Can I Make "Chicken a la Marengo"? (VHF)
Updated: Aug 27, 2020
I found this on Pinterest; it was a recipe post from ancestry.com of all places! :) As I mentioned before, I like to try out these vintage and historic recipes and have started a new series.: Vintage & Historic Recipes (VHF).
This recipe is from 1904(!) and was printed as a recipe in The Pittsburgh Press newspaper.
Chicken a la Marengo seemed similar to Chicken Marsala (which I love), except with white wine, but I didn't have any wine around, so I didn't use it anyways. Haha! It has a trick to thicken the sauce without heavy cream, which I liked. I try to make lower fat or lower cal substitution for heavy cream if I don't think it will impact the taste.
When I looked up Chicken a la Marengo, I found another vintage or historic dish, which was different than the one I made. This one was called Chicken Marengo.
"In the middle of June 1800, Napoleon Bonaparte's troops were engaged in battle with Austrian forces near the small village of Marengo in northern Italy. The battle was fierce, or so the legend has it, and Napoleon, of course, emerged victorious. And hungry. He asked his chef to prepare a meal quickly and the cook scoured the countryside looking for foods to prepare. He scurried around and discovered a chicken, olive oil, tomatoes, herbs, eggs and crawfish. Within minutes, a fire was started and the chef prepared a quick sauté of the chicken with tomatoes, oil and herbs. It is said that he garnished the dish before serving it with a fried egg and crawfish. In my version, the chicken, cut into serving pieces, is simply browned in a little olive oil (I add a touch of butter to give it flavor) on both sides. I then prefer to add sliced mushrooms (there are those who declare that truffles were among the original ingredients), seasonings, wine, tomatoes and parsley and cook covered until done, about 10 minutes longer."
I just made a smaller portion than in the recipe, so I used less ingredients than listed below and made a couple of substitutions. For example, I didn't have any Bay leaves around. I used chicken breast, garlic spread, shallots, mushrooms, egg, flour, parsley & thyme and salt & pepper.
4 Tablespoons of Olive Oil
1 Clove of Garlic
1 Bay Leaf
1 Tablespoon of Flour
1 Egg Yolk
Salt and Pepper for Taste
I sauted the shallots and garlic spread and browned the chicken. Then I added the chicken stock (water + a little Chicken ramen seasoning). Then I took out the chicken and added the mushrooms.
To thicken the sauce, you use an egg yolk and flour -- not cream or heavy cream. You can see it thickens up nicely! If you add a cup of heavy cream, that's probably ~800 calories.
RESULT: Success! :)
We are good at this! It was good! Mine actually looks more like Chicken Marsala because I let the mushrooms brown longer than in their photo.
As I mentioned above, I like the new trick I learned from this vintage & historic recipe to thicken sauces -- using an egg yolk and a little flour. I'm going to use it when cooking and developing recipes.
Give it a try! We are good at this!