It is the 14th of June. We are in Marengo, Italy. A man named Dunand, a chef, is having a tough day. He’s been trusted with the task of cooking something good for his boss but on this day all the supplies are far away and he has to improvise. A Frenchman, used to cooking everything with butter, Dunand turns to olive oil on this fateful day. He knows his foundation will be the readily available chicken, but cooked how? His scouts turn up with various ingredients, some tomatoes, eggs, crayfish. What a mess. He finds the best possible way to cook with those ingredients, puts them on a plate and voilà, presents the dish to his master. His boss is Napoléon Bonaparte who, luckily for Dunand, happens to be in a good mood that particular evening. He has just defeated the Austrians in the battle of Marengo. Napoléon absolutely loves the chicken, he’s not a big gourmand but this he likes. The chicken Marengo is born. In fact Napoléon likes it so much (or is so superstitious) that he insists on having this dish after every battle thereafter, crayfish, eggs and all. Dunand later tries to swap the crayfish for mushrooms, and adds a slug of wine. Bonaparte won’t hear of it. All he wants is the original version – for good luck and (hopefully) also for the taste.
A young and ambitious man, Jean Véfour, who had been the personal chef to Louis-Philippe the future king of France, buys a tavern in the Palais Royal, names it after himself (as ambitious men tend to do) and turns what really was a mere pub into the finest restaurant in Paris (centuries later, when I have my wedding lunch there it’s still one of the finest places around). For the next hundred years his guests are the cream of Parisian society, politicians & artists including Colette and Victor Hugo. What do they eat? But of course, chicken Marengo, this time with truffles. It’s the chicest dish in Paris, and everybody who is anybody has to have it all the time. “What did you have last night?, roast chicken, how banal – we had the Chicken Marengo” – sounds so fancy, tastes so divine. The Grand Véfour achieves legendary status and chicken Marengo gradually appears on menus of practically every restaurant in France. There are different versions, some with olives, others without crayfish but with mushrooms instead (as Dunand intended). The Grand Véfour gives birth to countless other restaurants, the chicken Marengo breeds endless imitations. It is yet another triumph for local and seasonal cooking, take what you have and make the best of it.
I wake up one Friday morning in a Bonaparte state of mind. I guess I am feeling victorious and confident or simply hoping for a bit of good luck. All I know is that I want chicken Marengo on my table. I send my scouts (Hudson, Oddur & Mia) to source the best possible produce and they don’t let me down. For the chicken they take the long journey to the Vertessec farm where chicken tastes like heaven, how can I describe it – it’s chicken but better . Going there is such pleasure, the quality, the service, the lovely little store filled with every poultry product imaginable. It’s one of those things that’s hard to describe in writing without it sounding like an ad filled with overblown adjectives. Let’s just put it this way, every time we have their chicken I look at my husband and say “We can never have any other chicken, ever!” Then of course we sometimes do, but the Vertessec chicken haunts our palates and every other chicken compares unfavorably. French food is good because of the produce and the produce is what it is because of artisans like the Petit’s of Vertessec who have made it their life’s mission to simply breed the finest poultry.
After the visit to Vertessec my scouts visit the Saturday market. They get the tomatoes I requested, the mushrooms, there are no crayfish but as we had discussed they get “langoustines” instead. The surprise of the day is that Pierre Aubert, an organic farmer par excellence who grows the most beautiful vegetables in all of Médoc, happens to have some fresh artichokes from the mini-harvest in this “early spring” (yes I know it’s still winter). What can a modern day Dunand do with fresh, green, tight artichokes? Well, I think of the Grand Véfour and am reminded of another master, Guy Martin, who makes an artichoke crème brûlée. His has sugar on it, but mine needs to be savory as I already have plans for dessert. Inspired by Italy and Marengo I stay with the theme and subsitute the sugar for parmesan cheese, equally crunchy but with a totally different effect. I am pleasantly surprised, it turns out so smooth and tasty. For dessert I make use of some very large pears that have been challenging me for a few days on my kitchen table. Their days are numbered, they are sentenced to be included in an almond and pear clafoutis. At the last-minute two of them are pardoned, my husband needs them for a photo. (It is a short-lived escape, both of them end up in Mia’s mouth. It’s a Chinese superstition never to share a pear, Mia makes the most of it and uses it as an excuse to have them all by herself – technically this only applies to sharing one pear but it seems that the laws of superstition are flexible).
What else do you need to have a grand meal in Médoc, we have Pierre’s artichokes, the Vertessec chicken and somewhere in our cupboards are the Napoléonic knifes that need polishing after every use and a beautiful carafe from the same period. These are little gems I’ve found at Anne’s brocante in Saint Christoly and they bring a sense of history to the meal. In the absence of my mother in law who is the real historian in the family, and knows the truth about every fountain in Paris, my husband enlightens the kids about Napoléon & Joséphine, his conquests and exile. Hudson’s favorite part is when his father stands on a chair and say “Soldiers of the 5th regiment don’t you recognize your emperor, kill me if you like”. My French education tells me that some of the stories are made up and they’re all the better for it.
On Sunday morning I find out that my scouts have gone behind my back and kept a secret from me. In addition to the chicken at Vertessec they bought some very tasty chicken sausages and hid them in the fridge where we keep the dog meat (I never go there). With some fanfare I am presented with a surprising and beautiful breakfast, farm eggs, the fried sausages, white bread (my guilty pleasure), a few fried spicy confit tomatoes and my favorite tea, the French breakfast tea from Mariage Frères with a hint of malt and chocolate. A breakfast fit for an emperor.
