Anyone who knows me well knows I am not a huge fan of Italian food. I’ve never been a big pasta lover and usually the flavors and foods are way too heavy for my liking. When trying to think of something to cook for dinner, my mom mentioned that she had been craving chicken marsala. I’d never had it and immediately turned up my nose at the idea, but being the wonderful daughter that I am (har har…) I figured I would give it a shot. I researched a few recipes and then came up with my own that – not to toot my own horn – was pretty freakin’ fantabulous. Definitely something I will make again… and this time I’ll make sure to make about twice as much because there were NO leftovers.
4 chicken breasts, boneless and skinless
4 cups of button mushrooms
4 cups of marsala wine
4 cups of chicken broth
2 Tbsp. salt
2 Tbsp. pepper
3 cups + 1-2 Tbsp. flour
1 Tbsp. fresh oregano
1 Tbsp. fresh thyme
6 fresh basil leaves
(for the above 3 you can substitute dried spices or an italian herb mix)
2 Tbsp. canola oil
Slice the mushrooms into 1/4 inch slices and slice and pound the chicken breasts until about 1/2″ thick.
Pat the chicken dry. In a shallow dish, mix together the 3 cups of flour, the salt, and the pepper, and then dredge the chicken in it (you can see a few already dredged pieces in the upper right hand corner of the previous picture). Heat the canola oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat, just until it starts to ripple. Sear the chicken until beautifully brown on each side – it doesn’t have to be cooked all the way through since we’re returning it to the heat at the very end. Remove the chicken to a plate and tent with some aluminum foil. Toss the mushrooms into the hot oil (lower the heat if needed) and sautée for a minute or two. Pour in the madeira wine and let some of the alcohol cook out. Then, pour in the chicken broth. Add the fresh oregano, basil, and thyme leaves (or the dried spices if you’re using those). Simmer for a few minutes.
After the flavors from the spices have infused into the broth a bit, whisk in the remaining 1-2 Tbsp. of flour to thicken the broth. Allow to simmer more until almost as thick as a gravy, but not quite. Return the browned chicken to the pan, making sure to stir around the sauce enough that the breasts are coated. Let simmer another 2-3 minutes and then serve!
Although marsala wine is quite sweet, pairing it with the herbs and chicken broth lends it a much more savory quality, allowing you to choose from a host of white wines and maybe even some sweeter reds to drink with this. I’d suggest an Italian Pinot Gris for the sake of keeping it all in the family. Unfortunately I don’t have any specific ones written down in my wine journal since I’m not a big white wine drinker, especially when it comes to sweeter whites. I have a specific one in mind, so I’ll have to come back and update. Until then, happy drinking!