Chicken Alla Marengo

From the story Flavor Most Fowl by Mark Middlebrook

Based on the recipe Pollo alla Marengo in Armando Gambera’s La cucina delle Langhe del Barolo: I menù della memoria, published in 2000 by the Cantina Comunale di La Morra.) Armando doesn’t give exact quantities for most ingredients. I’ve added the quantities that I used in [brackets] in the body of the recipe, but feel free to adjust.

[This recipe also works well for two people if you use one or two chicken thighs per person-or you other favorite parts-and cut the other quantities roughly in half. You end up with more sauce, which you can pour over potatoes or scoop up with bread.]

For 4 people:
A free-range or barnyard chicken
Some chicken or meat stock
Some white wine
Extra-virgin olive oil and butter
One or two tablespoons flour
Juice of one lemon
A few cloves of garlic
Salt, pepper, and nutmeg

Preparation time:
Half hour.

Cooking time:
50-60 minutes.

Other required items:
A sauté pan with lid and a sieve.

Cut the chicken into eight pieces and brown them in a pan with olive oil [3 tablespoons], butter [1 tablespoon], and a few garlic cloves [3 minced]. Let the meat sauté over fairly high heat. Add salt [2 teaspoons], pepper [1 teaspoon], and a dusting of nutmeg [3/4 teaspoon]. When the chicken pieces have reached a golden-brown color, bathe them well in dry white wine [1-1/4 cups] and continue cooking until the wine has evaporated. Lower the flame and add the stock (around two or three cups). Cover the pan and let everything cook slowly for several minutes. Then increase the flame, remove the cover, and continue cooking until the meat is done. If necessary, add more stock during the cooking. At the end, the liquid should be reduced to a good consistency.

Remove the chicken pieces from the pan. [I cook the sauce down a little more after removing the chicken.] Add the lemon juice and flour to the sauce in the pan, and then strain it through a sieve. Dress the chicken with the sauce and serve it hot.