Artichoke Crème Brûlée
The artichoke crème brûlée is a dessert served at le Grand Véfour, mastered by chef Guy Martin. I made my own savoury version, and sprinkled grated parmesan. Simply delicous, and so easy to make! If you can’t find fresh artichokes, you can buy frozen artichoke hearts.
Preheat the oven to 130°C/ 265 F
4 egg yolks
200 ml/ ¾ cup +1 tablespoon heavy cream
2 artichoke hearts
60 g/ 2/3 cup parmesan cheese
½ teaspoon nutmeg
Salt & black pepper
Cook the artichokes in salted boiling water for 25-30 minutes. Pluck the leaves and discard the fuzzy choke. Slice the artichoke hearts and purée them in a food processor.
In a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the cream and gradually add the artichoke purée, nutmeg, salt and ground black pepper.
Pour mixture into 4 ramekins and bake in a preheated oven 140°C/ 280 F and cook for 25 minutes, or until the cream has set (yet slightly trembling). Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and place the crème brûlées under the grill for a couple of minutes, or until golden brown. Alternatively, you can also use a torch to grill the cheese. Serve immediately.
Chicken Marengo with langoustines
serves 4 to 6
Traditionally this dish is cooked with crayfish, but I used langoustines instead. I love the deep flavours created by the combination of tomatoes, chicken, wine, the langoustines and cognac. If you do not wish to use crayfish or langoustines, you can simply cook this dish with mushrooms – just double the amount of mushrooms.
For the chicken
1 chicken, cut into 6 to 8 pieces (I cooked ‘La dorée’ chicken from Vertessec farm)
2 tablespoons plain flour
2 shallots, finely chopped
1 carrot, sliced
1 bouquet garni
6 garlic cloves, finely chopped (save one for the langoustines)
2 x (8 ounces) cans tinned tomatoes, chopped and drained
2 tablespoons tomato concentrate
60 ml/ ¼ cup chicken stock
200 ml/ ¾ cup +1 tablespoon dry white wine
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, for frying
Salt & freshly ground black pepper
For the langoustines
10 fresh langoustines, uncooked
80 ml/ 1/3 cup cognac
200 g/ ½ pound mushrooms (champignons de Paris), sliced
A bunch of fresh parsley, leaves picked and chopped, to garnish
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, for frying
Salt & freshly ground black pepper
Season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper and gently coat with flour. Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a sauté pan and brown the chicken in a large cocotte/ dutch oven with olive oil on all sides until golden. Discard excess oil and add the shallots, garlic and carrots – cook for 4 minutes on a medium heat. Add the bouquet garni, season with salt and pepper, and add the white wine. Reduce for 2 minutes. Add the chicken stock and continue to cook for 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes and tomato concentrate, continue to cook for 3 minutes, then lower heat and cover with a lid. Season with salt & pepper. Leave to simmer for 35 minutes to 45 minutes, depending on size of chicken (larger pieces take more time to cook).
Meanwhile, in a large sauté pan, heat 2 tablespoon of olive oil and sauté the langoustines with 1 clove of finely chopped garlic. Season with salt and pepper and add the cognac. Reduce for a minutes and continue to cook until langoustines are opaque and cooked through. Take off the heat and set aside on a plate with all its juices. Keep warm. In the same pan, sauté the mushrooms with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Season with salt & pepper. Set aside.
Add the langoustines and mushrooms and all its juices into the pot and mix the ingredients gently. Continue to cook on a low heat for 15 to 20 minutes. Sprinkle with chopped parsley just before serving.
Serve with roast potatoes with red pepper or wild rice.
Roast potatoes with garlic and red pepper
1 kg/ 2 ¼ pounds potatoes/ peeled
2 red peppers, deseeded & sliced
2 garlic cloves, unpeeled
Parboil the peeled potatoes in boiling salted water for 15 minutes. Slice them into rondelles and place on a roasting dish. Add the sliced red pepper and the garlic cloves (unpeeled). Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with coarse sea-salt.
Transfer dish to a preheated oven 210°C/410F and cook for 30 minutes or until potatoes are golden.
Almond and Pear Clafoutis
I am a little obssessed with almonds. I have them for breakfast everyday, drink a glass of warm almond milk every night and these days, I just add almonds to everything! This clafoutis is light and heavenly, my family loves this dessert, especially with some Chantilly cream on the side. If you do not wish to use almond milk, simply use regular milk.
2 small pears, sliced
75 g/ 6 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon honey
60 g/ 1/2 cup plain flour
40 g/ ¼ cup slivered almonds + a 1 tablespoon of slivered almonds (to garnish the clafoutis)
200 ml/ ¾ cup + 1 tablespoon almond milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon brown sugar
Preheat the oven to 180°C/ 350 F
Mix the sugar and eggs. Add the flour, and gradually pour the almond milk. Mix gently, then add the honey and vanilla extract.
Butter a cake mould 23 cm/ 9 inches and sprinkle with flour.
Pour half of the batter, place the pears, and sprinkle with 40 g/ ¼ cup slivered almonds. Pour the rest of the batter on top, dot with the butter, sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of slivered almonds and 1 tablespoon of brown sugar.
Place in the preheated oven and bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until risen and golden brown. Leave to cool for 20 minutes and serve lukewarm (or cold) with a dollop of whipped cream.
167 thoughts on “Napoléon’s chicken”
Mmmmm Almond and Pear Clafoutis! I will have to try this!
