Recipe – Chicken Marsala

August 20, 2008 at 10:20 am 5 comments

My wife comes from a Sicilian family, so needless to say, her palate for Italian flavors is well developed. That being said, as snobby as she can be about Italian food, I’ve always wanted to prepare something traditionally Italian for her – and to execute it well.

I’m happy to report that last night, I hit a home run with an adaptation of Gourmet’s version of Chicken Marsala.

Let’s do it.


  • 1 3/4 cups chicken broth (14 fl oz)
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped shallot
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 10 oz mushrooms, trimmed and thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh sage
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 skinless boneless chicken breast, cut into halves or thirds for larger breasts(1 lb total)
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons dry Marsala wine
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

1. Bring chicken broth to a boil in a 2-quart saucepan over high heat, then boil, uncovered, until reduced to about 3/4 cup. This took about 20 minutes

2. 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. Remove from heat.

3. As your shallot and mushrooms marry, put flour in a wide shallow bowl and season with salt and pepper. 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.

4. Pat chicken dry and season with salt and pepper, then dredge in seasoned flour, 1 piece at a time, shaking off excess. Transfer to sheets of wax paper, arranging chicken in 1 layer.

5. Heat 1 tablespoon each of oil and butter in a 12-inch heavy saucepan 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 platter, arranging in 1 layer. Wipe out skillet with paper towels and cook remaining chicken in same manner.

6. In the same pan your chicken was sauté d, add 1/2 cup sweet Marsala wine to and boil over high heat, stirring and scraping up brown bits, about 30 seconds. Add reduced chicken broth, cream, and mushrooms, then simmer, stirring occasionally, until sauce is slightly thickened. Introduce chicken to the pan after 4 minutes, and simmer for additional 2 to 4 minutes. Just before plating, add lemon juice 2 tablespoons wine and 1/2 teaspoon sage.

Serve with your favorite pasta. Vita and I went with whole wheat spaghetti because we were very low on fettuccine.

We served our Chicken Marsala with a field green salad with bell peppers, spanish olives and feta cheese, a selection of Italian meats and fresh buffalo mozzarella cheese and marinated mozarella balls. To help soak up the extra Marsala sauce, we provided ourselves with roasted garlic Italian bread.

All in all, I spent about an hour in the kitchen on this, despite having done some prep work on Monday night. Since I commute such a long time each night, I probably won’t tackle this one on a weeknight again, but in all honesty, it was the most fun I’d had in my kitchen for some time and I was blown away by how good it was. I don’t normally impress myself with my own cooking, but I’d put my adapted version of Chicken Marsala up against any local Italian joint we have in southeast Michigan.

If you give it a go, let me know how it works out. Just be sure you use a sweet Marsala. We went with Lombardo, which I picked up at Holiday Market for $9.99. Don’t go cheap on the wine, it’s crucial to the development of the sauce. It’s not as difficult as you might imagine it would be, and the payoff on the flavor makes any hassle in cleanup or preparation well worth it. Happy cooking.


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5 Comments Add your own

  • 1. kat  |  August 20, 2008 at 2:17 pm

    That is a fine looking meal & one I’d be happy to have my husband serve me!

  • 2. Daniel Eizans  |  August 20, 2008 at 2:58 pm

    Thanks Kat. I just wish my table looked a little better. I was so tired after cooking that I let my presentation slip a bit. 🙂 Also, my table looks like it could use a better centerpiece.

  • 3. Vita Randazzo-Eizans  |  August 20, 2008 at 8:21 pm

    1. This meal was absolutely fantastic, and I’m so lucky to have a husband who loves to cook.
    2. Just because one does not consider “The Olive Garden” to be authentic Italian does not make them a snob, however I believe having a food blog and frequenting Chowhound, Cork’d and other such sites may indicate food snobbery… 😉

  • 4. Vita Randazzo-Eizans  |  August 20, 2008 at 8:22 pm

    1. This meal was absolutely fantastic, and I’m so lucky to have a husband who loves to cook.
    2. Just because one does not consider “The Olive Garden” to be authentic Italian does not make them a snob, however I believe having a food blog and frequenting Chowhound, Cork’d and other such sites may indicate food snobbery… 😉
    3. The centerpiece is just fine. Someone just told me we’d get there bit by bit.

  • 5. Michelle Minor  |  September 21, 2008 at 10:05 pm


    Here’s a different twist I use on my Chicken Marsala: I cube the chicken breasts, sprinkle them lightly with salt and pepper, dredge them in flour, them brown them well in extra virgin olive oil. Instead of adding cream to the Marsala sauce, I add homemade chicken broth. I also toss in a tablespoon of powdered porcini mushrooms, in addition to the white crimini button mushrooms.

    Let me know if you want the complete recipe. It’s from my great auntie and uncle, immigrants from Sicily who operated an Italian restaurant in New York when I was growing up.


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