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Chicken Marsala (Cook's Illustrated)

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When developing our chicken Marsala recipe, we discovered that the classic French method of sautéing the meat, removing it from the pan, and then building a sauce from the browned bits left in the pan proved best. For the sauce for our chicken Marsala recipe, we preferred sweet (as opposed to dry) Marsala for its depth of flavor and smooth finish. Some lemon juice tempered the Marsala's sweetness, while a clove of garlic and a teaspoon of tomato paste rounded out the flavors.

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Ingredients

  • 4 chicken breasts, boneless, skinless (about 5 ounces each)
  • 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • Table salt
  • Ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 1/2 ounces pancetta (about 3 slices), cut into pieces 1 inch long and 1/8 inch wide
  • 8 ounces white mushrooms , sliced (about 2 cups)
  • 1 medium clove garlic , minced (about 1 teaspoon)
  • 1 teaspoon tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 cups marsala wine (sweet)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice from 1 small lemon
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter cut into 4 pieces, softened
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves

Details

Servings 4
Adapted from keyingredient.com

Preparation

Step 1

Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position, place large heatproof dinner plate on oven rack, and heat oven to 200 degrees. Heat 12-inch heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat until very hot (you can hold your hand 2 inches above pan surface for 3 to 4 seconds), about 3 minutes.

Pat chicken breasts dry. Meanwhile, place flour in shallow baking dish or pie plate. Season both sides of chicken cutlets with salt and pepper; working one piece at a time, coat both sides with flour. Lift breast from tapered end and shake to remove excess flour; set aside.

Add oil to hot skillet and heat until shimmering. Place floured cutlets in single layer in skillet and cook until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Using tongs, flip cutlets and cook on second side until golden brown and meat feels firm when pressed with finger, about 3 minutes longer. Transfer chicken to heated plate and return plate to oven.

Return skillet to low heat and add pancetta; sauté, stirring occasionally and scraping pan bottom to loosen browned bits until pancetta is brown and crisp, about 4 minutes. With slotted spoon, transfer pancetta to paper towel--lined plate. Add mushrooms and increase heat to medium-high; sauté, stirring occasionally and scraping pan bottom, until liquid released by mushrooms evaporates and mushrooms begin to brown, about 8 minutes.

Add garlic, tomato paste, and cooked pancetta; sauté while stirring until tomato paste begins to brown, about 1 minute. Off heat, add Marsala; return pan to high heat and simmer vigorously, scraping browned bits from pan bottom, until sauce is slightly syrupy and reduced to about 1 1/4 cups, about 5 minutes. Off heat, add lemon juice and any accumulated juices from chicken; whisk in butter 1 tablespoon at a time. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and stir in parsley.

Pour sauce over chicken and serve immediately.

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