Oh yes! I hope you will enjoy it – it’s delicate and lovely! Happy Monday, Mimi x
What a beautiful post. Your blog is like reading a story book….or maybe even a fairytale! I so easily get caught up in the tales that I am always inspired by everything you and Oddur share with all of us, your readers.
And this post in particular I must save to try out the recipes soon… simply lovely Mimi. xoxo Debra
Merci Debra! It was a funny twist to add a diary-like story on chicken Marengo. Thank YOU for inspiring us to share! Happy Monday, Mimi x
moi, c’est le poulet qui me donne envie ! j’ai fait des navettes ce week-end, un délice….. Cette semaine je tente le clafoutis ! merci pour vos idées et vos délicieuses recettes !!!
Merci à vous Alexandra! Heureuse de savoir que les navettes vous ont plu! Nous avons savouré ce poulet Marengo ce week-end – j’ai improvisé avec des langoustines car il n’y avait plus d’écrevisses chez mon poissonnier. Un vrai délice, et simple à faire. A mon avis, c’est le cognac qui change tout 🙂 Bonne semaine et bon clafoutis! Mimi x
Once again Mimi, you entice us with your wonderful stories and Oddur with his beautiful photos before alluring us with your delicious recipes.
This will be another one that I add to my collection and look forward to cooking for my family. Thank you.
Merci Rebecca! Chicken Marengo was a huge hit on our dining table this week-end – literaly a finger-licking good recipe! Enjoy! Mimi x
Such an inspirational post! I’m intrigued by your stories about the Vertessec chicken, here in Germany it’s harder to find independent poultry farms but I’ll keep looking!
Thank you Carly! I hope you’ll find a good poultry farm – it makes all the difference. Vertessec farm is superb, the quality of their work is absolutely outstanding. It’s about a 40 minutes drive from our house, but well worth it! Happy Monday! Mimi x
I really wonder what they feed their chickens – that surely has a lot to do with the resulting flavor..gorgeous, creative post – you are a cooking and writing savant!
Bonsoir! At Vertessec, they feed the finest grains, all organic, a secret mix created by Mr. Petit. I have never met such a dedicated farmer – his mission is a great one! Best, Mimi x
Fantastic, amusing, superb posting, you both! This I must try! Stunning photography, wonderful and inspiring writing. Thank you. Have a nice week over there… Yushka
Merci Yushka! Thank you for being ever-so kind! Enjoy the week – Mimi x
This dinner is divine. I can almost taste the creme brulee and the clafoutis. Your photos are gorgeous. Thank you for inspirirng my day to perfection.
Oh merci Mary! I hope this post will inspire you to try out some of the recipes – the artichoke crème brûlée was divine, and extremely easy to make! Happy cooking! Mimi x
Viva Napoleon! i have never tried an artichoke brulee but it seems perfect for a dinner party. Lovely pics of your scouts as well Mimi – hope you are doing well! xx
Thank you! Yes, I agree, the artichoke crème brûlées are a perfect started or even apéritifs for a dinner party – it’s quite original and very inviting! All well here – merci 🙂 Wishing you a lovely week, Mimi x
Your photos are exquisite and I’m so impressed with how you find the time to type up these beautiful stories and recipes when I imagine life must be so busy for you. Thanks again!
Thanks Sheila! I am lucky to have a photographer husband who’s inspired! I am always scribbling down notes (I have been collecting notebooks since I was a child), so whenever I cook, I write the recipes and littles stories as the pots and pans are left simmering 🙂 Happy monday! Mimi x
Bonjour Mimi! J’ai découvre grâce à vous des nouvelles recettes et un “leçon” d’histoire! J’adore la présentation et les plats! J’aimerais faire le clafoutis. Vous pensez que je pourrais changé les poires pour des pommes?
La recette de Napoléon, je la laisse pour mon mari, c’est dans ces cordes!
Le petit chien es adorable!! 😉
Bon semaine, Eva
Coucou Eva! Encore une fois, quelle chance d’avoir un mari chef-cuisinier 🙂 Cette recette de poulet Marengo est vraiment délicieuse – j’ai improvisé les ingrédients à ma façon, langoustines au lieu des écrevisses…Et le cognac est un must 🙂 Napoléon dégustait ce plat avec des oeufs au plat, peut-être un peu trop pour moi! Et oui, bien sûr, des pommes au lieu des poires pour le clafoutis – c’est aussi bon! Bonne semaine, Mimi x
Wow! I have learnt so much in just reading your beautiful blog post! I love how you tied everything up at the end- and what a fine empress you are too! Such inspiration. I have never come across a savoury Creme Brûlée before and I too have pears that need to be used up on my mind! Wishing you a wonderful week Mimi. I so look forward to your posts. Hope you’re keeping well and the rain stops soon for all of us (I’m in London!) x ps I made your chicken broth the other week and it was divine. Thank you!
Bonjour Mary! thank you for all your kind words! I was just posting the artichoke crème brûlées on my instagram feed, saying how it was one of my all-time favorite recipes! It is incredibly easy to make, so exquisite in taste 🙂 I hope you will enjoy it too! I love old-fashioned meals, inspired by the past. Happy week! Mimi x
Chicken Marengo has always been one of my favorite company dishes. Your version has inspired me. I also love your pear clafoutis with the generous scattering of almonds. Visiting your blog is always pure pleasure. Thank you Mimi.
