t substitute for a dietitian’s or nutritionist’s recommendation.

From meals author Allison Robicelli.

Examined by Allison Robicelli and Suzy Leonard; electronic mail inquiries to [email protected].

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