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Checking in With a Classic – Chicken Marsala

There’s been a lot of work coming my way lately, which is a good thing because it keeps me working, but it also keeps me from doing extra things like blogging. After spending 10-12 hours a day on the computer writing it is hard to find the energy to get back on and write for the blog. Today I have a little bit of a break during the day so I have time to share a recipe I recently tried out at home. Sometimes it is nice to get back to the classics for recipes and I had wanted to make chicken Marsala for a while now and had just not gotten around to it. I finally happened to be down near our local liquor store the other day and made the conscious effort to go in and get a bottle of Marsala wine so that I could make the chicken. I decided to try out this recipe from America’s Test Kitchen, which strays from a number of other recipes in that they do not make use of chicken broth in the recipe. I figured I would give it a try to see how it came out.

Chicken Marsala

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts 

1 cup all-purpose flour

Table salt

Ground black pepper

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 1/2 ounces pancetta or bacon (about 3 slices), cut into pieces 1 inch long and 1/8 inch wide

8 ounces white mushrooms, sliced (about 2 cups)

1 medium clove garlic, minced (about 1 teaspoon)

1 teaspoon tomato paste

1 1/2 cups Marsala wine 

1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice from 1 small lemon

4 tablespoons butter cut into 4 pieces, softened

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves

Adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position and place a large heatproof dinner plate on the oven rack, and heat the oven to 200 degrees. Heat  a 12-inch heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat until it is very hot (you can hold your hand 2 inches above the pan surface for 3 to 4 seconds), about 3 minutes. Pat the chicken breasts dry with paper towels. Halve the chicken breasts horizontally and then cover the chicken halves with plastic wrap and pound the chicken to an 1/4-inch thickness with a meat pounder. Meanwhile, place the flour in a shallow baking dish or pie plate. Season both sides of the chicken with salt and pepper; working one piece at a time, dredge the chicken in the flour to coat both sides. Lift the chicken piece from the tapered end and shake it to remove any excess flour; transfer the piece to a large plate and repeat the process with the remainder of the chicken. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in the heated skillet until it is shimmering. Place the floured cutlets in a single layer in the skillet and cook the chicken until it is golden brown on the first side, about 3 minutes. Using tongs, flip the cutlets and cook them on the second side until they are golden brown and no longer pink, about 2 to 3 minutes longer. Transfer chicken to heated plate and repeat the process with any remaining chicken pieces. When all of the chicken is cooked, return the plate to the oven.

Cook the pancetta or bacon in the now-empty skillet over low heat, stirring occasionally and scraping up any browned bits, until it is crisp, about 5 minutes. Remove the pancetta with a slotted spoon and transfer it to a paper towel-lined plate. Add the mushrooms to the now-empty skillet, increase the heat to medium-high and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms are softened and lightly browned, about 8 minutes. Stir in the garlic, tomato paste and the crisp pancetta or bacon and cook until the tomato paste begins to brown, about 1 minute. Take the skillet off the heat and stir in the Marsala wine, scraping up any browned bits. Return the skillet to the heat and bring the mixture to a vigorous simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is thickened and measures about 1 1/4 cups, about 5 minutes. Off the heat, stir in the lemon juice and any accumulated chicken juices. Whisk in the butter, 1 piece at a time. Stir in the parsley and season the sauce with salt and pepper to taste. Pour the sauce over the chicken and serve.

I have to say I have had chicken Marsala a number of times and very often the chicken is overcooked and the mushrooms are slimy and the sauce is watery. none of those things occurred with this dish. the chicken was tender with great flavor and the sauce came out perfectly. The mushrooms were not overcooked or watery and came out perfectly and the pancetta (or bacon, which I used this time) was a nice touch to the dish. I served this with noodles for Michelle and Sean and had it over rice myself and it was done perfectly. I even had some leftovers the next day for lunch and it was delicious. I would use this recipe again to make this classic. It is not one I had made in a long time so it was nice to try it again.

That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for another recipe. Until then, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!

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Posted by on March 13, 2015 in Cooking, Dinner, Poultry, Sauce

 

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Keeping it Simple Again – Pan-Roasted Chicken Breasts

I find I do not make a lot boneless chicken breast dinners anymore. Actually, I shouldn’t say that; I don’t actually buy a lot of boneless chicken breasts anymore. The problem is that the boneless breasts often cost a lot more money then bone-in chicken breasts and you can just as easily cut the meat off the bone and make your own boneless breasts to cook and then you still have the option of keeping the skin on to get crispy flavor and you can use the bones, roast them with some salt and pepper and use them to make some tasty chicken stock for another use. I was able to get a family pack of bone-in chicken breasts for about $6.00 the other day and it gave me 5 large chicken breasts that I took off the bone and did just that with and we got many meals out of that six dollars. I went back and bought another package and made some of the chicken breasts using this simple pan roasting recipe from America’s Test Kitchen that was quick and easy and made a great little sauce to flavor the chicken along the way.

