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I love to cook.  I grew up in a house where my mom cooked all the time.  And baked.  She is famous in our family for her amazing home cooked meals and baked goods, especially her cookies.  So I definitely grew a love for cooking that stemmed from her.  My Dad and my best friend both call me several afternoons a week on their way home from work and one of their first questions is always, “What’s for dinner?”.  I hate it when they call me on the same day because then I don’t get to chat with each of them as much as I would like.  Anyhow, this post is about dinner, which I hope to get to blog about a lot on here.  So I hope you like to eat, because I do.  It’s a personal weakness of mine…good food just makes me melt inside.

Last night for dinner I made Chicken Marsala.  I have made it a few times, but I’ve never really had a recipe.  I just thought about what I remember my mom putting in it and went from there.  And it’s dang good, if I do say so myself.  So, here’s whatcha do…..

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Gather these items to get started.  We have:

Cremini mushrooms (also called baby bellas) about 1/2 pound, although this was probably closer to 3/4 of a pound because I reaaalllly love mushrooms
Shallots, 2 or 3 large ones
Garlic, 3 cloves (I also reaallly love garlic, so adjust to your tastebuds!)
Boneless skinless chicken (I used 7 pieces of thighs because the dark meat is so much more moist than white and of course I didn’t put the key ingredient in chicken marsala in the ingredients picture…woops!)
Salt and Pepper
Thyme
Flour
Marsala wine (this is a sweet dessert wine and usually found in your grocery store near the sherry and other “cooking” wines)
Risotto and chicken broth (if you’d like, I served the risotto as a side dish)
Glass of red wine (because a glass of wine while cooking is good for your soul)

So, now that you have all of that together, you will slice the mushrooms and chop the shallots and garlic.  You can buy the mushrooms sliced already of course, but it’s cheaper to the buy them in the bulk bin and I’m all about cheaper!  Try to dodge the darts being shot at you from the rowdy little boys behind you as well.  Little devils.

Heat a couple turns of olive oil in a skillet and throw the mushrooms, shallots and garlic in there together to get all fragrant and happy.  Continue cooking until the mushrooms are done.  Don’t forget to add a bit of salt as well, as this helps bring out the moisture in the mushrooms (or so I’ve been told, it seems to work!).

While the mushrooms and everything are cooking up, you’ll want to combine the flour, salt, pepper and thyme in a zip-top bag.  You can use dried or fresh thyme for this.  I am using fresh here because my best friend (the same one mentioned above, although I do have more than one bestie) just let me raid her garden a few days ago.  Now, if you’re using breasts, you’ll want to pound them thinner.  You don’t need them to be paper thin, but you’ll be cooking them in the skillet, so you don’t want them super thick.  Everyone is all about white meat and I just don’t get it…the dark meat is so moist, please please please try it next time.  Next, throw the chicken in the baggie and shake it all up to coat it.

When the mushrooms are done and looking lovely, scoop them all out of the pan and into a bowl.  Add just a little more olive oil to the same pan and cook the chicken.  You don’t want a lot of oil, just enough to help these babies cook.  I use a digital thermometer to check for doneness, they should be at 180F when you pull them out of the pan and onto a plate.

Next, deglaze the pan with a nice big splash of Marasla wine.  Don’t forget to scrape up the brown bits on the bottom.  Throw your mushrooms back in and let them heat up again.  You’ll cook it off on a medium/med-low heat until the sauce is thickened up a bit.  This is not a super thick sauce at all, so don’t think you’re doing anything wrong if it’s still a bit runny.  Add the chicken back in and let that heat through.

Place a piece of chicken on a plate and top with mushrooms and sauce.  I usually serve this with risotto and spinach sauteed in butter, olive oil and garlic.  It’ll look like this, but please forgive my food photography skills which still need plenty of work:

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This is super delicious and I hope you love it as much as I do!  Go ahead and refill that wine glass to go with your meal 😉

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