Saturday, February 8, 2014

Chicken Marsala

February 2, 2013

Chicken Marsala
Boiled Garnet Yams
Garden Salad
Ranch 32 2011 Pinot Noir

Chicken Marsala from Cook's Illustrated

One of the perks of being the cook is choosing what to cook. I cook things that I enjoy to eat. Sometimes this means cooking what I like which Diane would be unlikely to cook. Perks. This week, however, I asked Diane if there was anything she would like. The only stipulation was that it should be relatively quick and easy. I have been very busy volunteering for several community organizations and I didn't want to spend too much time in the kitchen. Diane responded almost immediately, "Chicken Marsala". I went to the cookbooks and found this to be a  straightforward dish to prepare: chicken breast is quickly browned in a sauce pan and served with a pan sauce that features a reduction of sweet Marsala wine.

Marsala is a fortified wine from Sicily which can be drunk straight or used to make a sauce. Chicken Marsala is often served in Italian restaurants and Diane will frequently order it when given the opportunity. I bought four chicken breasts but used only three, cutting the largest in half. I pounded them a little so their thickness was more even, but not real thin. Even so, after browning both sides, when I checked the internal temperature I found they were a little overdone. The sauce includes pancetta, mushrooms, and garlic in addition to the Marsala, and is finished with butter, lemon juice, and fresh parsley. Preparing the ingredients before cooking started ("mise en place") was very helpful as things happen pretty quickly once the cooking began. The full meal took about 90 minutes to prepare, including photography.

To accompany the chicken I made a salad and boiled garnet yams. Unfortunately the yams were overcooked well before they were ready to serve. I was counting on them to take 20 minutes or so to cook, like boiled white potatoes, but they cooked faster than this.

Diane and I both enjoyed our dinner. The chicken, even though a little over done, was tender and juicy.  I thought the sauce could have been more flavorful, though when we had leftovers it had more flavor and I enjoyed it more. We will definitely need to make this again and perhaps try some other recipes, maybe the one from Food Wishes would be a good one to try.

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