Chicken Marsala: Make the Takeout
The subtle flavors of Marsala sauce, herbs, and mushrooms take an ordinary chicken on a trip to Sicily. Chicken Marsala is a favorite dish, whether you’re enjoying it with a good glass of Chianti and some house-made pasta at your local Italian trattoria or ordering it for takeout and pouring the wine at home. Save yourself some big bucks and make this surprisingly simple dish yourself. Its elegant taste belies how easy it is to cook up (we’ll give you the original and short versions to try).
First, buy some Marsala wine and keep it in your pantry. There really is no substitute for this fortified Sicilian red wine with the sweet flavor. “Fortified” means that it has alcohol added to it (such as brandy), for a bold flavor. (The alcohol was originally added, back in the 18th century, to preserve the wine for long periods.) Consult your recipe first to see which level of sweetness it calls for; Marsala comes in secco (dry), semisecco, and sweet varieties.
Now that you have your Marsala, try chef Tyler Florence’s Chicken Marsala recipe. All you’ll need is roasting pan, in which you’ll brown a whole chicken in hot oil. Then you’ll add garlic, thyme, mushrooms, and shallots to the hot roasting pan, add some salt and pepper, and allow the mushrooms and shallots to caramelize. After deglazing your pan with Marsala and chicken broth, you’ll add your chicken back to the pan, top it with a bit of butter, and cook for about 30 minutes, occasionally basting it with pan juices. With a side of pasta, dinner is on.
When you’re short on time, try this quick Chicken Marsala recipe, which you can make in a skillet on top of the stove. Made with chicken breasts pounded thin (instead of a whole chicken, as in chef Florence’s recipe), water instead of chicken broth, and scallions instead of shallots, and always with real Marsala, this is a busy cook’s answered prayer—at only 19 minutes of prep time.
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