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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!

chickenmarsala1

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

 

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To Slow Cook or Not to Slow Cook…

Well, it’s not really the questions here, I guess. Slow cooking is a great option for dinners when you know you won’t have time to cook for dinner or you’re just to tired at night to start cooking after you get home. You can set it up in the morning before you leave, let it run on low all day, and dinner is ready for you when you get home. I have lots of slow cooker recipes and we do use the slow cooker, though not as much since I am home more to cook meals, but it is still a great option. When I saw the recipe for Chicken Marsala in the slow cooker, I thought it would be great to try it out. You still need to do some of the prep work on the stove top, but then you can put it all in the slow cooker and let it go.

Chicken Marsala

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

6 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, each about 6 ounces

3 tablespoons butter

3 tablespoons olive oil

4 shallots, minced

1/4 pound pancetta, diced (if you don’t have pancetta, you can use bacon)

2 1/4 cups Marsala

1 cup chicken broth

2 teaspoons dried oregano

1/2 pound cremini or button mushrooms, brushed clean, stems removed and caps sliced thin

4 tablespoons butter

3 tablespoons chopped fresh chives

On a plate, stir together the flour, salt and pepper. One at a time, turn the chicken breasts in the flour mixture, gently shaking off the excess.

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, melt 1 1/2 tablespoons of the butter and 1 1/2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Working in batches if necessary, add the chicken breasts and cook, turning once, until golden on both sides, about 5 minutes total. Transfer to a plate. Add the shallots and pancetta to the pan and saute over medium-high heat until lightly browned, 2 to 3 minutes. Add 2 cups of the Marsala, increase the heat to high and cook, stirring, until the wine is reduced and thickened, 7 to 10 minutes. Add the broth and oregano and return to a boil.

Transfer the chicken to a slow cooker and add the Marsala mixture. Cover and cook until the chicken is opaque throughout and very tender, about 2 1/2 hours on high or 5 hours on low. About 30 minutes before the chicken is done, in a large skillet over high heat, melt 1 1/2 tablespoons of butter with the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the mushrooms and saute until the edges begin to brown, about 5 minutes. Add the mushroom mixture and the remaining 1/4 cup of Marsala to the slow cooker. Cover and continue cooking until the chicken is cooked through and the sauce has thickened, about 20 minutes more.

Remove from the heat and add the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter to the sauce, 1 tablespoon at a time, slowly whisking each into the sauce to blend. Spoon the mushrooms and the sauce over the chicken, garnish with the chives and serve.

It’s a very good recipe for the slow cooker, but if you prefer not to use a slow cooker for Chicken Marsala, here is a recipe that I use for the stove top that is a winner:

Chicken Marsala (Stove Top only)

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed

Salt and pepper

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

3 ounces pancetta, chopped fine (or bacon)

8 ounces button mushrooms, brushed, stems removed, sliced thin

1 garlic clove, minced

1 teaspoon tomato paste

1 1/2 cups Marsala

1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

3 tablespoons butter, cut into 3 pieces and chilled

2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley

Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 200 degrees. Spread the flour in a shallow dish. pat dry the chicken with paper towels, then season with salt and pepper. Dredge through the flour to coat and shake off any excess.

Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Add the chicken and cook until light golden brown on both sides, about 10 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate and keep warm in the oven.

Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil to the skillet and return to medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the pancetta and mushrooms. Cook until the pancetta is crisp and the mushrooms are brown, about 10 minutes. Stir in the garlic and tomato paste. Cook until the tomato paste begins to brown, about 1 minute. Stir in the Marsala, scraping up any browned bits, and simmer until reduced and slightly syrupy, about 8 minutes. Stir in the lemon juice and any accumulated chicken juice. Turn the heat to low and whisk in the butter, one piece at a time. Off the heat, stir in the parsley and season with salt and pepper to taste. Spoon the sauce over the chicken before serving.

Chicken Marsala is one of our favorite recipes, whether it is in the slow cooker or on the stove top, and it goes really well with rice, noodles, pasta, or even risotto. We had rice with ours tonight and we all loved it.

Tomorrow will be our meat-free meal of the week and I am making Black Bean Stew. There’s not a lot in the recipe, although it does use some lager beer and butternut squash, so it promises to be pretty tasty. if you have any questions or comments about the Chicken Marsala or any other recipe, feel free to leave a message and I’ll be happy to comment. Until tomorrow, enjoy your evening and your meal!

 

 
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Posted by on February 21, 2012 in Cooking, Dinner, Equipment, Poultry, Slow Cooker Meals

 

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