Thursday, September 23, 2010

France - Chicken Marengo

Napoleon Bonaparte, malaria, refrigeration and the man on the moon. We made the dish infamous to the battle of Marengo fought on June 14, 1800 in Piedmont, Italy. You are probably wondering about the first sentence and how malaria, refrigeration and the man on the moon have anything in common with Chicken Marengo; well to find out you will have to watch James Burke's episode called Eat, Drink and be Merry (watch below).

Eat Drink and be Merry FULL EPISODE

Now that you have watched the episode that was aired on PBS in the early 1980's; you can understand the big concept of the Chicken Marengo dish. Our version is pictured here to the right...
As a matter of fact we all played a roll in making this dish; as you can see there are a lot of components. There is of course piped mashed potatoes which you can see to the right. Croutons in the shape of hearts as you can also see to the right, fried eggs (one for everyone) and of course shavings of black truffles. But the mass of this dish would be in the chicken and the shrimp. In the original crayfish was used and anything else the cooks could find on the battle field. The chicken is made by lightly seasoning the pieces of chicken (one bird split into eight pieces) and lightly pan fry all sides. Remove the chicken and place aside. Next brown mushrooms, shallots and garlic; add tomato paste and chopped tomato to the mushroom mix. Add wine to the mix in the pan and reduce; then add the chicken to the mix with 12 ounces of demi glaze, espagnole sauce or brown stock. Bring this mixture to a simmer and slowly stew/braise for 25 -30 minutes. Add the cleaned shrimp or crayfish at the end of cooking to the sauce and cook till done (about 2-3 minutes). Top the chicken and shrimp mix with fried eggs and pipe the finished mashed potato around the side of the plate. Of course finish the dish by adding some croutons toasted in butter in a saute pan and shaped like hearts.

The rest of the evening we made braised endive which was braised in an oven at 350 degrees and seasoned with salt, sugar, butter, oil, and lemon juice. Tomato Clamart (clamart = peas) which are pictured here...they are tomatoes which are peeled and cored; then filled with cooked peas. You finish them off in the oven with a slice of butter on top. Of course season with salt and pepper...

A blast from the past we made beef consomme with vegetables and Maria made warm oysters on top of zucchini. That was an acquired taste I must say and the beef consomme was the same technique we used in fundamentals by making a raft, basting it and then straining the ladled soup into container. Overall the food was great and Chicken Marengo is a masterpiece within itself!

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