Poulet a la Marengo

Poulet a la Marengo

Ever since my stock escapades I looked for a recipe that could utilize the delicious stock yet fit my wheat-free, dairy-free issues. Not so easy with Beeton. Poulet a la Marengo doesn’t quite fit that bill but I decided to take a page from SJ’s arrowroot bechamel and substitute that for flour in this recipe. Since I just got home from work and still had to go to the store and get the ingredients and cook, the easiness of this recipe was very reassuring.

949. Ingredients – 1 large fowl, 4 tablespoons of salad oil, tablespoon of flour, 1 pint of stock No. 105, or water, about 20 mushrooms – buttons, salt and pepper to taste, 1 teaspoonful of powdered sugar, a very small piece of garlic.

I was determined to follow the recipe as close as possible this time out and ran into a snag pretty much, well, right off the bat.

Mode – cut the fowl into 8 or 10 pieces; put them with the oil into the stewpan, and brown them over a moderate fire; dredge in the above proportion of flour; when that is browned, pour in the stock or water; let it simmer very slowly for rather more than 1/2 hour, and skim off the fat as it rises to the top; add the mushrooms; season with salt, pepper, garlic, and sugar; take out the fowl, which arrange pyramidically on the dish, with the inferior joints at the bottom. Reduce the sauce by boiling it quickly over the fire, keeping it stirred until sufficiently thick to adhere to the back of the spoon; pour over the fowl, and serve.

Clearly, I can cut a chicken in pieces. Not pretty ones, mind you. Brown the meat, easy peasy. Now, dredge. Um, dredge the browned meat? Why not dredge it ahead of time? But, ok.

I love the way the arrowroot powder puffed everywhere. It was a pain to clean up later but the picture is cool.

After dredging about half the pieces it finally occurred to me that perhaps you were supposed to put the flour in the pan and let the fat and flour make a roux. Then the next thing – add mushrooms, sugar, salt and pepper. Raw mushrooms, uncut, straight into a dish with the stock? I feel like this was just a lack of proper directions. So, I had the browned chicken sitting to the side and I put the (sliced) mushrooms in the pan and dumped in whatever arrowroot powder was left into the stock pot and allowed the mushrooms and the “flour” to catch all the yummy browned bits on the bottom. THEN I added the stock.

After that is was easy to add the seasonings and the chicken and put a lid on it and let it simmer on low for 30 minutes. After that was done I arranged the chicken and reduced the sauce, and served it over the chicken.

The sauce was amazing, from already silky stock the arrowroot powder added another luxurious mouth feel and the mushrooms added so much in terms of flavor. It was like the fancy version of my whitetrash family’s recipe of chicken with cream of mushroom soup over rice-a-roni. I wanted to spoon that liquid up and eat it right in the kitchen.

However, the dredged flour on the skin that was then boiled made for a gelatinous covering. Not very nice. Who needs skin on a simmered piece of meat, anyway?

Here’s what I am doing the next time I make this, and boy howdy, am I making it soon. I would take off the skin and use it to render some fat for use in browning the chicken. (Yum! Cracklins for an appetizer!) Then skip the whole dredging idea, put the browned chicken to the side, and put the flour in the bottom of the pan, then add the mushrooms. When they have given off some nice moisture add a little bit of white wine to the pan and scrape up all the brown bits then add the stock, chicken and spices. Last, I am definitely going to add some green herb to the sauce when it is reducing, probably tarragon because it is my favorite and a squeeze of lemon to make it a little zippier.

All in all, I feel like this is my first pure success and it yielded a luscious meal. Since my husband is out of town for work this week I have plenty of leftovers.

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