New year, new-to-me ingredient! Chicken Marsala is a really delicious way to serve chicken, thanks to a balance of sweet, salty, buttery, and nutty.
I don’t know if you’ve noticed but for the past few years on the blog, I’ve been ringing in the new year with a recipe post that involves some form of liquor. Usually it’s a baked good, but this year I decided to write about this Chicken Marsala recipe, which I have been sitting on for a loooong while now. I don’t know why it took me this long to find an appropriate time to post this, given that it became one of my favorite recipes the moment I had my first bite!
Chicken Marsala aside, I want to take this opportunity to write my wishes and hopes for the blog this coming year. 2018 was a massive struggle for me because stuff happened that affected my creativity and motivation. It was hard to get out of that hole for a time, but it’s all sorted out now thankfully.
I don’t really believe in resolutions I suppose. I’m a ‘start anytime, stop anytime’ sort of girl. I don’t really put too much weight on the when because I have come to realize that I have this attitude where as long as I really want to do something, I’ll get up and do it. But I also appreciate the feeling of a fresh start the new year brings, and so for 2019, I thought I’d try a different approach for the blog.
My readership numbers have seen better days, but rather than pressure myself to write more more more and get burnt out, this year I want to go back to finding the fun in what I do here. I want to post more regularly than last year of course, but I want to write about more meaningful things rather than post for the sake of posting. I do have one vow, and that is to make more videos for my channel. It’s something I’m actually excited about! I want to be able to post at least one video every month.
My wishes for the blog and for myself are clearly pretty simple, and now it’s only a matter of sorting out my work time and my free time to do all these things. I’m feeling fairly optimistic though I know it won’t be easy. I will tell you what’s easy though: this Chicken Marsala recipe, with tomatoes and mushrooms that add color and umami to the tender and sweet juicy chicken!
What is Marsala?
Marsala is a fortified wine originating from Sicily. Made with a combination of white grapes and a distilled spirit (usually brandy), it is aged in casks and usually used for culinary purposes. It comes in two forms: sweet and dry. The sweet version has a higher sugar content and is perfect for making desserts, especially authentic tiramisu. Dry Marsala meanwhile is usually used in savory recipes and for drinking.
This version that I used is a cooking wine only. Basically it’s a watered down version of Marsala wine. As a general rule of thumb, I don’t cook with wine that I can’t drink on its own, but I decided to give this a go since I wanted to experiment cooking with Marsala in a cheaper and smaller scale. I believe I got this from Landers early last year and then cooked with it immediately, but I posted the recipe only now because I had planned to try this again with real Marsala wine to compare. (I forgot lol. Next time!)
Marsala wine versus Marsala cooking wine: Marsala cooking wine is different from actual Marsala wine in that it is made with Marsala wine plus salt and other seasonings. This Pompeian brand has 14% alcohol content but it is for cooking only. I honestly don’t think it would be an enjoyable experience to drink this, but I was quite pleased with the outcome of the recipe. I can’t imagine how much better it would be with actual Marsala wine!
If you have real Marsala wine at home, that would be better for the purposes of this Chicken Marsala. Dry Marsala would be the logical choice, but I’m not going to stop you if it’s sweet Marsala you have. However, I don’t want to be a snob about this cooking wine, because I honestly think my Chicken Marsala turned out really well even with just this.
This recipe version is super easy and is great for those who are new to Chicken Marsala, like myself. It’s built like a foolproof recipe, and the results are fantastic. As a first step, you want to sauté your mushrooms in melted butter, then add in the garlic and wine. Let it simmer to reduce then add in a slurry to thicken the sauce.
Just from the buttery look of this sauce, you can already tell it’s going to be delish!
In another saucepan, you’re going to pan-fry some chicken in butter and olive oil, until golden. The chicken has been dredged in some seasoned flour, and I really think that helps to improve the texture of the chicken and also helps the sauce to stick onto the chicken.
Finally, we mix together the chicken, the sauce, and the tomatoes. Make sure everything is well-coated, including the tomatoes. (I know I used too much chicken!) Allow the tomatoes to simmer in the sauce a bit until softened slightly. You can add salt and pepper as a last step if you wish. Just make sure to give it one last mix before dishing out.
And that’s that! This Marsala cooking wine pairs so well with chicken. It brings out sweet notes amidst the nutty flavor of the butter. The tomatoes pop with a burst of freshness in every bite, complementing the chicken and the mushrooms so well. My tastebuds were happy with this dish even though I ended up using too much chicken for the amount of sauce I ended up with. Nonetheless the flavor was still great especially after reheating!
If I managed to become a new fan of this ingredient called Marsala just with the help of a cooking wine, then maybe with real Marsala I’d fall head over heels!
Easy Chicken Marsala with Mushrooms & Tomatoes
- 100 grams long-stemmed mushrooms of choice
- 3 tablespoons butter, divided
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup dry Marsala wine*
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon cold water
- 2 tablespoons milk
- ½ teaspoon salt, or more to taste
- 500 grams boneless skinless chicken breasts, sliced into bite-sized pieces
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ⅓ cup flour
- 1 teaspoon favorite mix of dried seasoning, like a mix of basil, oregano, paprika, etc.
- Pinch of salt and pepper
- ½ cup sliced or cherry tomatoes
- 1. In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt 1 tablespoon butter. Add the mushrooms and saute for about 8 minutes, until golden brown. Add the garlic and Marsala wine. Give it a little mix to combine, then allow to simmer gently to reduce the wine, stirring only occasionally.
- 2. Meanwhile, mix together the cornstarch and cold water to make a slurry. After about 12 to 15 minutes, add in the cornstarch slurry, milk, and salt. The mixture should start to thicken slightly. Remove from heat and set aside for a moment.
- 3. In a bowl, combine the flour, seasoning, plus salt and pepper. Toss the chicken pieces in this mixture until coated. Shake off excess.
- 4. In another skillet over medium high heat, melt the remaining 2 tablespoons butter with the olive oil. Pan-fry the coated chicken for a few minutes on each side, until golden brown and cooked through. You might need to add more oil if you're cooking by batches on a small skillet. Transfer cooked chicken to the skillet with the sauce.
- 5. Return the skillet with the sauce and cooked chicken over medium heat and add in the tomatoes. Mix together until everything is well coated with the sauce. Let simmer briefly just until the tomatoes have softened a little. Transfer to a plate and serve. It's great with rice!