If you’re looking for a delicious and easy-to-make meal for dinner, then you must try cooking up a chicken marsala dish! This classic Italian dish involves cooking chicken breasts in a savory sauce made of marsala wine, mushrooms, and cream. The result is a rich and flavorful meal that is sure to impress your dinner guests. Here’s how to make this dish in just a few easy steps!
What is Chicken Marsala?
If you love Italian cuisine, you might have already savored the delicious taste of chicken marsala. This delectable dish is a classic Italian-American recipe that has been around for several decades. Chicken marsala consists of a tender chicken breast fillet that has been sautÃ©ed and then cooked in a rich, flavorful sauce. The dish is made with marsala wine, a fortified wine that comes from the Italian island of Sicily. The wine is produced in the region surrounding the city of Marsala, which gives the dish its name. Let’s explore the history and origin of the beloved chicken marsala, as well as the key ingredients that make it so flavorful.
The History and Origin of Chicken Marsala
The exact origin of chicken marsala is somewhat unclear, but it is widely believed to have emerged in the late 19th or early 20th century in the United States. It is said to have been influenced by Italian immigrants who brought with them their culinary traditions and love of good food. The first recorded recipe for chicken marsala appeared in Craig Claiborne’s “New York Times” column in the early 1960s. Since then, it has become a staple dish in Italian restaurants and homes all across the world.
The Key Ingredients in Chicken Marsala
One of the key ingredients in chicken marsala is the marsala wine, which gives the dish its unique flavor and aroma. The wine is made by crushing and fermenting white grapes, then fortifying the resulting liquid with a neutral spirit, and aging it in oak barrels. Marsala comes in several different varieties, ranging from dry to sweet. In chicken marsala, the wine is typically sweet or semi-sweet.
The other ingredients in chicken marsala typically include chicken breasts, flour, butter, mushrooms, garlic, chicken broth, and seasonings such as salt, pepper, and parsley. The chicken breasts are first coated in flour to give them a crispy texture, then sautÃ©ed in butter until golden brown. The mushrooms, garlic, and other seasonings are then added to the pan and cooked until fragrant. The marsala wine and chicken broth are then poured into the pan, and the mixture is simmered until the sauce is thick and rich.
Why is Chicken Marsala a Popular Dish?
If you’re a fan of Italian cuisine, then you may have heard of Chicken Marsala. This delicious dish has gained a lot of popularity in recent years, becoming a staple in Italian-American cuisine. But what makes it so special?
Versatility in Pairings
One of the great things about Chicken Marsala is that it can be paired with a variety of sides and ingredients, making it a versatile dish that can be customized to your liking. For example, it goes well with pasta, rice, or mashed potatoes, and can be paired with vegetables like mushrooms, asparagus, and green beans.
- If you’re looking for a more traditional pairing, try serving it with a side of spaghetti or linguine.
- For a richer flavor, try adding some heavy cream to the Marsala sauce.
Popularity Among Home Cooks and Restaurant Menus
Another reason for Chicken Marsala’s rise in popularity is its appeal to both home cooks and restaurant-goers alike. It’s a dish that’s relatively easy to make at home, but also appears on many restaurant menus across the country.
At restaurants, Chicken Marsala is often served as a main course, but it can also be found as an appetizer, topping for pizza, or in a sandwich.
The flavorful dish can easily be adapted to different cuisines and regions, showing that it has become a go-to option for many food lovers.
What are the Best Types of Chicken to Use?
Chicken Marsala is a flavorful and delicious Italian-American dish that features tender chicken smothered in a rich and savory mushroom and Marsala wine sauce. While chicken breasts are the most commonly used cut of meat for this dish, there are many different types of chicken that can also work well.
The Best Types of Chicken for Chicken Marsala
Here are some of the best types of chicken to use for making Chicken Marsala:
- Chicken Breasts: Chicken breasts are the most commonly used cut of chicken for making Chicken Marsala. They are lean, tender, and easy to prepare. When using chicken breasts, it’s important to cut them into even pieces, so they cook evenly. You can also pound them thin to make them cook faster and more evenly.
