I was feeling rather under the weather and blah one day last week. Uncertain of what flavors I was craving, and most certainly wanting an easy-to-prepare meal, I meandered the grocery store aisles for inspiration. I even felt so desperate that I perused the “boxed dinners” aisle. There, at a clearance price, was a box for making Chicken Marsala.
But as I read the contents and directions on the box, I remembered a friend of mine telling me about her easy version of Chicken Marsala, which was lighter than the more traditional recipes — and, most importantly for me, didn’t use Marsala wine.
Inspired by my friend’s recipe and the simple contents and directions on the box recipe, I put the box back on the shelf, grabbed a lite Caesar salad kit from the produce section (because yes, I even felt too lethargic to futz about with making a salad), and sped home to make my own experimental version of Chicken Marsala — Not!
Chicken Marsala is an Italian dish made with *duh* Marsala wine. As Wikipedia tells us:
The chicken is coated in flour, briefly sautéed, and then removed from the pan, which is then used to make a Marsala reduction sauce. The sauce is made by reducing the wine to nearly the consistency of a syrup while adding onions or shallots, as well as mushrooms, herbs and possibly other ingredients. The sauce is then poured over the chicken, which has been kept in a warming oven, and served immediately.
One of the main things that turn me off to the idea of the dish is that Marsala is a sweet wine, as I am most definitely a dry wine kind of gal. I also wanted more flavors — and more nutrients! — going on besides the wine and mushrooms.
So, with my friend’s version of Chicken Marsala making its way up through the recesses of my brain and providing inspiration, I embarked on my own experimental version.
And it was YUMMY!
Chicken Marsala — Not! (Makes 4 to 6 servings)
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1 to 1 1/3 pounds) (NOTE: You could also use “chicken tenders” or chicken strips)
- 3/4 to 1 cup of flour seasoned to taste with basil, Italian seasoning, and oregano (add in some coarse ground black pepper and/or seasoned salt, too, if you like)
- Olive or canola oil (one or two tablespoons)
- Diced onion to taste (I used some I already had diced and in the ‘fridge)
- Sliced fresh or canned/jarred mushrooms to taste, optional (I had jarred mushrooms, so that’s what I used)
- Healthy few glugs of red wine (I used Shiraz because that’s what I had)
- 1 can (14 ounces) diced tomatoes, UNDRAINED (or use equivalent in fresh tomatoes if you’re lucky enough to have them
- 1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce, if desired (NOTE: 6 to 8 ounces of V8 juice would also likely be quite tasty)
- Seasonings to taste: healthy splash of Worcestershire sauce, bay leaf, basil, Italian seasoning, oregano, red pepper flakes, parsley, and garlic powder or minced garlic
- 8 ounces of pasta (spaghetti, penne, whatever makes you happy) or serve along with mashed potatoes or whatever else floats your boat
NOTE: Canned tomatoes and sauce (if using) already seasoned with basil, oregano, and garlic can give you a bit of a head-start on this dish — ‘though I still add some additional seasonings.
- Slice chicken breasts in half. Coat in seasoned flour. (I put the seasoned flour in a plastic food storage bag and shake the chicken in it.)
- Heat oil in a large (12″) non-stick skillet over medium to medium-high heat. (Using a non-stick skillet, you shouldn’t need too much in the way of oil.)
- Brown chicken on both sides.
- Add in onion and saute for a bit.
- If using minced garlic, add in garlic. If using fresh mushrooms, add in mushrooms and saute for a bit.
- Deglaze the pan with several glugs of wine (as in, there should be enough wine to cover the bottom of the pan). Make sure you scrape up any browned bits — it’ll make the sauce that much better.
- Add in tomatoes, undrained. If using canned/jarred mushrooms, add those in now, as well. Add in tomato sauce if you think you want it a bit more saucy, or wait and see as it simmers. Add seasonings to taste.
- Reduce heat to low and simmer sauce — uncovered until reduced to desired consistency, then cover — and chicken is done.
- I served ours over pasta, topped with a bit of grated Parmesan cheese, along with lite (as in, reduced fat) Caesar salad.