Beef Marengo

Veal Marengo was one of our French Fridays with Dorie assignments not too long ago and skimming over the recipe, it looked really involved and I was too busy packing so I put it off. Big mistake. It is easily one of our favorite French Fridays dishes that we have made so far – although we used beef rather than veal, which would probably have come out a bit more tender. But it was still really great!

This dish was created in the aftermath of the Battle of Marengo on June 14, 1800 for the ravishing, soon-to-be First Consul, Napoleon Bonaparte, by his personal chef right on the battlefield! This battle was said to be one of the most iconic and important battles during the Napoleonic Wars and was an important event for both France and Austria. Napoleon’s chef is rumored to have collected ingredients he had on hand and what was left in the surrounding area and created this wonderful dish! Years later there are several variations, and this is Dorie’s rendition, taken from the Le Cordon Bleu of Paris.

I made Chicken Marengo a few years ago, something that we pull out from time to time and it is really delicious! After a bit of reading about Napoleon and the Battle of Marengo, I found that the chicken recipe was supposedly the most accurate – who really knows for sure, but this recipe includes chicken, shrimp, a fried egg AND cognac.

While I thoroughly enjoyed Dorie’s rendition of Any-Meat-Marengo, a swig of cognac could be the only improvement that I can think of. I really enjoy the flavor that cognac imparts to the sauce with the slow braising and since her recipe left it out, so we served our Marengo with cognac to compensate. The perfect meal!

The technique of cooking the onions and mushrooms on the side and stirring it in just after braising is something I’ll be doing again, soon – as well as the method of boiling the potatoes and roasting them in butter and dusting it all with parsley! This dish was quite a hit and we will surely be making it again, very, very soon!

The recipe can be found here, by clicking this link! As always, this post participates in French Fridays with Dorie, a group of Doristas – as we call ourselves, who are cooking through Dorie Greenspan’s “Around My French Table.” We are tantalizingly close to completing our goal, however should you want the recipes for any of the posts that follow this group or to join in on the final weeks, grab a copy of “Around My French Table,” check out our cooking schedule and join in the fun!

For more information on the Battle of Marengo, click here! 

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