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Even though Napoleon was generally considered in association with the music by Beethoven, in reality, just few know that, since his youth in 1780s/1790s, he was a great fan of the Italian composer Paisiello, who, in the end, served also as official composer for Napoleon himself!

Enjoy these original Mozartian recipes!

The English modern version of these recipes is an exclusive property of MozartCircle.
Pheasant & Mozart
Chicken Marengo, the lucky charm of Napoleon!
Napoleon's Favourite Dish
1. Chicken Marengo (1800?)
A dish which became a myth, the favourite dish of Napoleon during his war campaigns: its origins are still obscure and the original 1800 recipe probably lost forever!
Chicken vs. Chicken (Marengo vs. Nelson)

Chicken Marengo officially received its name after the Battle of Marengo (South of Turin, Italy, June 1800) and was created by Napoleon's chef after the Battle of Marengo with those ingredients he had at the moment. Then the dish became Napoleon's favourite one and he wanted it after every battle (and exactly with the same ingredients) as a sign of good luck.

Here one of the common modern versions. On the other column you find the alternate versions from recipes written in the 19th century.

chicken (1: 1kg. ca. cut into 6 pieces)
olive oil (1 glass)
pepper (crushed)
tomatoes (400gr. or passata type Mutti)
garlic (1 clove)
white wine (2 glasses)
mushrooms (200gr. Portobello mushrooms cut into slices)
parsley (finely minced)
lemon (juice)
bread (6 big slices toasted and fried in butter as croutons)
eggs (6 fried)
crayfish (6)
light veal stock


1. Cut the chicken into 6 big pieces, without breaking the bones. Put the chicken pieces into a bowl with flour. When the pieces of chicken are well covered in flour, put them in a hot pan with oil and garlic. Let them cook well until golden-brown.

2. When the chicken pieces are well ready, add 400gr. of passata of tomatoes (type Mutti). Adjust salt and pepper. Add some light veal stock. Then add 1 glass of white wine. Let it cook another 10 minutes.

3. Now add the 200gr. of mushrooms cut into slices and let it cook another 15 minutes.

4. In the meanwhile, put the 6 crayfish, 1 glass of wine and some salt into a another pan. Let it boil. After 5 minutes remove the 6 crayfish and keep them warm.

5. Fry the 6 slices of bread for the croutons and fry the 6 eggs with oil, without breaking the yolks.

6. When the chicken with tomatoes and mushrooms is ready add the lemon juice and the parsley. Stir the chicken and its sauce and adjust salt and pepper.

7. Now you can serve in this way: prepare 6 plates, each with 1 piece of chicken with its sauce, 1 crayfish, 1 bread crouton with 1 whole fried egg positioned upon the bread crouton. 


Thanks to the accounts left by his valet (Wairy) and his private secretary (Fauvelet de Bourienne), we know for sure that Napoleon's favourite dish was actually a type of dish of chicken, already called, in 1800-1801, "Chicken Marengo" (and that Napoleon's favourite drinks were the Bordeaux Claret and the Burgundy Chambertin). Unfortunately it is not possible to understand how the original recipe was, since, according to Fauvelet, Napoleon's favourite dish was de facto the "Chicken à la Provençale" with onions and olive oil, then called "Marengo" just in honour of Napoleon (but there are not onions in the traditional Chicken Marengo recipe).

Also the first written recipes linked to "Chicken Marengo" are not of much help. 

The Archambault version is the most similar one (1825): it has chicken with a bouquet garni, mushrooms, fried eggs and croutons, but it has an Italian sauce (mushrooms, shallots, flour, white wine, light veal stock) instead of tomatoes sauce and no crayfish. 

ARTUSI VERSION No. 268 (1891)
Despite the anecdotes on Napoleon and the invention of this dish at Marengo in 1800, this version of the "Marengo Chicken" has no tomatoes, no eggs, no crayfish and it is, curiously, much more similar to the "chicken filets à la Nelson" than to the "Chicken Marengo".

In the end, "Chicken Marengo" is similar to some recipes typical of the kitchens of the Castles of the Loire Valley in France, but it's difficult to say which recipes came first, the Marengo one or the Loire Valley ones.