Merci Penny! I am delighted to hear this 🙂 Enjoy the recipes – we did! Happy Monday! Mimix
A breakfast fit for an empress. Being you the lady of the house, I guess it’s only fair 🙂
I’m enchanted with today’s recipes, all of them. Perfect for the stormy weather that Stephanie brought to our coastline: huge waves, gusting wind, pouring rain. Yesterday we stayed home for the entire day but since I had sent my scout shopping the day before, we had our pantry and fridge well stocked. So I decided to cook a small feast for two: guacamole, canary bean paté, brioche, rosemary, cherry-tomato and olive focaccia and to finish a moist crackly banana bread and the best-ever apple crumble. Of all the things, Marco said the crumble was the best and he’s not very fond of desserts 🙂
Have a great week :*
Oh la la Maria – your menu sounds so delicious! So hearty & delicious! Wishing you a happy week! Mimi x
That is such a wonderful post! I love how you told the history behind the dish 🙂 Thank you!
Thank you Ann – I just love this historical dishes, revamped and improvised to my liking 🙂 I hope you will enjoy the recipes! Mimix
Bonjour Mimi! I love the sound of the chicken Marengo & know just what you mean about the taste of really well bred poultry as we have sometimes eaten our own corn fed, free range chickens. The taste is unbelievable.
I also have a thing about almonds so will definitely try your recipe.
Have a wonderful week, Pipany
Ah oui, good quality produce makes all the difference! I hope you will enjoy the almond clafoutis – being pregnant I love almonds more than ever! (I am in love with Weleda’s almond range of skincare – have you tried?) One of my favourite morning recipes is an almond smoothie – 1 glass of almond milk, 1 banana, a handful of almonds and a teaspoon of green matcha tea powder 🙂 Happy monday! Mimix
This blog post is soooo refreshing to read on a rainy Monday! Chicken Marengo sounds absolutely divine and I’d really like to have a taste of Vertessec chicken. Have a lovely Monday!
thank you Marija! Happy Monday to you too! Mimi x
Love ‘the Napoleon state of mind’: -)
I had so much pleasure reading this post on Monday morning! It cheered me up, given the icy-cold day today: -)
Have a great week.
We all need a bit of cheerful heart-warming food these days! Bad weather go away! Bonne semaine, Mimi x
Oh Mimi. How is it possible that I “smell” your words?? Your posts allow me to escape to another world. A world where things are ancient, yet current. Complex, yet simple. A world where family and friends are the most important thing and can make even a simple meal an experience to be remembered. It is magical and yet mundane. Oh Mimi, I love your world. Thank you for sharing.
Oh thank you so much Sandy, I am so touched by your kind words! I love the idea of ‘smelling’ the words! Have a lovely week, Mimi x
Absolutely adored your stories. Especially the (centuries later…your wedding luncheon). As aside that is quite remarkable. Beautiful photos and delicious recipes as always! Thanks again!
Merci Gail! You are too kind! Happy monday, Mimix
Mimi- what a lovely introduction with the story about this unusual meal. It gives me good reason to make for a special occasion! I also love historical meals, learning about how people enjoyed eating long ago.
I thought it was fun that you had your clever “scouts” finding all the special ingredients for you.
The almond pear dessert looks healthy and delicious.
Thank you Sarah! The good thing about having a big family, I can designate perfect candidates to go grocery shopping for me when I can’t! My little army knows me so well, and I love how they come home proud with all the local produce and news from the market! My kids enjoy the markets on Saturday – there’s a little ‘Loto’ at the vegetable stand where you pick a number in a bag – and you get to win all sorts of vegetables! This time Hudson won a huge slice of pumpkin 🙂 Happy Monday! Mimi x
The vegetable stand loto sounds so charming! I hope you do a post on that sometime!
I am recreating this menu and serving it to family this weekend. As always, I read your posts and I’m hungry….yummy! Thank you for sharing.
Thank you Melissa! I am so happy to hear this! I’ll be thinking of you this week-end! Bonne semaine, Mimi x
The clafoutis looks so delicious! I have to make it. We are due to have snow this week and will most likely be home bound. I’m gathering ingredients to try out some new desserts, and this will be one of them!
That sounds like a good plan Rebecca! Enjoy the recipes! Mimi x
Not a prettier place online:)
Always a pleasure to come see all the beauty..beauties:)
Merci Monique – so happy to hear this! You are too kind! Mimi x
I read your wonderful post early this Monday morning when I was still sleepy – what a great way to start the day ! It was so much fun I came back and read it a second time. With all your charming stories and Oddur’s photos I must tell you that last photo of your precious puppy had me giggling away – that’s the best ! You brought back memories of some of the best tasting chicken dinners we enjoyed in France – when the poultry is raised for flavor and texture rather than mass production, my goodness, what a difference to your cooking efforts. Can’t believe I’ve never tried making Chicken Marengo – thanks for your recipe. Oh, and I love almond milk in your pear clafouti – perfect !
Thank you Linny – I hope you will enjoy these recipes – I certainly did! I have so many more recipes to share with almond milk – it’s one of my favourite ingredients these days! Wishing you a lovely week, Mimix
Dear Mimi, what a lovely, , delightful post. Culinary history is a new favourite spice of mine, and I do feel we ( ie, I) use should use it more often! Merci beaucoup, also for those marvellous purple tinted photos….
Merci Sabine – it is always a pleasure to share! Enjoy the recipes! Mimi x
Dear Mimi, omg it sounds so delicious!
The chicken-Marengo is still part on our private menu-list. … you remembered me that one or maybe also two years has gone since i made this dish.
