Thursday, July 5, 2012

Chicken Marsala


In general, I prefer working with beef or pork over chicken, but chicken is cheap and every bit as versatile – maybe more so. With a big bottle of Marsala wine sitting in the cupboard mostly unused, I decided I’d put it to good use and try my hand at chicken Marsala. The resulting dish was pretty tasty, if not exactly the most traditional rendition.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. “Where are the mushrooms?” Well, I’m no fan of mushrooms, so I left them out. I will, however, include the mushroom step from the original recipe so that you may add them yourself if you wish. Also, though the meal turned out to be delicious, I did make a few mistakes along the way, and I’ll detail them in the “Additional Notes” section at the bottom of the recipe so that you might avoid making those same mistakes.

Recipe adapted from

Difficulty: Relatively Easy
Active Prep Time: About 30 minutes
Total Prep Time: About 30 minutes
Special Equipment: Meat Mallet or Rolling Pin (for tenderizing)
Serves: 3 – 4

Essence (Emeril's Creole Seasoning) Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon dried leaf oregano
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme

Chicken Ingredients

  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon Essence
  • 3 - 4 (6 to 8-ounce) boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut in halves and pounded thin
  • 1 package farfalle (Egg noodles are pictured below, but don’t mind that)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 3 cups sliced mushrooms (cremini, oyster, shiitake)
  • 3/4 cup Marsala wine
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Chopped chives, for garnish



(Start off making your Essence seasoning)

1. In a small bowl, mix together paprika, salt, garlic powder, black pepper, onion powder, cayenne pepper, oregano, and thyme. Store in an airtight container or jar.

(Move on to chicken prep. Also, begin cooking your pasta according to the instructions on the package)

2. Cut chicken breasts into halves or thirds. Cover them with wax paper and use a meat mallet or rolling pin to pound the pieces thin.

3. In a plate or shallow bowl, combine the flour and Essence and stir to combine thoroughly. Quickly dredge the chicken breast halves in the seasoned flour mixture, shaking to remove any excess flour.


4. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until very hot but not smoking.

5. Add 1 tablespoon of the butter and cook the chicken breasts until golden brown on both sides, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate and set aside.



6. Add 1 tablespoon of the remaining butter to the pan and add the mushrooms. Cook, stirring frequently, until mushrooms are golden brown around the edges and have given off their liquid.

7. Add the Marsala wine and bring to a boil, scraping to remove any browned bits from the bottom of the pan.


8. When the wine has reduced by half, add the chicken stock and cook for 3 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened slightly.

9. Lower the heat to medium and return the chicken breasts to the pan and continue to cook until they are cooked through and the sauce has thickened, about 5 to 6 minutes.


10. Swirl in the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, add salt and pepper, to taste.

11. Lay chicken over noodles, garnish with chopped chives, and serve immediately.

Additional Notes:

I accidentally skipped the step about pounding the chicken thin with a mallet, and that had an effect on the rest of the dish. The chicken required a few more minutes to cook than the recipe states, and because of that, more of the sauce boiled away. So if you plan to skip the mallet step like I did, my advice is as follows:

  • In step 5, cook chicken for 4 minutes per side instead of 3.
  • Use 1 cup of Marsala wine and 1½ cups of chicken stock instead of 3/4 of a cup and 1 cup respectively. That way you’ll have more sauce leftover to top the chicken.

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