Thursday, January 12, 2012

Chicken Marsala

My little brother has been coming over a few nights a week for private cooking classes at my place. He vigorously takes notes as I walk him through the prep and ingredients laid out on my counter top. He called me during his lunch break today and requested an "easy chicken dish" for tonight's lesson.  We've been working on things like how to create simple (but delicious) salad dressings, perfectly steamed rice, and a proper bowl of pasta. I've been focusing on trying to get him comfortable with certain methods and the cooking process versus the actual recipes so that he can adapt and put together a nice dinner without having to be so exact in measuring every ingredient. 

When I started thinking about "easy chicken", chicken marsala came to mind;  a classic Italian dish composed of chicken, mushrooms, and reduced marsala wine. I was inspired by a version I'd seen on Giada's Everyday Italian show in which she ditched the chicken stock and heavy flour breading for mascarpone cheese and dijon mustard. This dish is wonderful over steamed brown rice or your favorite pasta - basically anything that you can soak up the sauce with. It is extremely comforting without being heavy and comes together using a super quick braise process on your stove top.  

There seems to be something almost romantic about chicken marsala and I'm not sure could be the essence of wine in the sauce or  the earthiness of the mushrooms or maybe the fact that as you are eating it your body feels overwhelmingly loved and nourished.  

It's just one of those special meals. 

Chicken Marsala
serves 3-4

1 1/2 lb thinly sliced chicken breasts
1 lb crimini mushrooms, sliced
6 garlic gloves, minced
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1 cup of marsala wine (sweet or dry)
2 T dijon mustard
8 oz mascarpone 
handful of parsley, chopped
salt and pepper, to taste

1. season your chicken breasts with salt and pepper and brown them in a large saucepan with a bit of olive oil. Once they are nice and golden brown, remove them and set aside.
2. add onions and mushroom to saucepan. Saute for a few minutes until softened. Add garlic and continue to saute until garlic becomes fragrant. 
3. add marsala and reduce by half. 
4. add mascarpone and dijon and stir until combined. add chicken back in. cover and let braise in sauce for 5-10 minutes. 
5. test for seasoning. add salt and pepper to taste. add chopped parsley. serve immediately.


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