Chicken Marsala

It’s never a fabulous idea to leave me alone and to my own devices. A few days ago, such an event occurred, and I watched two food-related documentaries back-to-back before deciding that cooking was exactly what the doctor ordered ! In our refrigerator were all the ingredients necessary to make Chicken Marsala and nice, crusty “Italian” bread. You can just guess what we had for dinner…

My family now thinks it’s WISE to leave me all by myself – dinner is [magically] made by the time they return to the house !

Here is the recipe, adapted from Gourmet Magazine’s Chicken Marsala.

Ingredients :

2 cups chicken broth (low sodium would be best)
2 or 3 tbsp finely chopped shallot/onion (I used an onion)
5 tbsp unsalted butter
10 oz mushrooms, trimmed and sliced
1 1/2 tsp fresh sage (I used dried rosemary to great effect)
Ground black pepper
1 cup flour
4 skinless boneless chicken breast halves
2 tbsp olive oil
2/3 cup dry Marsala wine (I used cooking wine)
3/4 cup heavy cream
1-2 tsp fresh lemon juice

In a medium saucepan, bring the broth to a boil over high heat and let boil, uncovered, until reduced to about 1 cup of liquid. Depending on the power behind your stovetop, this can take 15-20 minutes. If it reduces too much, it’s okay – you’ll just have a little less sauce. This (OF COURSE) can be offset by adding more wine/cream later, so don’t stress.

Chop the shallow/onion. I never have shallots so I’m always substituting onions. To cut an onion finely, I recommend halving it, then cutting gridlines with the knife on the half of the onion. Then, slice thinly, and the onion will fall onto the cutting board in nice small pieces. Crying is allowed.

Cook the shallot/onion in 3 tbsp butter (or olive oil, that’s okay) in a large, heavy skillet over moderate heat, stirring until it begins to turn golden. At this point, add the mushrooms, being careful not to crowd them. Julia Child spoke wise words when she said, “DON’T CROWD THE MUSHROOMS” as they won’t brown well if you do. Cook half the batch at a time, if necessary. Once they start to change color, I chop them in half with the wooden spatula used to stir so that they release more liquid. Season with ground black pepper and rosemary.

Once the liquid has been evaporated and the mushrooms are nice and brown/soft, remove from the heat and put into a bowl.

Put flour in a wide, shallow bowl. Gently pound chicken to 1/4 inch thickness between two sheets of plastic wrap. Pat the chicken dry and season with salt and pepper, then dredge in flour, one piece at a time.

Using the same pan that was used for the mushrooms, heat 1 tbsp of both oil AND butter. Once the butter stops frothing, place the chicken in the pan and cook until golden. Chicken takes awhile to cook and you want to make sure it is cooked ALL THE WAY THROUGH. NO PINK. Got it ?

Once cooked, remove the chicken from the pan and place on a platter. To keep this warm, the chicken can be placed in the oven but WARNING – this could dry the chicken out. You know your oven – you decide.

Add the wine to the skillet and boil over high heat, scraping the bottom of the pan to get all the nice brown bits leftover from the chicken. (This is called “deglazing” – it works wonderfully).

Add the broth and the cream and bring to a simmer. Once lightly boiling, add the mushrooms and continue to stir until thickened slightly. At this stage it is of the UTMOST IMPORTANCE to TASTE the sauce. This way, you know if you need to season it more – add salt, pepper, more cream or wine, perhaps – I ended up adding much more wine and cream. 🙂 Live the good life…

Once the sauce is hot and seasoned to your liking, add the lemon juice and a bit of wine. Stir and then pour over the chicken. Serve with a nice chunk of bread…I made mine but this dish isn’t picky – any nice, crusty Italian loaf will do. Bon appetite !

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One thought on “Chicken Marsala

  1. I love chicken marsala; thanks for the recipe. Also, thanks for visiting my blog and liking some of my posts. Look forward to seeing more from you. — Rob

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