Chicken Marsala is a really simple Italian-styled dish to prepare and is incredibly flavorful. There’s a surprising number of recipes out there for this dish, but they do something to the sauce which takes away from it–dillute it with water, mix in cream, substitute in a non-Marsala wine ( 😮 ), and so on. The whole point of this dish is to take the distinctive flavor of Marsala wine and focus the attention on that. So with that in mind:
- 1-1.5 lbs chicken cutlets (veal scallopini would work wonderfully, as well!)
- ginger powder
- Italian-flavored bread crumbs
- knob of butter
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- ~2 cup Marsala wine (which is roughly one bottle of cooking Marsala wine)
- 1/2 cup Chicken broth
- 1/8 cup flour
- 2 handfuls of fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley leaves
- 8 oz small mushrooms (e.g. baby bella, or whatever kind you prefer)
- 1 egg
- 3-4 sprigs of fresh rosemary
- black pepper
- optional: dried sage
Trim your chicken and make good sized but thin pieces. You may need to hammer it thinner with a meat mallet or you might elect to simply butterfly/slice it thinly. Whatever floats your boat–just make it thin. You want these to fry easily and delicately and a thick piece of chicken is not very conducive to that.
We’re going to lightly bread the chicken, so first, beat the egg in a small bowl. In another small bowl, mix a little bit of ginger (not very authentic, I know–but adds a nice spicy sweetness to the breading) and the Italian-flavored bread cumbs, amounting at least 3/4 cup total.
Prepare the sauce in yet another bowl. Pour in both the Marsala wine and chicken broth. To help the sauce thicken up and look attractive later, mix in about 1/8 cup of flour. I feel like a Marsala dish should have a deep, rich looking (and tasting!) sauce and a little bit of flour helps make that happen.
Very coarsely chop the mushrooms to your taste and add to the bowl. Chop the parsely finely and toss that in along with ground pepper and sage to taste. Mix these well.
Finally, toss in the sprigs of rosemary. The flavor of fresh rosemary really adds an amazing twist to this dish and the dried stuff simply cannot compare, so if you were thinking of substituting it, don’t. If you haven’t worked with fresh rosemary before, you don’t need to pull the leaves off–keeping them on the sprig makes it much easier to remove later once you’re done cooking with them since nobody likes eating a mouthful of pine-flavored toothpicks . If a few stray leaves get off and mix into your sauce, no worries. Just no sense volunteering to put a few hundred strays in there.
So now with all of the prep out of the way, dip your chicken slices in egg and lightly dredge in the breading mixture.
Fry the chicken in just a little bit of olive oil and butter on medium/medium-high for roughly 10 minutes or so (6-8 if using veal) until the chicken is cooked (depends on thickness of the chicken). You could certainly skip the buter in the name of eating healthier, but I’m a big fan of the flavor it adds to the chicken. Flip once or twice to prevent burning. The chicken should come out a nice, light golden color.
Once the chicken is cooked, pour in the sauce mixture. Simmer over medium heat for 20-30 minutes and periodically flip the chicken and stir the sauce to prevent burning and ugly congealed sauce. Try to keep the chicken and the rosemary submerged.
The chicken and sauce are done once the sauce has a somewhat thick, gravy-like texture. Once its done cooking, remove the rosemary sprigs and feast away!