- Chicken Thighs: Chicken thighs are another good option for making Chicken Marsala. They are juicier and more flavorful than chicken breasts, but they also have a higher fat content. Chicken thighs can take longer to cook than chicken breasts, so make sure to adjust your cooking time accordingly.
- Chicken Cutlets: Chicken cutlets are thin slices of chicken that are perfect for making Chicken Marsala. They are already thinly sliced, so there’s no need to pound them thin. They cook quickly and evenly, making them a great option for a weeknight meal.
Preparing Your Chicken for Chicken Marsala
No matter which cut of chicken you choose to use, there are a few important steps you should follow to prepare your chicken for Chicken Marsala:
- Season Your Chicken: Before cooking your chicken, make sure to season it generously with salt and pepper. You can also add other herbs and spices, like thyme or oregano, depending on your personal preferences.
- Dredge Your Chicken: Dredging your chicken in flour before cooking can help it develop a nice crispy coating. To do this, simply coat your chicken in flour seasoned with salt and pepper, shaking off any excess before cooking.
- Cook Your Chicken: There are many different ways to cook your chicken for Chicken Marsala. Some people prefer to pan-fry their chicken in a skillet, while others like to grill or bake it in the oven. Just make sure to cook it until it’s golden brown and fully cooked through.
How to Select the Perfect Wine for Chicken Marsala?
When cooking Chicken Marsala, introducing the right wine is an integral part of the process. Wine not only adds a distinctive flavor to the dish but also helps tenderize the meat and balance the other flavors. Use the following tips to help you select the perfect wine for your Chicken Marsala recipe.
The Role of Wine in Chicken Marsala
The wine used in Chicken Marsala is an essential ingredient as it helps to reduce the sharpness of the dish and brings a distinctive sweetness to the sauce. It also helps to tenderize the meat, making it softer and more flavorful. Wine also enhances the aromatic profile of the dish, making it more appetizing.
Types of Wines That Can Be Used in Chicken Marsala
When selecting a wine for your Chicken Marsala recipe, you have several options. The traditional type of wine used in Chicken Marsala is a dry or sweet Marsala wine. Dry Marsala is used for a savory dish, while sweet Marsala is used when a slightly sweet flavor is desired. However, other wines, such as white wine or sherry, can also be used as a substitute. Just make sure the wine you select is suitable for cooking, not regular consumption, and has similar wine profile (dry/sweet) to Marsala wine.
What to Look For When Selecting the Perfect Wine for Your Recipe
Here are some tips to help you choose the perfect wine for your Chicken Marsala recipe:
- Choose dry Marsala wine if you prefer your dish to have a savory taste. Select sweet Marsala for a fruity and dessert-like flavor.
- Try to find a Marsala wine that is labeled as “Fine” “Superiore” or “Superiore Riserva”, as these titles indicate greater quality.
- Consider the depth of flavor of the wine. A strong, full-bodied wine will provide a hearty taste and aroma while a lighter wine will provide a more delicate flavor.
- Check reviews online to find out what wine works best in Chicken Marsala recipes. You can also ask your local wine store for their recommendations.
When cooking Chicken Marsala, the right wine can make all the difference. Selecting the perfect wine, whether it be a traditional Marsala or a suitable substitute, can elevate your recipe to the next level.
What are Some Side Dishes to Serve with Chicken Marsala?
Chicken Marsala is a classic Italian dish that is easy to prepare and oh-so-delicious. The dish is made by pan-frying chicken breasts and then simmering them in a rich wine and mushroom sauce. It is typically served over pasta, but there are many side dishes that can be served alongside it to take the meal to the next level. Here are some classic Italian sides and modern twists that complement the flavors of Chicken Marsala:
Creamy polenta is a perfect side dish for Chicken Marsala because it is hearty and rich, and its creamy texture complements the flavors of the dish. To make creamy polenta, cook fine cornmeal with milk or water until it thickens into a smooth porridge. Then, stir in butter and cheese until melted and fully incorporated. Serve the polenta hot alongside the Chicken Marsala.
