My Adaptation of the New Basics Cookbook Chicken Marsala Recipe
Chicken Marsala is one of my all time favorite recipes. There is something about the sweetness of the Marsala wine that gives this dish a wonderful flavor. The cooking technique for making chicken Marsala is similar to chicken piccata, pan fry the chicken breasts, deglaze the pan with wine and adding the other ingredients to make a pan sauce.
In the past, I have called the cooking technique “saute” but I now understand that saute has more to do with cooking smaller, identically sized ingredients. Think diced carrots or cubed chicken or beef.
You’ll hear many cooks say to “saute a chicken breast” but now I think of it as pan fry a chicken breast because of the size of the breast. You really aren’t going to have the breasts “jump” in the pan.
You may be more familiar with Veal Marsala, another classic Italian dish almost exactly the same as this Chicken Marsala except it is made with veal. I happen to enjoy both, but veal is much more expensive sometimes harder to find. And then there are some who just don’t like eating veal so this is a good option.
How I Found This Recipe
Years ago I was looking to duplicate a recipe for chicken piccata. I enjoyed at a small restaurant when I lived in New York City. I knew it was basically a flour, lemon and butter sauce but I wanted to find a recipe to refresh my memory before jumping into it. After looking through a bunch of my favorite Italian cookbooks for chicken or veal piccata recipes without success, I finally gave up and found a recipe for “veal” piccata in my New Basics Cookbook.
When I looked in my refrigerator, I realized we didn’t have any lemons and this is not an easy dish to make without a lemon and I didn’t feel like running to the grocery store. Right next to the veal picatta recipe was one for veal Marsala. I had all the ingredients to make the Marsala version so I adapted it to prepare with chicken breasts.
To learn more about the technique of pan frying, and how it compares to saute and stir fry. One of the key ingredients in this recipe is demi glace, basically a brown stock that is reduced down to a syrupy consistency. It takes hours to make it at home but lucky for us, there are some good commercial products on the market that are really good. I share them with you below.
The next night I made Chicken Piccata with the three leftover chicken breasts that were already cooked. I’m sure the experts would say the Chicken Piccata loses something because the breasts were already cooked, but to tell you the truth, I didn’t notice that much difference.
What I remember was how delicious the piccata sauce was.