This will be my 23rd blog. Half of the recipes have been American. I’ve done a couple Hawaiian (Yeah, yeah, technically that’s also American, I know…), a German, and a British recipe. But this will be my 6th Italian recipe. (And no French recipes. I’ll have to fix that.)
Can you tell what my favorite ethnic food is to cook at home? It’s partly because I love Italian food, but I think it’s also because Italian food easily lends itself to cheap and quick without losing any flavor. (Which is exactly why you should never eat at Olive Garden ever again. I promise I can teach you to make everything on their menu at home, for a fraction of the cost and three times the flavor. Including their toasted raviolis.)
With all these Italian blogs, I have neglected to share with you my original favorite Italian dish. It is truly comfort food to me. My friend Tom always has to try the Lasagna whenever we find a new Italian restaurant. I will always order whatever sounds the most original on my first visit, but I have to eventually try their Marsala if I return. (Unless, of course, they only make veal marsala. I’m no vegetarian, but I do draw the line at tortured baby cow.)
Chicken Marsala is stepbrother to Chicken Piccata, which I have posted about here before. The recipes are very similar. Flattened chicken breasts, browned, with a sauce made from the pan drippings. Where piccata uses white wine and lemon juice, marsala replaces those with marsala wine and mushrooms.
So, if you feel like tender chicken over pasta and you don’t have lemons or want a change from Chicken Picatta or Parmagiana, try my personal favorite.
Chicken breasts are affordable at Safeway (which includes Vons and Pavillion’s) from their Eating Right brand. Albertson’s also has affordable fresh chicken breasts with their generic brand. If you know of any other good deals on chicken in your area, please post them in your comments below.
Marsala wine comes in both sweet and dry flavors. Sweet works best for the recipe, but don’t sweat it if you only have dry. Trader Joe’s sells a very affordable bottle of Marsala.
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, pounded flat to a ½” thickness (this step can be skipped for ease by buying “thinly sliced” chicken breasts or chicken breast “cutlets” commonly sold in stores)
salt & pepper
flour for dredging
2 Tablespoons olive oil
3 Tablespoons butter, chilled
¾ cup sweet marsala wine
½ cup chicken broth
6 to 8 mushroom, sliced
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 garlic clove, minced
- Season the pounded chicken breasts (or cutlets) with salt and pepper on both sides. Coat the breasts well with flour.
- Heat olive oil and 1 Tablespoon butter in a large pan on medium heat until the butter has melted. Add the floured chicken breasts and cook, uncovered 3 to 6 minutes per side, until the breasts are golden brown. When done, remove the chicken breasts from the pan and transfer to a plate.
- Add 1 more Tablespoon of butter to the pan. When melted, add garlic, oregeno, and mushrooms. Cook the mushrooms for 5 minutes until the edges are browned. (The mushrooms will continue to cook.)
- Add Marsala wine and chicken broth to the pan and bring to a simmer. Reduce the sauce by half.
- Return the chicken breasts to the pan and spoon sauce over the breasts. Cover and simmer for 5 more minutes. Remove from heat and add last Tablespoon of butter (it is important that this butter is chilled to help thicken the sauce) and swirl in pan until melted. If the sauce is still not as thick as you desire, you can repeat the process with another Tablespoon of butter.
- Serve chicken immediately over your favorite pasta spooning the sauce over. (Chicken Marsala can also be served with roasted potatoes.)