Chicken Marslaa ~ Yesterday’s mushroom hunting adventure has inspired me to work with some mushrooms of the edible variety. Marsala sauce is one of those things that is so easy to make, yet it feels like fine cuisine.
It’s really versatile; you can drape it over anything and create instant elegance. There are subtle variations to this sauce, but the bare bones include mushrooms, shallots, chicken stock and Marsala wine. You can use a splash of cream like I did if you want.
Dried mushrooms are the most amazing ingredient, they had more flavor than just about anything else. Let them soak in a cup of warm stock for about half an hour to bring them back to life.
Shallots are one of the elements that give a Marsala dish its distinctive taste. If you don’t have them you can substitute onions, but you should always have a supply of shallots on hand.
Be sure to get your pan nice and hot before adding the chicken…you want it to sizzle on contact so you will get that beautiful browning.
The sauce only takes a few minutes. For such a classic Continental dish it’s surprisingly simple to put together.
Marsala wine is a fortified wine from Italy. It’s fortified with extra alcohol and has a hint of sweetness. If you can’t find it, use Sherry or dry white wine.
The flour coating on the chicken will help thicken the sauce. Don’t forget to taste as you go to adjust the seasonings the way you like them.
- 2 chicken cutlets, or 2 breasts, pounded thin
- a little milk and flour (seasoned with salt and pepper) for coating the chicken
- 2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms, any variety
- 1/3 cup dried mushrooms
- 1 large or 2 medium shallots
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 1/3 cup Marsala wine (or cooking sherry, or plain old white wine)
- I Tbsp butter
- olive oil
- splash of heavy cream
- salt and fresh pepper
- fresh thyme sprigs
- Start by reconstituting your dried mushrooms— let them soak in a cup of warm stock for about half an hour.
- Wipe your fresh mushrooms with a damp cloth to clean, and then slice them. Slice the shallots thinly.
- Strain out the soaked mushrooms, reserving the stock. Slice them as well.
- Coat the bottom of a large saute pan with olive oil and preheat. Dip the cutlets in the milk, and then dredge in the seasoned flour, coating each piece completely. Saute till golden brown on both sides and just cooked through. Set the chicken aside on a plate.
- In the same pan melt a pat of butter with a drizzle of olive oil and saute the shallots and mushrooms for a few minutes.
- Pour in the reserved stock and wine, season with salt and pepper, and let it simmer to reduce down by about 1/3. This will take 5 to 8 or so minutes, depending on how high you have your heat. If you want you can sprinkle in a some Wondra flour to thicken the sauce further, but in any case when you add the chicken back in, the sauce will thicken a little more from its flour coating. Add the splash of cream, if you’re using it.
- Lay the chicken back into the pan, nestling it down into the mushrooms and their sauce. Add the sprigs of thyme, and taste for seasoning.
- Heat the chicken through, and serve, spooning the sauce over the chicken.