It´s really time to cook it again. I will serve it this time with the artichoke brulée with thrills me a lot, i´m so surprised. Mia & Hudson are looking so “sage & allert”, wonderfull. Mimi, hope you are fine and the rainy days are going soon:) Aileen
Merci Aileen! Enjoy the recipes – wishing you a lovely week! Mimi x
Mimi, you with “7” kids, i´m sure that you a real expert for baby-cooking, too:)
As i was thinking about the artichokes my palate was wandering to the jewish artichokes. Remembering that you are using bicarbonate to ease digestion. Can i use this for my 9 month old baby (Paolo)?
Hi Aileen! True, bicarbonate of soda eases digestion when cooking with beans, artichokes etc… however I would not recommend for children under 5. However, if you are using bicarbonate of soda in the boiling water when cooking vegetables, I do think that is fine because amounts are so low. I hope this helps! Mimi x
What a great history for such a fantastic dish. Do you have any recommendations for books about culinary history?
Hi Claire, I rely on all these very old French book I bought at brocantes/antique store – I love the authenticity and illustrations. The Larousse gastronomique is a good choice. Mimi x
WE had sausages last night cooked in the pizza oven!My husband put them on an antique plate I have…….I looked down and thought of YOU!Grabbed the camera and snapped………and here you are with a sausage recipe!What a lovely post!I want to know does ODUR have a ladder hanging out in the kitchen to get those “DOWN SHOTS!!”so, beautiful……..XXX
Yummy! Sausages & pizza! Your husband must be very good! Oddur does have an old wooden ladder to take those down shots – I am awful at those shots and feel like a giant girafe about to fall! Have a lovely week Contessa! I read your son has flown out of the nest! Mimi x
Yes, and today I made him a lasagna!!
I don’t think I could pull this off, but your story and photos are so beautiful that it at least makes me want to try. So beautiful!
Merci Tonie – so kind of you! I am sure you can pull this off!! Especially the recipe for artichoke crème brûlée. Mimi x
What a wonderful start to an otherwise grim Monday morning.. This has made the list for my ‘if i was to choose a last ever supper’ menu. It has all the elements of my very favorite things and is written and photographed so beautifully. What a team you and your husband make.
Thank you as always for providing me with a source of enjoyment and inspiration. Your site makes me want to whisk myself off to rural France and look ever-glamours over an Aga wearing Missoni.
As always, looking forward to the next post already.
Thank you Abby! You are so kind and make me feel so happy and positive on this gloomy Monday! Merci! Enjoy the recipes! Mimi x
J’adore Mariage Frères aussi! I happened to come by a version in a cafe in Los Feliz. Your rendition of the artichoke I know will be a hit in our nest, as for the chicken, well it’s impossible to find a tasty poultry around these neck of the woods. Happy Nesting.
Me too, Mariage Frères is a dream 🙂 Enjoy the artichoke crème brûlée recipe – it’s one of my favorites! Happy week Mimi x
Your post today was enchanting and inspiring – just what I needed on this freezing cold day (minus 30 degrees Celsius) here in northern Canada. I am sipping my tea and am transported to another time and another life as I read your wonderful blog and get lost in the stunning photos. Thank you for these moments.
Wow, minus 30 certainly gives me the chills. It reminds me of a trip in northern China a long time ago (near Qingdao), it was February and minus 30. I remember not being able to feel my toes, and I had to get special clothing to keep warm! It was truly freezing! I imagine you must be well equipped 🙂 Northern Canada must be so beautiful, surrounded by snow and forests, so magical. Keep warm Margaret! Wishing you a lovely week, filled with comforting meals! best, Mimi x
Oh Mimi, I’ve been waiting for the crème brulée recipe since you’ve posted the pic on instagram. Such a new approach for me on a beloved, traditional recipe. Thanks!
I wonder, how do you always get the locals onto your husband’s images? I’d reckon they would be shy, some maybe even unhappy for their culture to be shown on the internet? Are you always welcomed with open arms? Just a silly question from someone who’s always too coy to ask locals for a picture! 🙂
All the best, Amanda
Hi Amanda, I hope you’ll enjoy the recipe, I did! In fact I think I’ll be making it again this week, at least once. Regarding the Médoc natives and my husbands approach this is how it goes: He’s quite shameless and will always go for the golden shot – doesn’t mind stepping on a few toes. The Médocains, luckily, are very friendly and generally just ever so happy to promote their region and their craft. So it all works out – just like in a fairytale. Mimi x
Oh thanks Mimi for this lovely little insight! So interesting getting a glimpse behind the photos 😉 I guess I have to become a little more shameless as well – always in the hunt for the golden shot!
All the very best, Amanda
Your stories are just so magical just like your recipes. I want to move to Medoc if only to capture the light in my photographs. Beautiful!
Bonsoir Alison! Historical meals such as chicken Marengo certainly inspired me to go way back in time. It’s so amusing how food and history can transport you to so many places – it’s wonderful, just like in a movie! I hope you will enjoy the recipes! And please visit Médoc – the best time of the year is end of summer and especially September (for the wine harvest!). best, Mimi x
What a great post, I loved it! Thank you for your great writing and beautiful pictures. (The poultry proprieter was easy on the eyes as well).
Bonsoir Sandee! Thanks! Perhaps this post will inspire you to visit the farm one day? 🙂 Mimi x
As a historian and an avid cook I can say that this post was just beautiful. I look forward to trying out the recipes!
Merci beaucoup Brittany! Enjoy the recipes! Mimi x
I’ve only recently made my to your blog and just want to say thank you for the wonderful recipes and pictures. Very inspiring, and you provide a wonderful escape from my dreary, snowy Boston winter. Merci beaucoup!
