I swear I will not complain once in this post about the six feet of snow in my yard. That would just be boring.
I can’t deny that as much as I like crappy weather, and I really do, I’ve just about had it.
Farmer’s Market, please.
Hello, lemonade, my old friend.
I’ve been doing my share of snow-shoeing, which is nice.
And cooking cozy breakfasts and dinners. Which sounds precious, but true. Give me a sweet potato pancake, scrambled eggs and a mug of hot tea and, well.
I’ve been thinking a lot about tweaking classic recipes during this cold and snowy winter and Chicken Marsala is an old favorite.
I haven’t made it in years – and I don’t eat chicken anymore myself – though I’ll happily cook it for family and friends.
One of the best versions of Chicken Marsala I’ve ever tasted was years ago at Martin’s Tavern in Georgetown. It’s one of those super comfy old restaurants with low lighting and dark wood walls – the kind of joint you never want to leave.
Dining there was such a treat I went back every time I returned to DC .
While this recipe isn’t from Martin’s, it’s every bit as wonderful.
I changed things up a bit and added sliced shallots and used three kinds of mushrooms: shiitake, crimini and white button – for a deep, hearty, comforting flavor.
The Marsala sauce is practically drinkable by itself.
And hey, why not try it sometime on soft polenta too?
- 2 large, skinless, boneless chicken breasts, between 8 and 10 ounces each - about 1 1/2 pounds total. (Note: I use organic, humanely raised hormone free chicken)
- Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 cup regular flour
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 3 strips of Applewood smoked bacon, cut into 1/2" pieces
- Shallot, sliced very thin and measured to 2 tablespoons
- Mushrooms: One generous cup each of crimini, white button and shitake mushrooms, sliced 1/2 " thick, about 10 ounces total
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 teaspoon tomato paste
- 1 1/2 cups Marsala wine (Note: I used dry, but sweet is very good too)
- 4 1/2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat leaf (Italian) parsley
- Sunflower oil
- Heat oven to 200 degrees with the oven rack adjusted to the middle.
- PREPARE THE CHICKEN BREASTS
- Cut the chicken in half horizontally and cover the chicken in wax paper or plastic wrap pound to an even 1/4 inch thickness with a meat pounder.
- Pat the chicken dry with a paper towel and season each slice with salt and pepper.
- Place the flour on a pie plate or regular large plate, and dip each chicken breast in flour, shaking off any excess, then transfer each piece to a separate plate.
- Heat 3 tablespoons oil in a 12 inch non-stick skillet over medium heat, place two chicken pieces in skillet and cook until golden brown on one side, about 3 minutes. Turn chicken over and continue cooking for 3 more minutes, until the chicken is no longer pink inside. Wipe out skillet, and repeat with remaining oil and the other two pieces of chicken.
- Place all chicken on a heatproof platter or shallow pie plate tented loosely with aluminum foil to keep them warm in the oven while you make the sauce.
- PREPARE BACON
- Place the 1/2" pieces of bacon in the now empty skillet on medium heat, and cook until crisp, stirring and scraping the pan bits with a wooden spoon until the bacon is crisp, about 5 minutes. Remove bacon and transfer to a paper-towel lined plate.
- COOK THE SHALLOTS
- Place the two tablespoons of shallot in the now empty pan, and cook until soft, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon, about 5 minutes.
- MAKE THE MUSHROOM MARSALA WINE SAUCE
- Add the mushrooms to the pan with the shallot, and cook in the skillet on medium heat, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon, until mushrooms are soften and lightly browned on the edges, 6-8 minutes.
- Stir in the minced garlic clove, tomato paste and the cooked bacon, continue cooking for one minute, remove pan from heat.
- Stir in the Marsala wine, a scrape up any bits from the bottom of the pan with your wooden spoon.
- Return to the heat, increase to medium high, and cook the mixture for about 5 minutes, or until the sauce is slightly thickened, stirring it occasionally.
- Turn off heat and stir in lemon juice and butter, another pinch of salt and pepper, and one tablespoon of the fresh parsley. Stir together.
- Remove chicken from the oven and place on a serving platter, pour warm sauce over the chicken and sprinkle with remaining fresh parsley and serve immediately.
- 4 servings.
Source: Studio Delicious, adapted from Cooks Illustrated