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Author Notes: Chicken marsala is such an easy "date night at home" dinner. Comforting food, good flavor, and very filling. It always makes the husband happy. I try to plan menus for the week, and every time I put my grilled chicken marsala on the calendar, I get an "oooooh ahhhhh that sounds good!!" from the hubby. I make this for dinner and have it for leftovers for lunch the next day, since it reheats really well. Traditionally, you usually flour and lightly pan fry the chicken, but I like it grilled. Grilling the chicken gives it a fresher taste and I like the bit of crunch from the edges getting grilled. Grilling is also not nearly as messy as a flour dredge; I like not having piles of dishes with chicken-goopy flour mess all over the kitchen. I do salt and pepper the chicken before grilling. I try to use baby bella / crimini mushrooms. I love getting them from the farmers market, but usually can find them in bulk at the grocery store. Regular white / button mushrooms work fine, too. I don't ever use pre-sliced mushrooms; they just don't taste the same. Also, for most all of my recipes, I push them through a calorie counter to get an approximate idea on how good/bad my recipes are. I know to some people this is really important, so I will include this information. One serving is about 360 calories, 10g fat, 125mg cholesterol, 475mg sodium, 14g carbs, 4g sugars, 40g protein —Laurel W
pieces boneless skinless chicken breast, 6oz each
baby bella / crimini mushrooms; if you like mushrooms, you can add more
cup marsala cooking wine (I prefer Holland House over Pompeian)
teaspoon corn starch
tablespoons butter, unsalted
flat leaf parsley, chopped (for color and taste) (optional)
salt/pepper, to taste
- Preheat grill; put your grill at a good temperature where you would usually grill chicken. I have found, since we've gotten a new grill recently, that heat pockets/temperature vary from grill to grill. Prepare the chicken breasts by pounding them lightly to flatten. They don't need to be as flat as if you were cooking them stovetop, but about 1/2" thick is good for being 'thin' but still 'grillable'. I do this by putting the chicken between two sheets of parchment paper and pounding with an old wine bottle. This also works well inside of a gallon-sized ziploc bag, if you don't have parchment paper. When all four pieces are flattened, give the chicken a quick sprinkle with salt and pepper before throwing them on the grill.
- Clean your mushrooms to get the dirt off and trim the stems as close to the cap as possible. Thinly slice all of your mushrooms.
- Heat a large saute pan on the stove (med-high to high). Add 1 Tbsp of butter. I add the butter in increments based on how the mushrooms are cooking. Start with less butter, and you can always add more later. I put about 3 Tbsp of butter for every 20-25 mushrooms. Saute mushrooms until they are browned nicely and softened to the touch.
- Now is a good time to put the chicken on the grill. Chicken can grill while you are working on your sauce. I usually have the hubby go outside and grill while I cook the sauce in the kitchen. You can also grill your chicken on a grill pan on the stove if you don't have a grill or it's just way too cold outside. Just keep a good eye on it, since you will be multitasking with the sauce at the same time.
- Once the mushrooms are browned nicely and softened, slowly add the 1 cup of marsala cooking wine. After a few minutes you will notice that the wine will start to simmer. Turn the temperature of the burner down just a little bit (medium-med/high). Make a "hole" in the center of your pan out of the mushrooms, so the mushrooms surround the edge of the pan and there is a pool of marsala wine in the middle of the pan. While stirring just the middle area, slowly sprinkle in the 1 tsp of corn starch. Make sure that you have all the clumps stirred in and the liquid is smoothed out. This will thicken the sauce very nicely. I have tried to do this without the cornstarch and just let the wine cook down and reduce, and the flavor just isn't right. I have also tried to add a bit of water first before reducing...still doesn't give it the right flavor or consistency. Once all corn starch is blended into the middle liquid, stir the entire pan of mushrooms and liquid together. Heat the pan back up (med/high to high) and let the liquid simmer and reduce slightly. You will want the sauce to look like its mostly mushrooms in more of a gravy looking sauce, than something too soupy. When you get it where you want it, add the chopped flat leaf parsley. I put in about 1 Tbsp of finely chopped parsley. It gives it a pop of green and adds a level of freshness to the sauce. You can now put the sauce onto Low heat until your chicken is done or you are ready to serve.
- Plate each chicken breast and pour 1/4 of the sauce over each piece. I like to serve with either couscous, capellini, or sometimes (if I have some extra time) creamy mashed potatoes. The hubby likes it with garlic bread to sop up all the leftover sauce.