Welcome to Manger! I hope you will keep on enjoying the posts! It’s a pleasure to share with you! Mimi x
This looks so delicious. I love how you build your life around the kitchen table! It is so inspiring. We all need to spend more time cooking and eating together!
Bonsoir! The kitchen is certainly the heart of the house, it’s where we spend most time and share our stories together. I just love gathering with my family, enjoying good food and good conversations. Enjoy the recipes! Merci! Mimi x
I absolutely love your posts!! This one is a special treat!! I love to share your post with my teen daughter who loves cooking also!! We are inspired in sooo many ways by your lovely stories and view into your life! Thank you so much!
hugs to you! Colette
Thank you so much Colette – it’s so sweet to hear you shared this post with your daughter! Makes me so happy. My husband and I decided a long time ago to always take the scenic route in life! Enjoy the recipes! Mimi x
I like that you paired this Italian/French dish with a lovely Nebbiolo, Vietti. How fitting to such a lovely, amazing meal.
Well done as always.
Bonsoir Jesse! I am glad you noticed, living in Médoc, Bordeaux wines dominate our table, but this recipe called for something different, and luckily we have a few Italian bottles to choose from! Bonne soirée, Mimix
“…a Bonaparte state of mind” loved that phrase! you are a story teller!
Oh merci! There’s always a great story to tell when it comes to good food 🙂 Mimi x
I’d never heard of savory crème brûlée before (yes, how horrible for me) but I’m so glad you were the one to introduce me. I’ll be trying this soon! Merci Mimi 🙂
Merci Rebecca! I was inspired by the sweet version served at le Grand Véfour, I just wanted a savory version. It was a real hit here – hope you’ll enjoy it too! Mimi x
Ces recettes sont fabuleuses! Crème brûlée aux artichauts! Quel mélange original! Pour ne plus parler des photos!
Oh merci Gaby! J’ai de la chance d’avoir un mari photographe. De mon côté, je m’inspire des produits du terroir, des recettes simples et bonnes. J’espère que vous allez essayer cette crème brûlée, nous nous sommes régalés! Bonne soirée, Mimix
Once again, simply delightful and I am intrigued by the savoury artichoke brulee and nothing’s more exciting than the first batch of fresh produce of the season. xo
Merci Mel! I hope you will enjoy the recipe. Mimi x
Me encanta tu blog las fotos y tus comidas,siempre con una historia interesante,probare hacer la receta de alcachofa Gracias
Muchas gracias! Mimi x
All of these sound delicious, Mimi! I love that you can substitute mushrooms or langoustines for crayfish. Crayfish aren’t always available.
Thanks for another wonderful post!
So glad you enjoyed this post! It’s always nice to be able to substitute ingredients and still have a great dish. Enjoy! Mimi x
Greetings Mimi, saw your post first thing on my Monday morning, with a smile and a surge of hunger, I had to with hold my comment until I had tasted and savored your blog throughout my day. Your array of ingredients: the tulips, the story, the poules de fromage poster, the sweet and the savory, your lovely scouts, the chickens form Vertessac, your adorable four legged assistants, the architectural eye, the produce…
In gratitude for taking the time to share another Mimi Medoc creative process moment and inviting me to share and partake of it. Reminds me of a line in
Remembrance of Things Past… “arranged by the Michelangelo of our kitchen…here is a dish that cannot be obtained in a restaurant…”
Is the tip included?
A wonderful week to you and your splendirrific scouts.
Question: At what point do you decide on the selection of wine?
Bonjour Gee Gee, I haven’t read Proust for a while but I’m very fond of him and any quote from him is very much appreciated, merci! Regarding your wine question we are quite relaxed about it, we enjoy buying wine and always have a few interesting bottles around to try out and a few familiar ones that we know we can rely on (if the “interesting” ones don’t work out). Médoc IS wine and winemaking is absolutely part of the allure of the region so you can’t help but jump on the wine carousel from time to time. But to answer your question directly, in this house food comes first and when I’ve made up my mind on what I’m cooking either of us might open a fitting bottle sometime in the afternoon to get it ready. It’s usually a Médoc wine of course – that simplifies things. Mimi x
Estoy deseando que llegue el momento
para poder cocinar estas exquisitas recetas,desde la crema de alcachofas, hasta el clafotis, pasando por el pollo naturalmente. El pasado dia 10, hizo un año que descubri tu blog , era una entrada tambien muy especial.Felicidades, y feliz San Valentin
Muchas gracias por sus amables palabras. Estoy tan conmovida que disfruten de este blog y espero compartir muchas más historias con usted! Mimi x
La crema de alcachofas y el clafotis de pera son realmente deliciosos. Gracias Mimi.
Gracias Rosa! So happy to hear! Mimi x
Absolutely beautiful, as all others have said!
Merci Kate! I am so touched. Bonne semaine! Mimi x
I’ve just discovered your blog…wonderful! And to think I mentioned Chicken Marengo in the same breath as Caesar Salad only half an hour ago..all in the cause of improvisation!
Thank you Peter, and welcome to our world of culinary adventures! I hope the recipes will inspire to cook many happy meals. Best, Mimix
Everything looks beautiful, as always, and that Vertessec poulet guy ain’t too bad either! 🙂
Thanks Stacey! It’s always a pleasure to visit the Vertessec farm! 🙂 Mimi x
The dish looks wonderful and I would love to someday visit the lovely Médoc and taste the wonderful produce and chickens. Thank you for the inspiration.
Thank you! I too hope you will come for a visit! I am sure you will enjoy Médoc – the best time of the year is end of summer or September! Best, Mimix
Hi Mimi, I got inspired by your style for my latest post: http://sillyapron.com/2014/02/06/weather-inspired-delights/
Thank you for creating such a beautiful world!