Pan-Roasted Chicken Breasts

4 (10-12-ounce) bone-in split chicken breasts, trimmed and brined if desired

Salt and pepper

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 shallot, minced

3/4 cup chicken broth

1/2 cup dry vermouth

4 large fresh sage leaves, each leaf torn in half

3 tablespoons butter, cut into 3 pieces and chilled

Using kitchen shears, trim off the rib section from the chicken breasts. If you are brining the chicken, dissolve 1 cup of kosher salt in 2 quarts of cold tap water in a large container or bowl; submerge the chicken in the brine and refrigerate it until it is fully seasoned, about 30 minutes. Rinse the chicken pieces under running water and pat them dry with paper towels. Season the chicken with pepper.

Adjust an oven rack to lowest position and heat the oven to 450 degrees.

Heat the vegetable oil in a heavy-bottomed 12-inch ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat until it is beginning to smoke; swirl the skillet to coat it with oil. Brown the chicken skin-side down until it is deep golden, about 5 minutes; turn the chicken pieces and brown them until they are golden on the second side, about 3 minutes longer. Turn the chicken skin-side down and place the skillet in the oven. Roast the chicken until the juices run clear when the chicken is cut with a paring knife, or the thickest part of the breast registers 160 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, about 15 to 18 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a platter, and let it rest while making the sauce. (If you are not making the sauce, let the chicken rest 5 minutes before serving.)

Using a pot-holder to protect your hands from the hot skillet handle, pour off most of the fat from the skillet; add the shallot, then set the skillet over medium-high heat and cook, stirring frequently, until the shallot is softened, about 1 1/2 minutes. Add the chicken broth, vermouth, and sage leaves; increase the heat to high and simmer the mixture rapidly, scraping the skillet bottom with a wooden spoon to loosen any browned bits, until the sauce is slightly thickened and reduced to about 3/4 cup, about 5 minutes. Pour the accumulated chicken juices into the skillet, reduce the heat to medium, and whisk in the butter 1 piece at a time; season to taste with salt and pepper and discard the sage leaves. Spoon the sauce around the chicken breasts and serve immediately.

That’s all there is to it. You can have tender, moist chicken with a nice crispy skin and make a great little sauce all in under 30 minutes. The brining does add some extra seasoning and helps to make the chicken moist but it is not a must for this recipe at all. We all really liked the simple sauce which had nice flavor from the sage and vermouth and if you didn’t want the bones in this one you could remove all the bones when you are cutting out the rib section. It was an easy, flavorful dish perfect for a weeknight dinner.

That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for another recipe. until then, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!

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Posted by on April 16, 2014 in Cooking, Dinner, Poultry, Sauce

 

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Keep it Simple with Salt and Pepper Chicken

Instead of going through the effort to roast a whole chicken sometimes, you can get just as much mileage out of roasting up some bone-in chicken breasts. you can get all the white meat that you want and much better flavor thanks to the skin and bones than just making some boneless chicken breasts. I like to buy the big value packs of bone-in breasts when they are on sale, cut the breasts in half and roast them simply, using this east recipe I got from Williams-Sonoma. This way you can get a great meal out of it for dinner that night and then have plenty leftover for other meals. This one is really simple that you can do any night of the week or on a Sunday night and end up with a week’s worth of meals.

Salt and Pepper Chicken

6 bone-in, skin-on chicken breast halves, about 4 pounds total, cut in half
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 cup chicken broth
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme, sage or tarragon
2 tablespoons cold butter, cut into cubes

Preheat an oven to 400°F.

Season the chicken generously with salt and pepper on top of and under the skin. Place the chicken, skin side up, in a large roasting pan. Roast until the chicken is golden brown and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of each breast registers 170°F, about 45 minutes.

Transfer 4 chicken breast halves to a serving platter and reserve the remaining 2 for another use.

Place the roasting pan on a stovetop over high heat. When the roasting pan sizzles, add the broth and thyme (or other herbs) and stir to scrape up the browned bits from the pan bottom. Boil the mixture until the broth is reduced by half, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat.

