If you’re not familiar with Chicken Marsala, it is an Italian-American dish of rich golden colored pan-fried chicken cutlets and mushrooms in a rich Marsala wine sauce. It appears on most classic Italian restaurant menus, but it’s really quite easy to concoct at home. So if you haven’t already made it, why not give it a whirl and impress your family—or just yourself!
Not a fan of the ultra-thin, pre-sliced cutlets, I buy the boneless split breasts and pound them down myself, mainly because it’s a much cheaper way to go. If your chicken breasts are large, first cut them horizontally, then in half vertically to form eight flat fillets, and pound them to an even 1/4-inch thickness.
Marsala is a brandy-fortified wine from Sicily that is worth adding to your pantry, if only to make this dish time and again; it will keep in a cool, dry spot for months. But please, do not buy the grocery store cooking marsala which is mostly salt, get a decent brand from your liquor store, it truly makes a difference especially when using the amount needed here.
Since I was winging it, I started out with a 12-inch stainless steel pan. In the end, it wasn’t quite big enough to hold everything once it was time to add the chicken back to the sauce. So, after the marsala sauce reduced down and got happy from all of the browned bits left in the pan, I added the browned chicken cutlets to a larger skillet, poured the sauce over, cover and cooked for several minutes for the meat to heat through. Word to the wise: start with a very large skillet.
This recipe yields a lovely sauce that is wonderful over pasta, polenta, rice, or mashed potatoes. Our side was Parmesan Garlic Mashed Potatoes, which are simply heaven-on-earth! I listed the ingredients below. Just go ahead and boil your peeled potatoes until tender, add the ingredients, and beat with a hand mixer until smooth.
Chicken Marsala with Parmesan Garlic Mashed Potatoes
- 2.5 lbs. boneless skinless chicken breasts, pounded ¼-inch thick
- 6 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp. salt, divided
- 3/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper, divided
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- 4 Tbsp. unsalted butter, divided
- 1 lb. cremini mushrooms, sliced
- 2 medium shallots, finely chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 1/3 cup dry Marsala wine
- 1 1/3 cup chicken broth
- 1 1/3 cup heavy cream
- 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh thyme
- 4 Tbsp. chopped fresh Italian parsley, for serving
- Place the flour, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a ziplock bag. Add the chicken to the bag; seal bag tightly and shake to coat chicken evenly. Arrange on a platter, cover with plastic wrap and store in the fridge until ready to use.
- Heat the 1 tablespoon oil and 1 tablespoon of the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. (Use a large stainless steel pan for the best browning.) Place the flour-dusted chicken in the pan, shaking off any excess first, and cook, turning once, until the chicken is golden and just barely cooked through, about 5 to 6 minutes total. Transfer the chicken to a plate and set aside. Repeat the process with another tablespoon each of oil and butter and the remaining chicken cutlets.
- Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter in the pan. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring frequently, until the mushrooms begin to brown, 3 to 4 minutes.
- Add the shallots, garlic, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt; cook for 1 to 2 minutes more.
- Add the wine, broth, heavy cream, thyme, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper; use a wooden spoon to scrape up any brown bits from the pan into the liquid.
- Bring the liquid to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium and gently boil, uncovered, until the sauce is reduced by about half, slightly thickened, and darkened in color, about 20-25 minutes (it won’t start to thicken until the very end of the cooking time).
- Add the chicken back to the pan, along with any juices that accumulated on the plate. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until the chicken is warmed through and the sauce thickens a bit more, 3 to 5 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley and serve.
Parmesan Garlic Mashed Potatoes
- 3 lbs. combination of Russet and Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and
- 1/4 cup heavy cream, room temp
- 1 Tbsp. roasted garlic paste
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. white pepper
We served ours with a simple side salad to add color and fiber.