Asmae from Maryland
Thank you for sharing Asmae! How lovely – lovely post. Mimi x
Oh I do love your cravings. So much more interesting than ice-cream and pickles. You’re looking resplendent in midnight blue but most importantly very well. xx Anita p.s. Mimi, did you know that Josephine was obsessed with all things Australian? She had early French explorers bring her back plants be interestingly kangaroos and emus as well. An amazing woman.
Bonjour Anita! Comment allez-vous? Thanks for all the kind words – pregnancy is going very well, my cravings are surprising me everyday! Yesterday I just had to eat a fennel, octopus and garlic salad! 🙂 I did not know Joséphine was in love with Australia – I am not surprised! Such a beautiful country! Mimi x
Hi Mimi. I think that the appeal of Manger (quite aside from your way with words and Oddur’s stunning photography) is that, whilst all around you in the foodie world seem in thrall to novelty, sometimes for it’s own sake, you cleverly manage to make us fall in love anew with the great classics. I’m not familiar with chicken Marengo, and you inspired me to consult my copy of Saulnier’s ‘Le Répertoire de la Cuisine’, which states: “Sauté in oil, swill with white wine, add dice of tomato, tomatoed half-glaze, a little garlic, mushroom heads and slices of truffles, garnish round with trussed crayfish, fried eggs and croûtons, chopped parsley.” Thank you for the story – if only all history lessons were such a feast for the senses! Oh, and I love that last photo of your pup – what an adorable little face! x
Merci Zelda – I love your insights. I am passionate about modernising and sometimes simplifying old-fashioned dishes, linking the past to the present with all its history and glory! That little pup called Ian Fleming – he is so adorable. Bonne semaine, Mimix
I hope you keep doing what you do so well, Mimi. Your blog is uniquely beautiful, such a treat!
Bonjour Mimi! Reading your blog is always a beautiful escape for me! I don’t eat meat, but you made the chicken sound absolutely delicious! xo,dana
Hello Dana! Thank you! Perhaps you could try this dish without the chicken, just langoustines? The sauce is delicious! Best, Mimi x
I love you and your blog! I know it is the blog about food but do you think you could ever show a bit of your home? How did you decorate it? I suspect it is amazing.
Hugs from Poland
Thank you Gosia for such kind words – so touched 🙂 Will try and share some decorating tips soon – most of my inspiration comes from brocantes! Mimi x
Mimi, your stories are just so beautiful! Each and everyone of your posts captivates my imagination and appetite! I believe this will be my Valentines menu. 🙂
Oh I am so touched! Thanks Jess! That sounds like a lovely Valentine’s menu! Mimix
The history of local a local dish interwoven with locally produced food, and written so beautifully. Do you know how inspirational you are?
P.S. I would love to see a photos of your home as well.
Loved the story and how you tied in your own story. I have never made clafoutis but will try it– it sounds fantastic. Would you ever consider doing a post on your kitchen? I would love to see what it looks like.
Your posts are always so enjoyable!
Bonjour Lisa! Thanks so much! I am delighted you enjoyed the post, and please try the calfoutis – it’s a lovely dessert! I will definitely do a post on my kitchen one day! Thank you for the inspiration, Mimi x
Mimi Merci beaucoup for all of your lovely photos and recipes! You are truly an inspiration and vous etes tres jolie aussi! When will your cookbook be available? I am looking forward to purchasing it and trying more of your recipes! Bon Appetit!
Merci Leah! My cookbook is coming out end of October this year! It’s like having another baby – I am truly excited and so happy to share! Mimi x
Your blog is one of my absolute favourites, Mimi. Thank you all the way from New Zealand 🙂 x
Thanks Jessanah! I am so touched! Greetings from Médoc, Mimi x
Hello, I want to say I have been following your blog for a few months now. Not only is it my favorite, but I am a Napoleon affectionado. Your writing and photographs are some of the most beautiful I have ever seen and I am very fortunate to have discovered your blog. I see that it is indeed a complete family effort including your adorable dogs. Merci!
Bonjour Joseph. Thank you so much for such kind words! I am so happy to hear you are a Napoleon affectionado – now I can only hope you will try the recipe! 🙂 Enjoy, Mimi x
I am a Napoleon affectionada, too, I’m happy to see many other people are interested in this great historic character, and also very happy that Mimi has managed to transmit us all the charme of Napoleonic age through her recipes and comments. Well done, Mimi!
Best wishes, Joseph!
Maddy from Italy
Excellent, the response I was hoping for…”relaxed about it” and “food comes first”, but you are in Medoc, so selection must also come naturally. Thank you again!
You make the winter in Medoc look very cozy in your kitchen! What dishes were served at your wedding in Paris?
Merci Katya, I guess good food makes everything cozy, and Médoc IS cozy in it’s own wet way. It was an intimate luncheon with our best friends so we could indulge and have anything we liked. It went on for hours and goes down as one of the most memorable meals we’ve had. The highlights were the Prince Rainier pigeons, the foie gras ravioli and for dessert I think we had everything on the menu. We had Krug Champagne and a beautiful Gevrey-Chambertin and then Oddur and I were off to Rome. We arrived late and had a romantic dinner at midnight, a delicious pizza. It was a good day! Mimi x
So odd when a dish that is on my mind appears on the page. Kismet !
The food is lovely as always and the photos sublime but I am in love with the puppy in the last photo…..Share any info, are you breeding or importing ?
