Here’s a quick classic dish with an incredible tastiness to effort ratio. When we just can’t muster up the effort for an elaborate dinner, or when we’re in a bit of a hurry, we turn to this dish. It comes together in about a half an hour, tastes fantastic, and feels comforting.
There are certainly variations on chicken marsala, but almost all involve quickly searing flour-dregded chicken cutlets, sautéeing mushrooms, and reducing Marsala wine. Throw in some aromatics, some herbs, a squeeze of lemon juice, and you’ve got yourself dinner. Delicious dinner.
We’ve made this with cheap “cooking” Marsala (the kind you’ll find in the vinegar section that usually has added salt and preservatives) and authentic Marsala (found with Port and the other fortified wines). We’ve found there is no reason to use the cheap stuff, especially since you can get an acceptable 750 ml bottle of marsala for 10 or 12 dollars, which is no more expensive ounce for ounce than many of the half bottles of cooking marsala. Your dish will taste better without the added salt and junk. Also, if you get the real stuff, you can sip some after dinner if the spirit moves you.
- 8 chicken cutlets (or about 1½ pounds of chicken breasts)
- salt and freshly ground pepper
- ¼ cup unbleached all purpose flour
- 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
- 3 Tbsp unsalted butter
- ½ small onion, chopped fine
- 8 oz. cremini mushrooms, quartered
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- ¾ cup Marsala wine
- ½ cup low-sodium chicken broth
- 2 tsp fresh lemon juice
- 1 Tbsp fresh parsley, minced
To make chicken cutlets, just pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts between two pieces of plastic wrap using a meat pounder, an empty wine bottle, or the bottom of a heavy saucepan or skillet. You want them between ¼ and ½ inch thick.
Pat the cutlets dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Dredge the cutlets in the flour to coat and shake to remove excess. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large nonstick skillet over high heat until just smoking. Add half of the cutlets and cook until golden brown, 2 to 2½ minutes on each side. Transfer to a large plate and tent with foil. Repeat with the remaining oil and cutlets.
Reduce the heat to medium high and melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in the now-empty skillet. Cook the onion and mushrooms until browned, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Transfer the mushroom mixture to a medium bowl and tent with foil.
Add the Marsala and broth to the empty skillet, bring to a boil over high heat, and cook until reduced to ⅓ to ½ cup, about 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low, return the chicken and their juices to the skillet, and turn the chicken to heat through, about 1 minute. Transfer the chicken to a serving platter. Turn off the heat, whisk in the remaining 2 tablespoons butter, lemon juice, parsley, and mushroom mixture. Pour the sauce over the chicken. Serve.