Sunday, March 27, 2016

Chicken Marsala

My history with Chicken Marsala is similar to my history with Penne alla Vodka: never had it, wasn't sure what it was, but the named sounded cool so I decided to seek it out.  Unlike Penne alla Vodka, I didn't realize that alcohol was involved until I got hold of the recipe.  On the day that I first made it, I headed up to the grocery store on my lunch break.  I went through the wine section but there was no Marsala wine to be had and no one around to ask.  The clock was running out, so I turned to google for help.  No one had a good suggestion for a Marsala substitute, but someone mentioned that in their grocery store Marsala was in the vinegar section.  And so it was in mine.  Since using up that first bottle of "vinegar" Marsala, I've always been able to find it in the wine section.  "Wine" Marsala is less salty than "vinegar Marsala", but both are fantastic.

I tweaked the original recipe in a few ways.  First, I wanted to use skinless chicken breast, pounded thin, which shortened the cooking time.  It was easy to lose a few tablespoons of butter and oil.  And I also changed the number of servings.  The original recipe has 2½ pounds of chicken, which I shied away from because chicken leftovers don't always reheat very well.  The first time I made this, I used two chicken breasts but didn't reduce the amount of mushrooms or Marsala.  It just felt like the right ratio of mushrooms to chicken.  The yield is dinner for two with a leftover portion for lunch, or just dinner for two if everyone has a good appetite. 

Yield: 2-3 servings
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • olive oil
  • 2½ tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 scallion, chopped fine
  • ¾ pound mushrooms, sliced
  • ½ cup Marsala wine
  • ½ cup chicken broth
  • Optional: fresh parsley for garnish

 Prepare the chicken by pounding flat and sectioning into 4 pieces.  Spray with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Melt ½ tablespoon of butter and let the skillet get hot.

Brown the chicken on all sides for a few minutes.  Remove from the skillet and set aside.

Add a small amount of olive oil if needed and add the scallion.

Follow up with the 'shrooms.

The mushrooms will give off their juice.  Let them cooking, stirring occasionally, until the liquid has mostly evaporated.

Now add the Marsala.

Let it cook until reduced by about half.

 Bring back the chicken, adding any juice that the chicken has released.  Top with the chicken broth and let it all cook for 5 minutes or so.  Be careful not to overcook the chicken.  Remove it from the pan again.


Let the broth reduce for a few more minutes.  Turn off the heat and add the butter. 

 Ready to go.  If you have fresh parsley on hand, add a little at this point.  If you don't, skip it.

Prepare a plate with pasta and top with one or two pieces of chicken, depending on your appetite.

Top with the sauce.

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