Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Chicken Marsala

I've noticed something as I have looked back over my blog....there are very few dinner posts in the most recent history!  Oops.  While cupcakes and muffins and sweets are beyond wonderful, sometimes a body needs a good, savory meal!

Quite honestly, for me this is more of a photography problem than a cooking problem.  I cook dinner most every night.  However, you see, I live in the woods.  While beautiful, woods are not nice for streams of natural lighting.  So, by the time dinner comes around, the light outside (if there is any this late in the year!) is a very cool blue.  Not cool for food.

Enter El Hub.  He built me a DIY lightbox.  It was very simple really, and the completion of this project (it took all of like 15 minutes to put together!) coincided perfectly with a wonderful, savory meal--chicken marsala!

I think that might still need to make some tweaks to my lighting, but overall, it worked like a charm and I am excited to have it for the upcoming days when it gets dark at like 3 pm (ok, so I exaggerate just a little!!).

And the chicken marsala?  Absolutely yummy!  After all, what's not to love about chicken and mushrooms, Italian-style?!  It took me about an hour from start to finish, but that time also included prepping a salad and making a side dish.  Even on a weeknight, the meal was well worth the time invested!

Chicken Marsala
Adapted from The New Best Recipe, by America's Test Kitchen

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut in half across to make cutlets
1 cup flour
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tbl. olive oil
2 1/2 ounces (about 3 slices) pancetta, diced (*I used some Genoa salami, since it was what I had on hand--pancetta is way better!)
8 ounces mushrooms, sliced (I used Baby Bella mushrooms)
1 garlic clove, minced or pressed
1 tsp. tomato paste
1 1/2 cups sweet Marsala wine
1 1/2 tsp. lemon juice
4 tbl. unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
2 tbl. fresh parsley, minced

Heat oven to 200 degrees and place a large, heatproof dinner plate (or baking dish) on rack.

Pat chicken breasts dry.  Place the flour in a shallow pie plate.  Season both sides of each chicken cutlet with salt and pepper.  One at a time, coat both sides of each chicken piece with flour.  Shake to remove excess flour and place on a plate; set aside.  Repeat with remaining chicken.

Heat the olive oil in a heavy skillet until shimmering.  Place the floured cutlets in a single layer in the skillet and cook until golden brown, turning once.  Transfer the chicken to the heated plate or baking dish in the oven.  Repeat a second time if necessary.

Return the skillet to low heat and add the pancetta.  Saute, stirring occasionally and scraping the pan bottom with a wooden spoon to loosen the browned bits, until the pancetta is crisp and browned, about 4 minutes.  With a slotted spoon, transfer the pancetta to paper towels to drain.

Add the mushrooms to the pan and increase heat to medium-high.  Saute, stirring occasionally, until the liquid released by the mushrooms evaporates and the mushrooms begin to brown, about 8 minutes.

Add the garlic, tomato paste, and cooked pancetta and cook, stirring constantly until the tomato paste begins to brown, about 1 minute.

Off heat and add the Marsala wine.  Return to high heat, simmer vigorously, scraping the browned bits  front he pan bottom, until the sauce is slightly syrupy and reduced to about 1 1/4 cups, about 5 minutes.

Off the heat, add the lemon juice and whisk in the butter, 1 tablespoon at a time until fully incorporated.  Stir in the parsley and season with salt and pepper.

Pour mushroom sauce over the chicken.  Serve immediately.

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