You know, there are always “stories” surrounding food. With this dish, rumor has it that Napoleon Bonaparte’s chef made this dish for him after the battle of Marengo. I don’t necessarily know if this story is true, because I’ve always thought of this as a Spanish dish. What I do know that this is utterly delicious. What makes it utterly delicious are the many layers of flavor.
Most of the Chicken Marengo recipes out there call for boneless breast of chicken. Again, I prefer boneless, skinless chicken thighs simply because the meat is so moist. However, you will see that I have given you the option when you get to the recipe portion of this post.
I have served this over white rice, and over noodles. However, I recommend you try it over Israeli Couscous. Aside from salting the couscous, there isn’t any flavor you really need to add to it. There is plenty of flavor in the Chicken Marengo itself.
6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs or 3 large boneless chicken breasts, cut into cubes
2 14.5 oz cans of diced tomatoes, drained (I love to use the Del Monte with mild chilis in this dish)
1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup dry white wine
3 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp butter
1 medium Vidalia onion, peeled and sliced
1/2 large red pepper, seeds removed and cut in strips
1 cup Portobello mushrooms, stems removed and cut in strips
1 cup frozen petite peas
3 cloves garlic, crushed
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp Kosher or sea salt
1 tsp fresh-ground black pepper
1/4 cup fresh thyme, removed from stems
2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
2 tbsp capers
Put the olive oil in a deep skillet and add the onion and red pepper strips, cooking until the onions are just translucent. Then add the chicken. If you’re using thighs, put them in whole. These will be easy to break up in to pieces a bit later in the cooking process. If using chicken breast, make sure you have cut them into bite-sized pieces. Cook the chicken on until slightly browned.
Once the chicken has browned, add the diced tomatoes, chicken stock, wine, salt and pepper, garlic, thyme, and bay leaf. Cover the skillet and cook over medium heat for about 45 minutes.
While this is cooking, put the butter, lemon and mushrooms in a smaller skillet, and sauté the mushrooms until just tender. Remove from the heat and set aside. You can also measure out the frozen petite peas and set them aside.
After about 45 minutes, break up the chicken thighs. Add the mushrooms, peas, cilantro and capers. Give it a stir. Cook for about another 12-15 minutes, or until the peas are just tender.
Remove the bay leaf, and serve over Israeli couscous (my preference), rice or wide noodles.