Friday, May 3, 2013

Redemption Chicken Marsala



Most times, when I cook something, it's usually good the first time.  But, every now and then, I create a total flop.  I recently made Chicken Marsala, and it was a disaster.  It's supposed to have slightly crispy, lightly flour-dusted pieces of chicken swimming in a beautiful Marsala wine and mushroom sauce.  However, what I got was a gummy, pasty mess.  I served it over bucatini pasta, which is a dense hollow spaghetti, which made the dish even gummier (is that a word?).  The reason it failed is because I added the chicken back into the sauce too soon and the flour rendered the sauce inedible.

But there's no way I was going to let that Chicken Marsala beat me.  I'm no quitter!  So I took a different approach.  I headed back into the kitchen to conquer this.  I had a team of supporters watching me.  My daughter and her friend and my husband sat at the counter as my sideline warriors.  It may have been the crazy French bread with butter and olive oil drizzle and melted cheese that kept them there snacking, but I'm giving them the benefit of the doubt. 

I still lightly coated the chicken with flour, but I didn't put it back into the sauce.  And, if you know me, I just had to stuff the chicken.  Also, here's a tip when cooking mushrooms.  Don't salt them until they are browned. If you salt them early, they will remain gray and will never brown.  And, to accompany this said Stuffed Chicken Marsala, I made a Garlicky Parmesan Spaghetti to go under it.  Or with it.  Whichever way you want to look at it.

I completely earned my redemption and went on to make a touchdown!  (Can you tell we're a football family?)


STUFFED CHICKEN MARSALA
FOR THE CHICKEN:
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, butterflied and pounded thin (watch a YouTube video on butterflying)
2 C flour
1 T garlic powder
1 T onion powder
1 T seasoned salt (I use Lawry's)
1/4 C Italian parsley, chopped
1 1/2 C shredded Mozzarella cheese
1/4  C shredded Parmesan cheese
One 8-ounce package cream cheese
1/2 stick butter
Olive oil
12 toothpicks

FOR THE MUSHROOMS:
1 lb mushrooms, sliced
2 shallots, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 T butter
2 T olive oil
2 C Marsala wine
1 C chicken stock

FOR THE SPAGHETTI:
1 C shredded Parmesan cheese
4 cloves garlic, very finely minced
2 T flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1 lb spaghetti
Olive oil
1/2 stick butter

For the chicken filling, blend the cream cheese, Mozzarella cheese, Parmesan cheese, garlic powder, onion powder, and parsley in a food processor.  Divide the filling into four and put it into the centers of the chicken breasts.  Secure each breast with three toothpicks, making sure no filling shows through.

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.  Mix the flour and seasoned salt together.  Lightly dredge the chicken pieces in the flour mixture.  Preheat a skillet to medium high heat and melt the butter.  Drizzle in some olive oil.  Brown the chicken in the skillet.  Put them on a sheet pan and stick it in the oven to continue cooking while you finish the rest of the meal.

In a new skillet, melt the butter and olive oil together.  Add in the shallots and mushrooms.  Cook them until the mushrooms are browned.  Add in salt and pepper to taste.  Add in the wine and garlic and cook about 8 minutes until the wine is reduced.  When it's reduced by about half, add in the chicken stock.  Cook a few more minutes to reduce.

Cook the pasta according to directions.  After draining the spaghetti, return it to the hot pot.  Add in the garlic, Parmesan cheese, parsley, butter and a drizzle of olive oil.  Toss with tongs to coat.

Serve the chicken over the spaghetti and the mushrooms over the top.  \

**NOTE:  Please tell the eaters of your food to remove the three toothpicks.

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