No, it is not a dance step! Tonight we continued on our mission to shadow Gabriel Gaté and the Taste le Tour crew and turned our hand to Chicken Marengo with olives (poulet Marengo aux olives). History has it that this dish was actually created for Napoléon Bonaparte in celebration of his victory in the Battle of Marengo which sealed the success of Napoléon’s Italian campaign in 1800.
Although it sounds like something out of a Patrick Swayze movie, Chicken Marengo is a simple and tasty chicken dish that the whole family should love (if you don’t count the olives which aren’t high on my preschoolers list of favourite foods!). Next time you feel like making your usual chicken dish, have a go at this one instead. It really reminded me that sometimes it’s the simple flavours that work so well…
- 80 ml (⅓ cup) olive oil
- 8 chicken pieces on the bone, with the skin
- 3 tbsp finely chopped shallots
- 1 tbsp finely cut lemon thyme
- 4 thin pieces of orange skin
- 100 ml (3½ fl oz) dry white wine
- 2 cups peeled, diced tomatoes
- 30 small olives
- freshly ground pepper
- 20 broad beans, shelled, blanched and skin removed
- 2 tbsp chopped parsley
Preheat the oven to 160 degrees celcius and get out the knives again, it’s chopping time. Chop up the shallot and the fresh tomato and strip the leaves off the lemon thyme before giving them a chop as well. Then using a sharp knife or peeler, peel 4 thin strips of rind from an orange, being careful not to get too much pith with the rind (it tastes bitter!)
Heat some oil in a large skillet and throw in the chicken pieces, skin side down, to brown and crisp up. You only need to partially cook them at this stage. When the skin is golden remove chicken from the pan and place in a baking tray. Put this in the oven to 10-15 minutes to finish cooking though.
Remove some of the excess oil and fat from the skillet and add the shallot, orange strips and lemon thyme. Fry these off for a minute or two to soften and release the flavours, then add your white wine. Let it bubble up and then throw in the tomatoes. Give the whole thing a stir to combine, turn the heat down and leave to simmer gently for 10-15 minutes.
Check your chicken is cooked and remove it from the oven. Place the browned and cooked chicken pieces into the skillet with the thickened sauce and add in the olives. Shimmy it around a bit to make sure chicken is all coated and olives are in the sauce. Over low heat, gently warm the sauce through for a few minutes to heat the olives and chicken.
At this point you can throw your beans in some boiling water for a moment or two to cook through (I used round beans as broad beans were a bit hard to find).
And with that, you are done! How easy was that?