What's for Dinner: Chicken Marsala

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Chicken Marsala

Every cook should have a weekday default -- that tried and true but tasty dish that can be whipped up in minutes.

Emeril's Chicken Marsala is that dish for my family. His version mixes a spicy creole seasoning with the chicken's flour coating. Saute the chicken in sweet Marsala wine, and the result is a succulent balance of flavors with just a little zing.

I make several batches of what he calls Essence seasoning and store them in a resealable plastic bag or jar. With the seasoning already made, the dish can be prepared in 15 to 20 minutes.

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon Essence (adapted recipe follows)

2 (6- to 8-ounce) boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut in half and pounded thin

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 tablespoons butter, divided

3 cups sliced mushrooms (cremini, oyster, shiitake)

3/4 cup sweet Marsala wine

1 cup chicken stock

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Chopped chives, for garnish (I use parsley)

In a shallow bowl or plate combine the flour and Essence and stir to combine thoroughly. Quickly dredge the chicken breast halves in the seasoned flour mixture, shaking to remove any excess flour.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until very hot but not smoking.

Add 1 tablespoon butter and cook the chicken breasts until golden brown on both sides, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate and set aside.

Add 1 tablespoon of the remaining butter to the pan and add the mushrooms.

Cook, stirring frequently until mushrooms are golden brown around the edges and have given off their liquid.

Add the Marsala wine and bring to a boil, scraping to remove any browned bits from the bottom of the pan.

When the wine has reduced by half, add the chicken stock and cook for 3 minutes or until sauce has thickened slightly.

Lower the heat to medium and return the chicken breasts to the pan and continue to cook until they are cooked through and the sauce has thickened, about 5 to 6 minutes.

Add salt and pepper to taste.Garnish with chopped chives or parsley and serve immediately.

Essence (Emeril's Creole Seasoning)

2½ tablespoons paprika

2 tablespoons salt

2 tablespoons garlic powder

1 tablespoon black pepper

1 tablespoon onion powder

1 tablespoon cayenne pepper

1 tablespoon dried leaf oregano

1 tablespoon dried thyme

Combine ingredients and store in an airtight jar or container.

-- Virginia Linn


(vlinn@post-gazette.com)

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