Saturday, March 27, 2010

Chicken Marsala with Mushy Peas

I loooooove mushrooms. And booze. And chicken. And cream. The solution? Chicken Marsala!! Marsala is an Italian fortified wine you can find at the liquor store. As for the mushy peas? Well, I like peas ... and for these, I added a few twists: asparagus and pesto. The result? Delish!!

For the Chicken Marsala:


  • 1 3/4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth (14 fl oz)
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped shallot
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 10 oz mushrooms, trimmed and thinly sliced (I used Oyster, Cremini and Shitake ... with Oyster mushrooms, you can just tear them ... it's kind of fun to do)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh sage
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 skinless boneless chicken breast halves; I used the filets or butterflied ones - they're already thin and cook quickly
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons dry Marsala wine
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream (whipping cream, but you could use 18%)
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  1. Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 200°F.
  2. Bring broth to a boil in a 2-quart saucepan over high heat, then boil, uncovered, until reduced to about 3/4 cup, about 20 minutes.
  3. Cook shallot in 3 tablespoons butter in an 8- to 10-inch heavy skillet over moderate heat, stirring, until shallot begins to turn golden, about 1 minute. Add mushrooms, 1 teaspoon sage, salt, and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid mushrooms give off is evaporated and mushrooms begin to brown, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
  4. Put flour in a wide shallow bowl. Gently pound chicken to 1/4 inch thick between 2 sheets of plastic wrap using the flat side of a meat pounder or a rolling pin (only do this step if you didn't buy the butterflied breasts).
  5. Pat chicken dry and season with salt and pepper, then dredge in flour, 1 piece at a time, shaking off excess. 
  6. Heat 1 tablespoon each of oil and butter in a 10-inch heavy skillet over moderately high heat until foam subsides, then sauté half of chicken, turning over once, until golden and just cooked through, about 4 minutes total. Transfer cooked chicken to a large heatproof platter, arranging in 1 layer, then put platter in oven to keep warm. If the leftover oil & butter is burnt, wipe out skillet with paper towels and cook remaining chicken in same manner, then transfer to oven, arranging in 1 layer.
  7. To the skillet you just used, add 1/2 cup wine to skillet and boil over high heat, stirring and scraping up brown bits, about 30 seconds. Add reduced broth, cream, and mushrooms, then simmer, stirring occasionally, until sauce is slightly thickened, 6 to 8 minutes. Add lemon juice and remaining 2 tablespoons wine and 1/2 teaspoon sage.
  8. Serve chicken with sauce.

For the peas:

  • 1-1/2 cups frozen peas
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 tbsp pesto (can be store-bought or home made ... this ingredient is also optional, but I really liked the flavour complexity it added)
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 6-8 spears of asparagus, chopped about 1/4" thick (around the size of a pea)
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • squeeze of a fresh lemon
  • salt & pepper to taste
  1. Boil water in a small saucepan; add the peas and cook until just heated through - about 1 minute. Drain the peas and set aside about a handful of them. 
  2. Return the rest of the peas to the pot. Add butter and cream and puree with a hand blender or mixer until smooth (small chunks are OK). Add the remaining whole peas back in, along with the pesto.
  3. Meanwhile, heat a small skillet over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil and asparagus. Season with salt. Cook until just al dente. Add asparagus to the pea mixture.
  4. Squeeze lemon juice in to taste.
Plate and serve!!

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