Saturday, July 30, 2011

Dinner and Drinks: Chicken Marengo

Chicken Marengo is one of those dishes that takes a little while to make, though it's mostly simmering this and baking that, so it's not actually hard, per se. It's really fun to make though, as you can drink lots of wine during the process and it makes the house smell incredible.

It is was supposedly one of Napoleon's favorite dishes, so it may stunt your growth. Studies are inconclusive.

Chicken Marengo

6 chicken breasts (or a whole chicken, skinned and cut up)
1 medium onion (sliced thin)
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup white wine
2 cloves of garlic (chopped)
1/2 tsp thyme (dried, double if using fresh)
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup diced tomatoes
1 cup mushrooms (sliced thin)
1/2 cup black olives (sliced)
1/4 cup butter
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 1/2 oz brandy
salt and pepper

Sautè the onions in the olive oil over medium-high heat until soft. Remove and set aside. Brown the chicken on all sides in the same pan. Add the wine, chicken stock, tomatoes, garlic and thyme and simmer, covered, for about a half hour. Make sure the chicken is done, as it won't spend too much time in the oven later. I turn the chicken halfway through but that's not law or anything.

You've got an hour to kill now, so drink some wine. I'm sipping on some Clos du Bois chardonnay, which is a dry white wine that I think goes well with chicken. I used it in the recipe as well, though you can use cooking wine if you prefer the extra sodium. I don't think this recipe needs it though.

When you've got about fifteen minutes left, preheat your oven to 350°, top off your wine glass and get a sautè pan going with the butter and lemon juice. Soften the mushrooms in it. After that, remove the chicken and set aside. Strain the sauce out of the pan, discarding the solids. Add the liquid back to the pan and reduce it for about 5 minutes on high heat.

Put the chicken, mushrooms, onions, olives in a casserole dish. Sprinkle a shot of brandy over the whole thing and add the sauce. Heat in the oven until everything is nice and heated. That's it: you're done!

I like to keep this meal light, so I make a little spaghetti-type pasta, tossing it with a little butter and salt, then spooning some of the sauce over the top. Ridiculously good.

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