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Better Chicken Marsala for Two

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In our recipe for chicken Marsala, we take a new approach to fabricating and cooking chicken cutlets. First, we cut each chicken breast in half crosswise. Then, we cut the thicker half in half horizontally to make three identically sized pieces that can easily be pounded into cutlets. We salt the cutlets briefly to boost their ability to retain moisture and then dredge them in a light coating of flour, which accelerates browning and helps prevent the meat from overcooking. We sear the cutlets quickly on both sides and set them aside while making the sauce. Our Marsala sauce uses reduced dry Marsala and chicken broth, along with cremini and dried porcini mushrooms for rich flavor and gelatin for a silky texture. Once the Marsala and mushroom sauce is complete, we return the cutlets to the pan to cook them through and wash any excess starch into the sauce, eliminating gumminess.

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Ingredients

  • 1 1/8 1 1/8cups 1/8cups dry Marsala
  • 2 2teaspoons 2teaspoons unflavored gelatin
  • 1/2 1/2ounce 1/2ounce dried porcini mushrooms, rinsed
  • 2 2(6- to 8-ounce) 8-ounce) boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed
  • Kosher salt and pepper
  • 1 1cup 1cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 1/2cup 1/2cup all-purpose flour
  • 7 7teaspoons 7teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 1 1/2ounces 1/2-inch pancetta, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 8 8ounces 8ounces cremini mushrooms, trimmed and sliced thin
  • 1 1small 1small shallot, minced
  • 1 1/2 1 1/2teaspoons 1/2teaspoons tomato paste
  • 1/2 1/2teaspoon 1/2teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 1teaspoon 1teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 1/2teaspoon 1/2teaspoon minced fresh oregano
  • 1 1/2 1 1/2tablespoons 3 unsalted butter, cut into 3 pieces
  • 1 1teaspoon 1teaspoon minced fresh parsley

Details

Adapted from cooksillustrated.com

Preparation

Step 1

It is worth spending a little extra for a moderately priced dry Marsala ($10 to $12 per bottle). Serve the chicken with potatoes, white rice, or buttered pasta.

1. Bring 1 cup Marsala, gelatin, and porcini mushrooms to boil in small saucepan over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-high and vigorously simmer until reduced by half, 4 to 6 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, cut each chicken breast in half crosswise, then cut thick half in half again horizontally creating 3 cutlets of about same thickness. Place cutlets between sheets of plastic wrap and pound gently to even 1/2-inch thickness. Place cutlets in bowl and toss thoroughly with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Set aside for 15 minutes.

3. Strain Marsala reduction through fine-mesh strainer, pressing on solids to extract as much liquid as possible; discard solids. Return Marsala reduction to saucepan, add broth, and return to boil over high heat. Lower heat to medium-high and simmer until reduced to 3/4 cup, 8 to 10 minutes. Set aside.

4. Spread flour in shallow dish. Working with 1 cutlet at a time, dredge cutlets in flour, shaking gently to remove excess. Place on wire rack set in rimmed baking sheet. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until smoking. Place cutlets in skillet and lower heat to medium. Cook until golden brown on 1 side, 2 to 3 minutes. Flip and cook until golden brown on second side, 2 to 3 minutes. Return cutlets to wire rack.

5. Return now-empty skillet to medium-low heat and add pancetta. Cook, stirring occasionally, scraping pan bottom to loosen browned bits, until pancetta is brown and crisp, about 4 minutes. Add cremini mushrooms and increase heat to medium-high. Cook, stirring occasionally and scraping pan bottom, until liquid released by mushrooms evaporates and mushrooms begin to brown, about 8 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer mushrooms and pancetta to bowl. Add remaining 1 teaspoon oil and shallot to skillet and cook until softened, 1 minute. Add tomato paste and garlic and cook until fragrant, 30 seconds. Add reduced Marsala mixture, remaining 1/8 cup Marsala, lemon juice, and oregano and bring to simmer.

6. Add cutlets to sauce and simmer for 3 minutes, flipping halfway through simmering. Transfer cutlets to platter. Off heat, whisk in butter. Stir in parsley and cremini mushroom mixture. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Spoon sauce over chicken and serve.

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