Julia Child’s Napoleon’s Chicken

Here’s a dish, that at first glance, seems like an unworkable combination. And honestly, it’s one of those dishes where the chef threw what he had together. But it works. The best part is that you can leave parts of it out and it’s still delicious. If you cooking this with the thought of having leftovers, you can cook everything but the bread and eggs and do those as needed. You can also do a simple fried egg and it’s just as good.

Julia Child’s Napoleon’s Chicken


  • 1 chicken cut into pieces for frying
  • olive oil
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 tablespoon of Napoleon’s cognac (or Brandy)
  • 2 medium onions, diced
  • 2 lbs. peeled, cored, seeded and diced tomatoes
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon Italian Seasoning
  • 8 large white mushroom caps with stems
  • 8 rounds of 1/4″ thick sliced Italian bread
  • 12 large shrimp, shelled and deveined
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon chopped, fresh parsley
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • black olives


  1. Rinse and pat the chicken dry with paper towels. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large seasoned skillet (a chicken fryer with 3″ to 4″ high sides) over medium high heat until hot. Add chicken and brown well on all sides.

  2. Add 1/4 cup of the white wine, cover and simmer 10 minutes. Add cognac and flame. Add onions, cover and simmer another 10 minutes. Remove chicken to platter.

  3. Remove stems from mushroom caps and dice. Reserve caps. Spoon some grease from pan. Saute garlic and mushroom stems. Add tomatoes, 1/4 cup of the white wine, and Italian seasoning stirring up all the chicken bits. Salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a high simmer. Return the chicken pieces to the skillet, folding into the tomato sauce. Reduce heat, cover and simmer gently for 15 – 20 minutes until chicken is no longer pink.

  4. While the chicken is cooking, heat a saucepan over high heat with 1 tablespoon of oil and the rest of white wine. Add the mushrooms. Toss lightly a few times until they are tender, but not soggy or overcooked. The caps should be white and retain their shape. Set aside and keep warm.

  5. Heat a frying pan with the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil (may need more) until hot, but not smoking. Lightly fry the rounds of bread until slightly browned. Set them aside on paper towels. Keep warm in oven.

  6. Add the shrimp to the hot oil and fry until they just curl up, about 1-2 minutes. Set them aside on paper towels. Keep warm in oven.

  7. Heat another saucepan over high heat with oil at least an inch deep. Poach the eggs one at a time in the hot oil for a minute or so, lightly stirring with large spoon to keep egg together. Remove with a slotted spoon and set on paper towel to drain.

  8. Putting it all together: Set chicken pieces on serving platter. Spoon the tomato sauce over the chicken pieces and garnish with black olives.

  9. Place the eight croutons around the chicken. Place an egg on every other crouton and garnish with parsley. Place 3 shrimp on each of the other 4 croutons.

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