Sunday, December 20, 2009

Chicken Marsala with Mushrooms

This is an oldie but goodie, a leftover from the days when I was cooking for a picky eater who was only willing to try new dishes if they had mushrooms in them. I added mushrooms to a lot of recipes in an effort to get her to try new meals. When I went hunting for the origins of this recipe and found it in my 365 Ways to Cook Chicken, I was surprised to learn that I hadn’t added mushrooms. Instead, there are two very different versions of Chicken Marsala in the book, one with and one without mushrooms. After reviewing the version without the mushrooms, I think I’ll stick to this one.

I don’t pound the chicken breasts thin. They cook just fine in their normal plump state. And it was a lot easier to convince a picky eater to eat chicken that actually looked like chicken. I make my usual substitution of beef bouillon for beef stock. Really, other than would-be contestants on TV cooking shows, who has beef stock on hand these days? As for that “salt to taste”, it has been my unhappy experience that professional chefs like salt a whole lot more than I do. In the few restaurant versions I have sampled, salt has been added with such a heavy hand that it masks the delicate flavors of the wine and the chicken. I prefer my version.

Verdict: Yum!! This one’s a keeper!!

Chicken Marsala with Mushrooms
(source: 365 Ways to Cook Chicken)

3 tablespoons flour
½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, pounded to ¼-inch thickness
4 tablespoons butter or margarine
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
½ cup chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, chopped
½ pound mushrooms, sliced
3 tablespoons dry Marsala
⅔ cup beef stock
Salt to taste

Mix flour and pepper in a shallow dish. Dredge chicken in flour mixture to coat; shake off excess.

In a large frying pan, heat 2 tablespoons of the butter in oil over medium heat. Add chicken and cook until lightly brown, about 3 minutes a side. Remove and keep warm. Add onion and garlic and sauté until onion is tender, about 3 minutes. Add mushrooms and cook until they are lightly browned, 3 to 5 minutes.

Return chicken to pan, stir in Marsala and beef stock. Bring to a boil reduce heat, and simmer until liquid reduces by one-third. Whisk in remaining butter. Season with salt and additional pepper to taste.

Recycle: vegetable oil bottle, wine bottle

Compost: onion skins, garlic skins

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