Thursday, April 7, 2011

Easy, Elegant Chicken Marsala

I posted this picture on my Facebook page the other day, and even though the picture itself is terrible (I took it because my husband/photographer was busy), the food looked good enough to get a recipe request.  Pictured with the balsamic glazed asparagus is chicken marsala over whole wheat couscous.  Chicken marsala is not only delicious, it is surprisingly quick and easy to make.  Moving fairly quickly, this entire meal took about 30 minutes for me to make, and I had not prepped anything ahead.  In fact, the mushrooms hadn't even been cleaned yet.  (But you should be more organized than me and have that taken care of before you actually start cooking!) 

I prepared this with two boneless, skinless chicken breasts because I wanted each serving to have plenty of mushrooms and sauce, but you could easily do four chicken breasts with the quantities listed if you don't want to completely bury your chicken in mushrooms like I did. ;-)

Chicken Marsala

2 (or up to 4) bonless, skinless chicken breasts, pounded to no more than 1/2" thick (or buy the thin cut chicken breasts)
Flour (for dusting chicken)
Olive oil
3 cups sliced mushrooms
3/4 cup Marsala wine (Madeira works too)
1 cup chicken stock
2 Tbs. butter (real butter please)
Salt and Pepper to taste
Fresh Parsley, Chives, or Tarragon for garnish

Heat about a Tablespoon of olive oil in a fry pan over medium to medium high heat until it starts to shimmer (don't let it overheat and smoke).  Salt and pepper the chicken on both sides, then sprinkle flour over each side to coat (or put some flour in a dish or plate and dredge the chicken in it), shaking off the excess flour.  Place the chicken in the fry pan and cook to brown both sides, about 3 to 4 minutes per side.  When both sides are brown, remove the chicken from the pan and set it aside while you prepare the sauce.  Add the sliced mushrooms to the pan, adding more olive oil if necessary.  Cook mushrooms until they are golden brown.  Add the Marsala wine and heat to simmering.  Let the mushrooms and wine continue to simmer for several minutes until the wine is reduced by half.  Add the chicken stock, heat to simmering, and continue to simmer for several minutes until it reduces and thickens slightly.  Return the chicken breasts to the pan, continue to simmer over medium heat until the chicken is done, about 8 minutes or so, turning the chicken at least once during that time.  When the chicken is done, stir two Tablespoons of cold butter in to the sauce.  (If you wanted it really rich you could probably do four Tablespoons, but I liked it with two.)  Place each chicken breast on a plate, spoon an equal amount of mushrooms and sauce over each one, garnish with herbs if desired, and dig in!

I would suggest that you serve the chicken on a bed of couscous (make it with chicken or vegetable stock instead of water), mashed potatoes, or rice, and let the sauce drip down.  Yum!

This is a visually appealing and delicious meal, and no one will believe you when you tell them how fast and easy it is to make!

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