Bonjour Patricia, It’s such a tasty dish so I am not surprised it’s been on your mind too, I think about food all the time. The puppy in the last photo is a Smooth Fox Terrier, he’s 10 weeks and called Ian Fleming. He was born here and has one sister with a brown head, her name is India. We don’t have a lot of litters and now that we have a full house of dogs we will have even fewer litters in the future. We don’t really have puppies unless we might be interested in keeping one for ourselves and then we find homes for the rest. If you are interested in getting a dog I would put you in contact with my husband who could give you more information (more information than you’ll want probably) and can also tell you about other good breeders, possibly closer to where you live. I understand why you asked, he’s irresistible that little puppy rascal, so cute! Mimi x
This was such a beautiful post! I loved the little bits of history all thrown in there and the way you write is like an engaging story. And the photos are making me quite hungry!
Merci Amielle! Mimi x
I really love reading your posts and also seeing the lovely photos!
For the pear and almond clafoutis, is the 75g the correct measurement for 6 tablespoons? Maybe they’re just smaller tablespoons that I use..
Anyway thanks for an inspiring, cosy and cheering blog!
Hi Helen! Thanks for saying hi! For the converstions, I always use this same site http://www.jsward.com/cooking/conversion.shtml which I follow religiously – 75g g corresponds to 6 tbsp granulated sugar. I hope this helps! Mimi x
Thanks, I will try the recipe out sometime:}
Oh my goodness! I made the pear & almond clafoutis, what a delicious treat!! Hubby & I started with a slice on lovely fine china, then proceeded to putting the baking pan in the middle of the dining table and gobbling the remainder via two spoons! Absolutely, look forward to your posts Mimi and your hubbies delicious photos.
Cheers from Canada!
Thanks for your kind words Cindy! I am so happy to hear you enjoyed the clafoutis – I just love these simple old-fashioned desserts! Mimi x
Monday 7 a.m., I am in work and opening your wonderful blog for check what new you have prepared and I am asking myself – “what I am doing bad” – thanks Mimi for your inspiration what impress me to start to think about definitely change my life…. Have a nice day Petra
Wishing you a lovely Monday Petra! I hope I’ll inspire you to visit Médoc, and to try some of these recipes! 🙂 Mimi x
Thank you Marta! Happy Monday, Mimi x
how big of a dutch oven/ cocotte? This looks to be 2.75 quarts / 2.6 liters…?
I think Mia and I were separated at birth. 😉
Mimi, I look forward to your new posts each week as they inspire me a great deal. I am really looking forward to the release of your cookbook. When can we expect to see it?
I’m Maddy, I live in the north of Italy, close to Switzerland border, and I’ve been following your fantastic blog for weeks. Let me say I like it so much, I love photos, I enjoy what you write and, although I’m not exactly the good cook type (my Australian husband Darren is, though) I also like your recipes, too (we tried two of them, and eager to try others!). We and the kids often come to France, since our home town is quite near France, too, and I appreciate how you manage to evoke that special French atmosphere and way of life. Just one little thing about Napoleon (well, I know nearly everything about him, since Napoleonic age is my favourite historic period…although I didn’t know about the Chicken Marengo, one never ends learning things!). That anecdote about him meeting his soldiers is true, he proclaimed that when he went back to France from his first exile in Isola d’Elba, and in saying so he earned back the enthusiasm of his troops. Thanks for everything, dear Mimi, I wish you and your family all the best! Maddy
Hi Mimi, I’ve just discovered Your blog and I’m totally enchanted! I love the pictures: they remind me often of Dutch still lives (my6 favourite ones). I’ve just made Your pear and almond clafoutis and it was heavenly – gone in 10 minutes! Thank You for everytinng! With love, Magda
Once again gorgeous pictures and writing that immerse the reader in the true feeling of what it is to be a beautiful French woman. I want to jump into these pictures and eat and sip wine wine with the locals. They are so inspiring and beautiful as are the stories you tell time and time again. I cannot wait for your cookbook and wish you much success. Oddur is a lucky man as I am sure he realizes to have such a beauty who can cook like you do and who is a wonderful mother too! I wish you success, a healthy pregnancy and a happy future with your family. Keep writing as you inspire many of us to cook, eat and enjoy life! Bon Appetit!
I have just discovered you! What an inspirational blog you create. I would love to know what wine you drink with the artichoke brûlée on this post or really any artichoke dish. I have the most difficult time pairing an artichoke with a drink. Merci, beaucoup!
I love your blog. I did a post on my blog about chicken Marengo, but yours is better. Great send up at the beginning.
The Insouciant Chef.
quel magnifique blog!!!!!toutes mes félicitations à vous pour les alléchantes recettes et à votre mari pour les surprenantes photos ainsi que pour la représentation de “notre” cher médoc
je vis à gaillan en médoc depuis bientôt 40 ans!! j’espère un jour vous rencontrer autour d’une table; bien sincèrement mariepierre
Merci Marie-Pierre! Nous sommes presque voisines alors! A bientôt j’espère, Mimi x
merci pour votre email
je propose que, vous et votre famille, vous joignez à nous le samedi midi 10 mai pour feter le “mai” (coutume locale) pin planté et décoré,suite à l’élection municipale de Gaillan en médoc
.j’attends famille de bretagnne et amis de partout,environ 70! avec enfants
vous serez les bienvenus à cette fete,je leur parle beaucoup de votre blog
tres sincèrement mph
Juast read your blog on my husband tablet regarding the Napoleon chicken. Superbe, just wonderful.
Merci! Mimi x