After the Battle of Marengo, which was a victory for the French army, Napoleon asked his chef, Dumand, to prepare a special dinner. Food was in short supply but, with a great chef’s ingenuity, Dumand prepared a dish with all the ingredients he had on hand. Tradition has it that the dish was garnished with crayfish, but mushrooms are used in this
recipe, which is closely associated with the original. The dish was such a success that Napoleon named it after the battle and it is now part of classic French Cuisine. A good wine to serve with this is Gevrey Chambertin (Napoleon’s favourite
red burgundy) or a white burg-undy such as Pouilly Fuisse or Puligny Montrachet.
1×5 lb. chicken, cut into 6 serving pieces
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
3 fl. oz. olive oil
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
4 medium-sized tomatoes, blanched, peeled, seeded and chopped
2 teaspoons tomato puree 4 fl. oz. brandy
2 tablespoons butter 20 to 24 button mushroom caps, wiped clean
fried croutons 6 fried eggs
On a chopping board, season the chicken pieces with the salt and pepper.
In a large frying-pan heat the olive oil over moderate heat. Add the chicken pieces and brown them for 5 to 7 minutes
on each side. When the chicken is deep golden on all sides, reduce the heat to low and add the garlic. Cover the pan and continue to cook the chicken for about 45 minutes, or until it is tender, turning the pieces at least once during the cooking period. Transfer the chicken pieces to a warm serving dish, cover with aluminium foil and keep warm.
Pour off as much oil as possible from the pan, leaving about
3 tablespoons of the sediment. Add the chopped tomatoes and tomato puree to the pan. Stir well and add the brandy. Cook the mixture over very low heat for 2 to 3 minutes, until the ingredients are thoroughly blended and the mixture has
reduced. Pour the sauce over the chicken pieces.
In a small saucepan, melt the butter over moderate heat. When the foam sub-sides add the mushroom caps and saute them for
4 to 5 minutes, shaking the pan from time to time. Add the mushrooms to the chicken and sauce as a garnish, and serve
surrounded by fried croutons and fried eggs.