Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Chicken Marsala

If you know me at all, you probably think this is a weird choice for me to make, given that I don't like mushrooms. Yeah, you read that right. I don't like mushrooms. I think it's a texture issue. However, ever since I got my America's Test Kitchen cookbook, this recipe has intrigued me. I used to love Chicken Marsala way back when I liked mushrooms and thought The Olive Garden was gourmet (give me a break, I grew up in the sticks).
Anyway, I've had this dish on my "to make" list for at least a couple of months, but I couldn't find Marsala wine at any liquor store in my area. Then, on Saturday, I decided to ask an employee at Trader Joe's. He'd never heard of it, but when I explained it's a fortified wine similar to a sherry, he pointed me to where he thought it might be, if they had it. To my delight, there it was, on the very bottom shelf.

So, I got out of work at a reasonable hour and decided tonight was the night. My husband somewhat begrudgingly went along (he doesn't like mushrooms either).

In the end, I liked it, but it's probably not something I'll put in my regular rotation, unless I discover that the sauce tastes similar without the mushrooms and Marsala wine becomes more readily available. However, I still don't like mushrooms. They're just weird. While it was really good, it was a bit too labor intensive for a regular, weeknight meal. I do hope you enjoy it, but consider yourself warned that it takes longer than it seems it should. I served this with some roasted garlic mashed potatoes with fresh rosemary (which ended up being a little too pine-y tasting Note to self: add less rosemary next time) and steamed broccoli tossed in a bit of oil.

Chicken Marsala
from America's Test Kitchen, adapted
Serves 2-3

4 chicken breast halves, pounded lightly (I used boneless, skinless thighs)
flour, for dredging
Salt & pepper
2 TBSP olive oil
2 oz pancetta (I'm not sure what this adds)
8 oz mushrooms, sliced (I used 4 oz canned mushrooms)
1 tsp tomato paste
1 clove garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups Marsala wine
4 TBSP butter

Heat oil in a medium skillet over medium heat.

Season the chicken with salt & pepper and dredge in flour. Add to the pan once oil is hot and shimmering, but not smoking. Pan fry until no longer pink, or about 3-4 min per side. Remove from pan and cover with tin foil to keep warm.

Add pancetta to the pan and fry until lightly crispy (again, not sure what this added and will probably omit if I make this recipe again). Add mushrooms about 1/2 way through cooking the pancetta. Stir frequently, scraping up any brown bits. Once the mushrooms are brown and their juices have released, add the garlic and tomato paste and stir. Cook about 1 minute, or until the tomato paste just begins to brown.

Remove from heat and add the wine. Turn heat to high and keep stirring until the alcohol burns off and wine reduces and starts turning syrup-y. Once it reduces to about 1 1/2 cups of liquid, add the butter and stir. If the sauce isn't to your desired consistency, whisk in a couple tsp of flour.

Transfer to a plate and spoon sauce over the chicken and enjoy!


Danielle said...

I agree with the whole mushroom-texture thing, I have the same issue! But, Chicken Marsala is definitely really good! (I just pick the mushrooms out.) :)

Jane Marie said...

This looks good. I love mushrooms, but I sure didn't when I was young. When I grew up I thought it was classy to eat mushrooms, so I made myself eat them. They grow on you.

Joelen said...

I totally understand the texture thing... but for someone who doesn't like mushrooms, it looks great! You've also been TAGGED! Please see my blog for details :)

annie said...

Mmm, I love Marsala. I also enjoy mushrooms in Marsala only!

This looks delightful.

Kevin said...

That looks tasty! I like using Marsala wine to make sauces.

Jordie Rocks said...

I make a similar dish sans wine except I use Campbell's Golden Mushroom soup. I watch Sodium so I don't make this often.

I'm a mushroom fiend, however, but understand fungii isn't everyone's cup of tea. I always sautee my mushrooms after I sautee onions, green onions and mashed fresh garlic in Sesame oil or Soy oil which seems to help each of these ingredients blend more smoothly into the chicken mixture.

Jordie Rocks said...

I don't know what pancetta is, however, I looked it up in cook books and it seems to add flavor to the dish just like bacon/bacon fat and ham hocks add to soups, gumbo, stews and rural cooking styles i.e. Southern Cooking. Thanks for this recipe. When I make it I will use Campbell's Golden Mushroom Soup and some reconstituted shitashi mushrooms.

I think it'd be a great recipe w/o mushrooms or wine. I'd substitute Japanese misho soup paste & water for the wine as well. Thanks for the recipe!