Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Chicken Marsala

You cannot exactly order chicken marsala in a restaurant without mushrooms.  Not with a straight face.  Or not if you have such a low threshold for embarrassment, like I do.  It's like ordering the cashew chicken without cashews.  Or ordering beef and broccoli without the broccoli.  (Though I admit marsala does not translate to mushrooms, but it's still the same jist.)

It's a good thing that I learned how to make chicken marsala myself, since I obviously could not break the embarrassment barrier.  Because clearly I need to avoid embarrassment in front of the waiter.

Chicken marsala is delicious, by the way, even without mushrooms.  If you happen to be a mushroom eater, I have thrown you a bone and included the mushroom steps in the recipe.  You owe me.  It was painful to even pretend I would make it with mushrooms.

My dad was the one who introduced me to chicken marsala.  He used to order it all the time with loads and loads of mushrooms, and I would scrunch my nose up and make comments about how mushrooms were like cut up slugs.  Classy.  He wold offer me a bite, and it's safe to assume I never took him up on that offer.  Luckily for me, he began making it at home for the family, and knowing my proclivities, even made it without mushrooms.

For those who haven't had chicken marsala, it's a tender chicken breast covered in a sweet, buttery sauce.  Two chicken breasts actually create enough food for four people...unless you happen to love chicken marsala as much as me and John.  Best of all, this is a perfect weeknight meal that you can whip up after a hard day of lawyering (or doing whatever it is you do other than read my blog).

Chicken Marsala
Adapted from Emeril Lagasse

1/2 cup flour (seasoned with a shake of paprika, salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne pepper, oregano, thyme)
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut in half and pounded thin
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 tablespoons butter, divided
(3 cups sliced mushrooms, if you so desire)
3/4 cup marsala sweet wine
1 cup chicken broth
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

In a shallow bowl mix flour with seasonings.  Dredge chicken breasts in flour and shake off excess.

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in large pan over medium high heat until very hot.  Add one tablespoon butter and add the four pieces of chicken.  Cook until lightly browned on both sides, about three minutes per side.  Transfer to a plate for a moment.  Add another tablespoon butter and if you are interested, add mushrooms and cook until mushrooms are browned.  Add 3/4 cup marsala and bring to a boil, scraping to remove browned bits.  When the sauce is reduced by half, add 1 cup chicken broth and cook for three minutes until sauce has thickened.  Lower heat to medium and add the chicken breasts to the pan again and continue to cook until chicken is fully cooked and sauce is thickened.  Stir in remaining two tablespoons of butter and salt and pepper to taste.  Serve chicken topped with sauce.

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