Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Chicken Marsala

I put a ton of thought in to what recipe I wanted to start my blog off with.  I wanted it to be something sophisticated but also simple.  I wanted something that makes you say Yum when you take that first bite.  I wanted different flavor layers and I wanted to impress all of you.  Chicken Marsala was the answer to my thoughts.  Marsala is seen as an elegant and formal dish.  It is the kind of meal you order when you go out to a really nice Italian restaurant.  It's the kind of food that should be thoroughly enjoyed one bite at a time.  It's a classic dish and I am going to share with you how I make my delicious version of it.

Lets start off with the ingredients you are going to need.

Chicken-  I recommend to buy chicken tenderloins.  The tenderloin is the best part of the breast meat on the chicken.  It is tender and there is absolutely none of that chicken fat or skin which can be tricky to take off sometimes.  I also love the size of the tenderloin.  It is going to allow you to put a few nice uniform pieces of meat on the plate instead of one big piece.  You of course can also go with the tradition boneless skinless chicken breast if you choose.  If you go that route I would just cut each breast in half and maybe pound it out a little bit.

When buying your chicken I recommend three tenderloins per person.  They are kind of small and 3 just looks the best when you plate the food.  Of course you can always buy more if you love leftovers like me.

Marsala Wine-  Do not.... I repeat Do NOT get Marsala cooking wine from your grocery store if you want this to taste good.   Actually let me take this time to say never cook with any "cooking wine"  that you find in your local grocery store.  It is disgusting and you will not get the food to taste nearly as good if you use that stuff.  Take the extra ten minutes and go find a liquor store.  A Bottle of the cheapest wine that they have is going to taste a hundred and fifty times better than the cooking wine they have at your local market.  So go get your bottle of Marsala, you can thank me later while you are eating.

In the recipe I honestly just use the whole bottle. You certainly don't have to but Marsala is not the kind of wine that you are just going to drink on it's own.  It is pretty much only good for cooking in my opinion.  So use the whole bottle and let your food soak up the great flavor.  You can always discard extra sauce.

Mushrooms-  When I was younger I absolutely hated mushrooms.  I mean they were things that I could find in my backyard.  Why would people want to eat that stuff?  Since I have learned the art of cooking I have found the mushroom to be one of my greatest allies.  They are great!  They pretty much soak up the flavor of whatever you are cooking and add a small earthy tone to it in the background.  One day I am going to do an ode to the mushroom post but for now let's talk about what kind you should pick up for your Marsala.

You can go two ways with this.  You can get your ordinary white mushrooms that every single grocery store in the world has in packages that are pre-sliced and ready to go for you or you can be slightly more adventurous and go with a small button mushroom.  There really isn't a right choice here, it is all about preference.  When deciding what mushroom to use for your recipe, think about who you are cooking for.  If you are cooking for you and your immediate family then go with the white mushroom.  They are going to taste great and you won't be disappointed.  If you are trying to impress someone with your cooking prowess then go with the button mushroom.  Yes you are going to spend more time cleaning them and looking them over but button mushrooms look great on the plate. 

Noodle-  I know, I know "shouldn't that read Pasta?"  Not really I don't use the traditional Italian pasta when I cook my Marsala.  Before you turn your computer off and curse me for not using a traditional pasta in an Italian dish hear me out.  I use the Egg noodle.  I know it is not traditional and to tell you the truth I don't really care.  The egg noodle is great, it cooks fast and it holds up well.  The egg noodle will not break down overnight if you want to save some for your lunch at work the next day.  The egg noodle has that nice shape and looks good on the plate and most of all the egg noodle is delicious.  If you insist on using a regular pasta then go with a broad noodle or a penne.  Either will work but in the back of your mind you will be thinking about the egg noodle.  I'm warning you.

Garlic- There isn't all that much to say here.  I love garlic!  I put it in almost everything that I cook so this dish is no different.  Make it easy on your self if you don't like to peel and chop your own garlic than buy the chopped garlic in the jar,  it's not going to make a whole lot of difference and it is going to make your life easier in the long run.

