Well, winter finally arrived in the Washington DC area with a bang this week — wet icy snow that turned into rock-hard chunks with the below-freezing temperatures over the past couple of days. Perfect time, though, for comfort food dishes, right?
I recently made Chicken Marsala for a friend. I love this dish, so easy to make with only four main ingredients: chicken, mushrooms, chicken broth, and Marsala wine (plus other assorted minor things).
Here’s the full ingredient list: four boneless, skinless chicken breasts; 1/4 cup flour; 1 strip of pancetta or smoked bacon, chopped; 8 ounces of fresh mushrooms; 2 garlic cloves, crushed; 1 tablespoon tomato paste; 1 cup chicken broth; 1 cup Marsala wine; 1 teaspoon herbes de Provence; also olive oil, plus salt and pepper to taste.
Start by washing the fresh mushrooms (cremini or Portobello work great), then trim them and cut into chunks.
Set the mushrooms aside. Now, trim the chicken breasts and cut them into large pieces (about 1 inch square).
Pour about 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil into a large sauté pan. While the oil is heating, add the flour, salt, and pepper to a large ziplock or resealable plastic bag and mix. Then add the chicken pieces.
Toss inside the sealed bag so that the chicken is completely coated with the flour mixture.
Brown the chicken pieces in the hot oil until nicely seared on all sides.
Scoop up the chicken pieces into a bowl and set aside. Add the chopped pancetta or smoked bacon to the pan. (I used bacon that had been smoked in cherry wood. It was fabulous.)
Sauté until it just turns crisp. Scoop up the bits into a small bowl. Add another tablespoon of olive oil and heat, then add the mushrooms.
Sauté until the mushrooms release their juices and begin to brown, about 6 to 8 minutes.
Now, add the garlic, tomato paste, and the pancetta/bacon bits. Sauté until the tomato paste just begins to brown slightly.
Add the herbs. Then pour in the Marsala wine and stir, then add the chicken broth.
Cover and simmer gently over very low heat for 15 minutes or until the sauce thickens. Pour into a bowl and serve with potatoes, pasta, or rice.
Serve this with a mellow medium-light to medium red wine. We paired it with the King Family Vineyards Cabernet Franc, which has really lovely blueberry and mild black pepper notes on the nose and the palate. Really great pairing!