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What's Your Best Chicken Marsala Recipe?

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I have tried this a few times with average results. I have had a really good one somewhere when I was traveling but have no idea what they did differently. My recipe is pretty standard and so is the taste but here it is:

2 Chicken breasts
1 1/2 cup chicken stock
2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp olive Oil
1 cup sweet Marsala wine
1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
1 shallot, minced

Filet chicken breasts in half then pound thin to 1/4 inch. Lightly salt and pepper, dredge in flower, brown both sides 3 min in butter and oil. Remove, add more butter, mushrooms, shallots and cook for 3 min, add flower, cook 2 min. Deglaze with wine, reduce by half, add chicken broth. Simmer, return chicken for 3 min plate and serve with sauce.

Chicken is very tender, but it just seems like its lacking something. Should I add cream? Mystery ingredient? Any suggestions?

FYI Recipe on back of Marsala bottle is actualy a sage butter sauce if you take a look, is that traditional?

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  1. Although I don't have a killer recipe (hoping to see one here). It looks like you are using Marsala cooking wine from the food isles, which would have less alcohol and have salt added so as not to be drinkable, instead of the Marsala wine from the wine section (drinkable). I know from experience cooking sherry and drinkable sherry are two different animals... so maybe its that simple?

    2 Replies
    1. re: just_M

      It was using a $20 bottle from the liquor department imported from Italy. Most super markets have a full liquor isle these days, at least where I live in CA. It was definatly drinkable, I taste tested :)

      1. re: kjonyou

        I was just guessing because most "liquor dept" wines don't have recipes on the bottle. I certainly wouldn't mind if they started though. That could be fun, the wine company providing a recipe for a great pairing :-)

    2. I've been wanting to make chicken marsala, so I'm looking forward to reading some suggestions. Your recipe looks similar to most of the ones I've read.

      7 Replies
      1. re: Reston

        I think a key step is to allow the mushrooms to nicely brown over medium flame. When they first start to release their liquid, leave them alone, and cook till almost dry. Then add the shallots (a gotta-have ingred.). Scrape with a wooden spoon for a minute. Then add the Marsala. Dry Marsala, imported, and not the type from the supermarket! Even a good quality Marsala is way under ten bucks. Again, when cooked almost dry, then add the chicken stock. Reduce by half, add the chicken, and check seasoning. I always add an ounce of heavy cream, and some chiffonade basil from the garden. Also, if you have any dried porcini on hand in your pantry, add a small pinch of the powder from the bottom of the mushroom container. Another boost of flavor. This is a home run method.

        1. re: chefdaddyo

          Exactly the kind of tips I was looking for, Thanks!

          1. re: chefdaddyo

            That sounds amazing! I can't wait to try it. Thank you

            1. re: chefdaddyo

              But isnt that stuff in the dried Porcini mostly dirt? I mean, most people soak the dry ones in water and discard the stuff that falls to the bottom which is dirt.. Are you talking about some other form of Porcini powder?

              1. re: chefdaddyo

                I usually reomove most of the liquid from mushrooms prior to sauteing them by putting them in a bowl, covering it with plastic wrap and nuking in the microwave for 4 minutes. Once the liquid is poured off, they will brown better and faster. If you want more mushroom flavor, add the mushroom liquid to the chicken stock.

                We like the sauce so we double up on it. We like ours thicker so I thicken it with a flour slurry. Most recipes just call out a mounted pan sauce.

                I use the best chicken stock I have and I still boost the chicken flavor with low sodium "Better Than Bouillon" chicken base.

                Definitely, add some broken up prosciutto. That really helps. I use 3 or 4 ounces in a batch big enough for 5 or 6.

                On choice of marsala, I like the sweet style. Others like the dry style. Some like to spend big bucks. I go to the liquor store and buy the $12 a bottle stuff - sweet style. But I'm not all that sophisticated. You will just have to try one with dry and one with sweet to find out which you like unless somebody you know has some you can taste.

                Chicken Marsala is good even great, so keep trying until you get the recipe you like. I have never heard a disparaging remark about mine. You know to serve it over pasta, right? I like bowties but angel hair is popular.

                1. re: Hank Hanover

                  I kinds feel bad that I didn't post my recipe but I had posted it on another thread. But here goes.

                  Chicken Marsala - HH

                  Ingredients:

                  2 cups chicken stock
                  2 tablespoons finely chopped shallot
                  5 tablespoons unsalted butter
                  10 oz mushrooms, trimmed and thinly sliced
                  1 1/2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh sage
                  1/4 teaspoon salt
                  1/8 teaspoon black pepper
                  1 cup all-purpose flour
                  5 skinless boneless chicken breast halves
                  2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
                  2 cups sweet Marsala wine
                  ½ cup heavy cream
                  1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
                  4 oz prosciutto
                  4 Tbls flour in slurry

                  Directions:

                  Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 200°F.