Butter-  Yeah butter is butter for the most part.  The stuff you have in your fridge will be fine.

Eggs-  This is just to coat the chicken so just make sure you have 2-3 available

Flour- Your coating your chicken with this.  Don't be afraid to season your flour.  It makes the food taste better.  Salt, pepper, garlic and onion powder are always good things to mix in.

Cream-  Look sure you could kid yourself and go with milk or half and half and try and convince your mind that the dish is going to be more healthy that way but don't.  This is not something you are going to make all the time, you want it to be special.  Get a small container of heavy cream and embrace the dish.

Parsley- This is completely optional.  If you are cooking for a date then chopped fresh parsley on the top of your dish will make the dish pop to the eye.  If you are cooking at home for yourself than don't worry about it.  Parsley doesn't taste like a whole lot, it is totally a garnish to assuage the eyes.

Okay now that you have all of your ingredients it is time to cook.  Don't worry it will be painless and in the end you will be so happy with what you have created.

Get your pots and pans ready-  You are going to need a larger pot with a lid and a frying pan.  That's it two pans, I love when that happens.

In a bowl mix two eggs for about thirty seconds with a fork.  Just enough so the yolks and the whites are intermingling in the bowl.

On a plate get your flour down.  You can mix in the spices you would like to use.  Please add salt and pepper as a minimum.  I recommend using your garlic powder and onion powder as well.  These are just to taste so you don't need much of them.  After adding the spices mix the flour.

Okay now that you have done the prep work it is time to turn the burner that you have your frying pan on to medium heat.  Add 2-3 tablespoons of butter to the pan.

While the pan is heating up take your tenderloins and batter them.  Take the tenderloin and coat it in the flour, dip it in the egg and coat it in flower again.  Repeat for your other pieces of meat.

When the pan is nice and hot add the chicken to it.  You only need to brown the chicken.  Don't worry about making sure the chicken is all the way cooked because you will be finishing it in the pot.  The main thing to do is make sure that the coating on the chicken is nice and golden brown.

When the chicken is done cooking you are going to add it to the pot.  I like to layer my chicken and mushrooms.  Do a layer of chicken and then a layer of mushrooms and garlic and repeat until all of your chicken and mushrooms are in the pot.

Add about 1/4 cup of heavy cream and your bottle of Marsala wine to your pot and turn it on to medium heat.  Once your pot heats up and your food is simmering you can turn the heat down to medium low.

Here is the best part about this dish.  You can kind of cook it as long as you want.  As long as you cook it for at least 20 minutes.  The longer you cook it the deeper that Marsala flavor will be.  I usually cook it for about 35-40 minutes.  You can go as long as 2 hours if you want.  That's the thing folks cooking is not science, cooking is art and love and music.  You put your own spin on things and pour your personality and heart into it.  Have fun with cooking and you will find your food tastes better than if you think of it as a task.

About fifteen minutes before you are ready to eat boil and strain your egg noodles.  Just follow the instructions on the back it's super simple, no need for me to do in depth here.

To plate the food place some of  the egg noodles on the plate and then top with the chicken, mushrooms and sauce.  If you chopped some parsley then garnish the top of the dish with it.

It is now time to eat.  I hope you love this dish as much as I do.  I hope you had fun cooking it and I hope you will come back and read about some more of my favorite things to cook.  If you have something that you always wanted to make but never tried let me know and I will certainly find a delicious recipe and share it with you.  I love to cook and I hope that came through in this post.  I just want to share my passion with you.  I hope you enjoyed it!


  1. Hi Will
    Great recipe! Dad and I will try you version soon. We love you both talk to u later.

    Love Cheryl and Dad ..

  2. Thank you for sharing your recipe. It sounds good. I look forward to your next entry. I love steak so anything with some good old beef in it would be great!