Although the went was auspicious, there was little planning involved. It was basically a recipe his chef made up on the spot — something that could be conjured quickly using ingredients on hand, including chicken, tomatoes and garlic.
The version shown in the retro recipe below was created by the Campbell’s soup company back in 1967. They recreated the dish with a few things not on hand a couple of centuries ago — namely, two flavors of canned soup.
The original French Chicken Marengo recipe was created for the victorious Napoleon
Text from The Times (Shreveport, Louisiana) September 7, 1967
When an emperor sits down to dine, he likes chicken just as much as the rest of us. Chicken Marengo, one of the great French classics, was invented on the battlefield at Marengo for Napoleon by his master chef, Dunand. A dish to honor an occasion.
When the Austrians finally retreated on that historic day, Napoleon, who had eaten nothing before that battle, asked his chef to prepare a victory celebration feast.
The chef at once dispatched his staff in search of provisions, for food was in short supply throughout the war-torn Italian countryside. All that could be found were a chicken, tomatoes, and garlic. Dunand made the dish now famous as Chicken Marengo.
Bonaparte, having feasted upon it, said to Dunand, “You must feed me like this after every battle.”
You don’t have to go into battle to enjoy Chicken Marengo — or any chicken dish for that matter. Chicken and tomatoes are an irresistible combination, and the garlic and spices add even more flair.
The dish is simple enough to make just for the family dinner, too. With the Chicken Marengo, you need only French bread and a crisp salad.
Keep the bread handy at dessert time to serve with cheese, accompanied by fresh fruit, and you will have a splendid meal in the French tradition.
The inspiration: Campbell’s easy Chicken Marengo recipe from 1967
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