                  Pound chicken to 1/4 inch thick. Season chicken with salt and pepper and dredge with flour.

                  Heat 1 tablespoon each of oil and butter in a 10-inch heavy skillet over moderately high heat until foam subsides, then sauté half of chicken, turning over once, until golden and just cooked through, about 4 minutes total. Transfer cooked chicken to a large heatproof platter, arranging in 1 layer, then put platter in oven to keep warm. Wipe out skillet with paper towels and cook remaining chicken in same manner, then transfer to oven, arranging in 1 layer.

                  Turn down heat and sweat shallot in 3 tablespoons butter, stirring, until shallot begins to turn golden, about 1 minute. Add prosciutto and allow it to render some fat.

                  Add mushrooms, 1 teaspoon sage, salt, and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid is evaporated and mushrooms begin to brown, 6 to 8 minutes. Remove from heat.

                  Add 1 cup wine to skillet and boil over high heat, stirring and scraping up brown bits, about 30 seconds. Add stock, cream, and flour slurry then simmer, stirring occasionally, until sauce is slightly thickened, 6 to 8 minutes. Add lemon juice and 1/2 teaspoon sage.

                  Serve chicken with sauce.

                  I usually serve this over egg noodles or bow tie pasts but linguine or even rice would work.

                  The only task that takes any time is pounding the cutlets.

                  Oh most marsala recipes don't call for the flour slurry thickener. If you would rather have a pan sauce just eliminate the thickener. By the way... this sauce is so good that you will make more and more sauce every time you make it.

                  1. re: Hank Hanover

                    "I usually reomove most of the liquid from mushrooms prior to sauteing them by putting them in a bowl, covering it with plastic wrap and nuking in the microwave for 4 minutes."

                    If you saute fresh mushrooms on high heat the water comes out and then eventually evaporates and/or gets reabsorbed. The mushrooms get brown and caramelize beautifully and all it takes is about 5-7 minutes total cooking time.

              2. This is a really delicious and easy recipe. It's my adaptation of a recipe from the "Best Recipe" cookbook. Although the original recipe called for sweet Marsala, I prefer the dry Marsala listed in the ingredients below.

                Chicken Marsala
                Serves 2-4

                4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (5-6 ounces each), pounded thin
                1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
                Salt and freshly ground pepper
                2 TB vegetable oil
                12-16 ounces white mushrooms, sliced or quartered
                1 medium clove garlic, minced
                1 TB tomato paste
                1 ½ cups dry Marsala (imported)
                1 ½ TB lemon juice
                5 TB unsalted butter or margarine, cut into 5 pieces
                2 TB minces fresh parsley leaves

                1. Adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position, place a large heatproof dinner plate on the rack, and heat the oven to 200°

                2. Pat the chicken breasts dry. Place the flour in a shallow baking dish or pie plate. Season both sides of the chicken cutlets with salt and pepper to taste. Working with one cutlet at a time, coat both sides with flour. Shake to remove excess flour; set aside.

                3. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a 12-inch heavy-bottomed sauté pan over medium-high heat until shimmering. Place the floured cutlets in a single layer in the pan and sauté until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Using tongs, flip the cutlets and cook on the second side until golden brown and the meat feels firm when pressed with a finger, about 3 minutes longer. Transfer the chicken to the heated platter and return the plate to the oven.

                4. Return the skillet to medium-high heat and add 1 tablespoon of butter. When the butter has melted add the mushrooms. Sauté, stirring occasionally and scraping the pan bottom, until the liquid released by the mushrooms evaporates and the mushrooms begin to brown. Add the garlic and tomato paste and cook, stirring constantly, until the tomato paste begins to brown, about 1 minute. Off the heat, add the Marsala to the pan. Return the pan to high heat and simmer, scraping the browned bits from the pan bottom, until the sauce is slightly syrupy and reduced to about 1 ¼ cups, about 5 minutes. Off the heat, add the lemon juice and any accumulated juices from the chicken. Whisk in the butter, 1 tablespoon at a time. Stir in the parsley and season with salt and pepper to taste. Pour the sauce over the chicken and serve immediately.

