Friday, November 20, 2015

Chicken Marsala

Yeah I still hate meat.  I hate cooking it and I hate eating it.  But sometimes, you gotta go what you gotta do.  And so sometimes, you gotta make chicken marsala for the carnivores in your life.  I have a direct quote that this meal is "life changing."  I'm pretty sure Jesse said it as a joke, but when my mom and Nick ate the leftovers, they agreed whole-heartedly.  I know it might be hard to take it from a vegetarian when I tell you a chicken dinner went well, so take it from them: this is a life-changing chicken marsala.

The chicken gets prepared first.  No, I did not like touching it.  But I bought chicken cutlets, so there was less touching necessary (otherwise the recipe recommended pounding the chicken flat... EW!).  It's salted and peppered, and coated with flour, then cooked on the stove.  I have to admit that I was a little panicky about cooking chicken in a skillet.  I don't think I have ever done that.  How the heck do you know if it's done or not!?  I like to bake things until there is no chance of salmonella!  Telling me to cook it for 3 minutes per side is really not enough for me.  I started to be sure that I was going to poison Jesse with raw chicken, but I refused to cut one open to check.  (Spoiler alert: he lived).

Anyway, then there's the sauce, and here is where the lives begin changing, I think.  Imagine this: pancetta (or bacon if you can't find that), mushrooms, garlic, and shallot, sweetened a bit by some tomato paste, cut with lemon juice, and of course that classic marsala flavor.  I ate some of the mushrooms, and even I can attest that the sauce was incredible.  If you're craving marsala, this is your sauce.

Serve this over mashed potatoes or egg noodles.  Just serve it.  Trust the vegetarian.  Or, if you don't, trust the carnivores who called it life changing.  If you want to take my word for something, roast some broccoli and sprinkle it with salt, pepper, and a little lemon juice.  Now that was life changing.


chicken marsala
from Annie's Eats

2 - 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
kosher salt
ground black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 slices bacon or pancetta, chopped
2 cups white or cremini mushrooms
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon minced shallot
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 1/2 cups Marsala wine
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (1 small lemon)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces, at room temperature
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves


1)Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position.  Place a large heatproof dinner plate on the oven rack, and heat oven to 200 degrees.  Heat a 12" heavy bottomed skillet over medium-high heat until very hot, about 3 minutes.  Pat chicken breasts dry.  Meanwhile, place flour in a shallow bowl or pie plate. Season both sides of chicken cutlets with salt and pepper.  Working one piece at a time, coat both sides with flour.  Lift breast from tapered end and shake to remove excess flour; set aside.

2) Add oil to hot skillet and heat until shimmering.  Place floured cutlets in a single layer in the skillet and cook until golden brown, about 3 minutes.  Using tongs, flip cutlets and cook on second side until golden brown and meat feels firm when pressed with finger, about 3 minutes.  Transfer chicken to heated plate and return to oven.

3) Return skillet to low heat and add pancetta or bacon.  Saute, stirring occasionally and scraping pan bottom loosen browned bits until pancetta is brown and crisp, about 4 minutes.  With a slotted spoon, transfer the pancetta to a paper-towel lined plate.  Add mushrooms and increase heat to medium-high; stirring occasionally and scraping pan bottom, until liquid released by mushrooms is evaporated and mushrooms begin to brown, about 8 minutes.  Add garlic and shallot and saute for one minute.

4) Add cooked pancetta and tomato paste.  Stir while sautéing, until tomato paste begins to brown, about 1 minute.  Off heat, add marsala.  Return pan to high heat and simmer vigorously, scraping browned bits from pan bottom until sauce is slightly syrupy and reduced to about 1 1/4 cups, about 5 minutes.  Off heat, add lemon juice and any accumulated juices from the chicken.  Whisk in butter 1 tablespoon at a time.  Season to taste with salt and pepper, and stir in parsley.  Pour sauce over chicken and serve immediately.

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