Whisk the butter, a couple of pieces at a time, into the reduced liquid. Season the sauce with salt and pepper. Serve the chicken, passing the sauce at the table.

It’s a very simple dish that you can make with just about side dishes that you want and it can come out elegant. These are great with mashed potatoes, roasted potatoes, sweet potatoes, any kind of rice, polenta and any vegetable that you feel like making. The best part is that the leftover chicken is perfect for you to use for other meals. You can make chicken salad sandwiches, shred some  chicken for pulled chicken sliders or chicken tacos or use some of the chicken to make some chicken noodle soup or other chicken soups. There are lots of great things that you can do to get several meals out of the leftovers to really stretch your budget.

That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for another recipe. I still have lots of different things to share that I have been trying out lately. Until then, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!

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Posted by on April 3, 2014 in Cooking, Dinner, Leftovers, Poultry

 

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It’s a Chicken Invasion, Part 2 – Pan Seared Chicken Breast with Herb Jus and Potato Vegetable Hash

For the next chicken meal for the week I decided again to try to keep something simple and different. I find I don’t but chicken breasts very often, but I saw some on sale recently and picked up a package because it was on sale. Usually the bone-in chicken breasts are pretty large and end up cutting them in half so we get more meals out of them. That is what I did this time and then I decided I was going to try this recipe that I saw from Robert Irvine of the Food Network. it is for a simple pan seared chicken breast with herb jus and a really tasty potato vegetable hash. it’s a simple recipe that’s easy enough to make during the week for a nice dinner.

Pan Seared Chicken Breast with Herb Jus and Potato-Vegetable Hash

For the Chicken:

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 skin-on, bone-in chicken breasts, cut in half

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 cup dry white wine

1 clove garlic, minced

1 tablespoons minced fresh thyme leaves

1 teaspoon chopped rosemary leaves

1 teaspoon chopped fresh parsley leaves

2 tablespoons butter

1 tablespoon minced fresh chives

For the Potato-Vegetable Hash:

1 potato

1 zucchini

1 yellow squash

1 small red onion, thinly sliced

1 egg, beaten

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 clove garlic, minced

1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves

1 teaspoon minced fresh tarragon leaves

1 teaspoon Cajun spice

Vegetable oil

Salt

For the chicken, heat a large saute pan over high heat and add the vegetable oil. Heat the vegetable oil until it is shimmering. Season both sides of the chicken breasts with salt and pepper to taste. Sear the chicken, skin side down, until the skin is a golden brown, about 5 to 6 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium, flip the chicken breasts over, cover the pan and cook on the second side for 7 to 8 minutes.

After the second side has been cooked, add the white wine, the garlic, thyme, rosemary and parsley and continue to cook the chicken until the liquid is reduced by half, about 7 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a serving platter and cover it loosely with aluminum foil to allow it to rest.

Remove the saute pan from the heat and whisk in the butter, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan.

For the potato-vegetable hash, using a box grater, shred the potato, zucchini and yellow squash and add them to a large bowl. Stir in the red onion, egg, flour, garlic, thyme, tarragon and the Cajun spice. Blend the mixture well and add more flour if the mixture seems too wet. The mixture should hold its shape when it is squeezed.

Heat a large saute pan over medium heat and add two tablespoons of vegetable oil. Heat the oil just until it is shimmering and portion the potato mixture into cakes, gently patting and forming them in your hands. Cook the cakes until they are golden brown on one side, about 2 to 3 minutes. Flip the cakes over and cook until the other side is browned, about another 3 minutes. Remove the cakes from the pan and set them on a paper towel-lined plate and season with salt to taste.

Serve the potato vegetable hash warm with a chicken breast piece on time and some of the herb jus sauce.

This was a very simple meal that makes good use of the white meat of the chicken if you need a new recipe. Sean is a big white meat-eater so he really liked this meal. The sauce for me was the winner as it had great flavor and everyone really liked the potato-vegetable hash, which was the real hit of the meal. The combination of the potato, zucchini and squash was perfect with the herbs and spices and it wasn’t cooked so long that it got all dried out. It was nice and flavorful from the vegetables with some crispness. It was definitely one I would make again.

That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for the next chicken recipe. I have some fried chicken sandwiches, an oven roasted turkey breast, a skillet roasted chicken and more still to come. Until next time, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!

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Posted by on January 29, 2014 in Cooking, Dinner, Poultry, Sauce, Vegetables

 

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Jennifer Probst

a little bit naughty a little bit nice

Laissez Faire

Letting Life Lead

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