                1. Everybody has their own favorite. Here's mine:

                  Chicken Marsala
                  2 tbs butter
                  1 tbs oil
                  4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
                  4 slices mozzarella cheese
                  1 tbs parsley
                  3 cloves minced garlic
                  1/3 to 1/2 cup Marsala Wine
                  Cream of mushroom soup (see below)
                  1 cup heavy cream
                  1 small can sliced or chopped mushrooms (optional)
                  Salt and pepper to taste
                  Pasta (penne’ is our preferred)
                  Instructions
                  1. Preheat oven to 200.
                  2. Brown chicken in oil and butter till done and juices run clear. Sprinkle with parsley. Place in oven-proof pan and cover each piece of chicken with with a slice of cheese and place in oven to keep warm.
                  3. To original pan, add garlic and brown slightly. Then add Marsala and stir in heavy cream into pan. Stir in soup and mushrooms.
                  4. Cook 3 minutes or until sauce thickens.
                  5. Serve sauce over chicken and pasta.

                  Cream of mushroom soup – from http://www.free-gourmet-recipes.com/l...
                  16-ounce can or jar sliced mushroom (I prefer to saute fresh mushrooms
                  )1 tbsp acceptable vegetable oil
                  3 tbsp all-purpose flour
                  1 bay leaf
                  1/3 cup skim milk
                  1 tbsp nonfat butter granules
                  Freshly ground black pepper to taste
                  1/8 tsp garlic powder

                  Drain the liquid from the mushrooms into a measuring cup and add water, if needed, to bring the total liquid to 1/2 cup. Set aside.
                  In a small saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add flour and bay leaf, stirring constantly for 1 minute. Gradually add mushroom liquid , milk, butter granules and pepper, stirring constantly until mixture thickens, about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove pan from heat. Remove and discard bay leaf.
                  Pour into a blender or the work bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade and blend until smooth. Add mushrooms and garlic powder. Blend until pureed.

                  Use this when a recipe calls for condensed cream of mushroom soup.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: boyzoma

                    Yeah, Boyz, I've also done it with the (fresh) mozz. The kiddies love it that way, and with the pasta. But in doing this method, I always add some chopped prosciutto along with the shallots. It's a winner!

                    1. re: chefdaddyo

                      Porsciutto, nice twist!

                  2. My dad taught me this variation of chicken marsala, and absolutely love it! (and please excuse the lack of amounts of ingredients....I taste my way through dishes I cook, so there is no exact science I use)

                    Boneless skinless chicken breasts (4-6)

                    Italian bread crumbs (enough to bread chicken)

                    variety of herbs, especially basil (oregano, rosemary, thyme, ect)

                    paprika

                    onion powder

                    garlic powder

                    seasoned salt

                    heavy whipping cream

                    olive oil (enough to sautee chicken)

                    Mix all ingredients except chicken, heavy whipping cream, and olive oil into 2 plastic shopping bags (2 in case there is a hole you don't see), pound chicken, coat in heavy whipping cream (i put the cream in a bowl for this), and put coated chicken in bread crumb mixture and shake well until evenly coated. You can also season the cream with the herbs/spices listed above, but not sure if it makes a difference or not. Place breaded chicken on rack for 15 or so minutes to allow breading to stick to the chicken before sauteing. Sautee chicken in olive oil until there is no pink in the middle on medium to medium high heat (when breading is nicely browned). Remove chicken and set aside in pan covered with foil in oven to keep warm.

                    shitake mushrooms (my favorite with this dish!)

                    Marsala cooking wine (I use Holland House brand, good flavor)

                    heavy whipping cream

                    Basil (a couple pinches)

                    Sautee mushrooms in pan using remains of oil from cooking chicken for 2 mins and remove/set aside. Drain oil from pan, but leave the remains from cooking the chicken at the bottom of pan to add flavor to the sauce (it is ok if a little oil remains). Pour 1 bottle (16 oz) of Marsala cooking wine into pan and boil until you no longer smell alcohol from the steam (real scientific huh, lol). Reduce heat for a simmer and add heavy whipping cream and mushrooms into wine reduction. Reduce until thick or add bread crumbs or other preferred thickener for desired consistency. Add basil during the last couple minutes of cooking your sauce.

                    I like to serve this over pasta that has been sauteed in olive oil with garlic, onions, bell peppers (any colors work, green for more robust flavor, yellow or red for lighter flavor), pinch of seasoned salt, and herbs (especially basil).

                    1. I make almost the same exact recipe as yours kjonyou only I use dry Marsala. To me, a chicken Marsala should be light; I never add cream. Maybe you are just used to heavier restaurant versions? One thing I do sometimes is to lay a very thin slice of prosciutto over one side of the chicken breast before flouring them. Then saute as directed making sure you lay the prosciutto side down first. The prosciutto adds a depth of flavor that is difficult to replicate with anything else.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: ttoommyy

                        Thats a cool tip thanks, I just did something similar to that with the prosciutto making a Chicken Saltimbocca. Basically the same thing only it uses regular wine and a sage leave. Different flavor but still tasty. I keep both recipes on hand.