Roasted vegetables are a quick and easy side dish that can be customized to your liking. Cut up your favorite vegetables, such as carrots, zucchini, and bell peppers, and toss them with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Roast in the oven until they are tender and caramelized. The sweetness of the roasted vegetables pairs well with the savory Chicken Marsala.
Baked potatoes are a classic side dish that have been enjoyed for generations. They are simple to prepare and can be customized with your favorite toppings, such as sour cream, butter, and chives. For an extra twist, try topping your baked potato with some of the leftover Chicken Marsala sauce.
Garlic bread is a simple but delicious side dish that is perfect for soaking up any leftover sauce from the Chicken Marsala. Slice a baguette and brush each slice with olive oil and minced garlic. Bake in the oven until golden and crispy. Serve warm alongside the Chicken Marsala.
A Caesar salad is a classic Italian salad that pairs well with Chicken Marsala. The crisp romaine lettuce and tangy dressing complement the rich and savory flavors of the Chicken Marsala. Top the salad with croutons and grated Parmesan cheese for an added crunch.
What are Some Variations of Chicken Marsala?
If you’re a fan of the classic chicken Marsala, you know how delicious and flavorful it can be. However, sometimes you want to take it up a notch and experiment with some new and exciting variations. Here are some unique and tasty twists you can try on the classic dish:
Add Some Veggies
If you’re looking to up your veggie intake, consider adding some delicious vegetables to your chicken Marsala recipe. You can mix and match vegetables depending on your preference and what you have on hand, but some great options include mushrooms, bell peppers, onions, and garlic. These veggies will not only add some extra flavor to the dish, but they’ll also give it some much-needed texture and crunch.
Use a Cream-Based Sauce
If you’re looking for a rich and indulgent twist on the classic chicken Marsala, consider using a cream-based sauce instead of the usual wine-based sauce. Cream-based sauces are a decadent and delicious way to add some extra flavor and creaminess to the dish, and they pair perfectly with the tender chicken and Marsala wine flavor profile. You can also add some herbs or spices to the sauce, such as rosemary or thyme, to give it an extra burst of flavor.
Add Some Heat
If you’re a fan of spicy food, consider adding some heat to your chicken Marsala recipe. You can do this by adding some crushed red pepper flakes to the dish, or by using a spicier variety of Marsala wine. This will give the dish a nice kick and some extra depth of flavor, and it’s a great way to switch things up if you’re getting tired of the classic flavors of the dish.
Try Different Proteins
While chicken is the most common protein used in chicken Marsala recipes, you can also experiment with other meats if you’re feeling adventurous. Some great options include pork, veal, or even tofu for a vegetarian twist. Each protein will give the dish a slightly different flavor profile, so it’s a fun way to mix things up and try something new.
Use Different Varietals of Marsala Wine
Marsala wine is an essential ingredient in chicken Marsala, but did you know that there are different varietals of Marsala wine that can be used in the recipe? You can experiment with different types of Marsala wine to give the dish a slightly different flavor profile. Some options include sweet Marsala, which has a rich and syrupy flavor, or dry Marsala, which has a more acidic and tangy taste.
Make it a One-Pan Meal
If you’re looking to simplify your dinner routine, consider turning your chicken Marsala into a one-pan meal. Simply add some veggies, such as asparagus or green beans, to the skillet along with the chicken and sauce, and let everything cook together for a delicious and easy dinner. This is a great way to cut down on dishes and streamline your cooking process.
Thanks for Checking Out Our Chicken Marsala Recipe!
We hope you enjoyed reading about our delicious chicken marsala dish! Give it a try and let us know how it turns out. Don’t forget to check out our other tasty recipes and visit us again for more culinary inspiration.
Cook Up a Delicious Chicken Marsala Dish
Try this popular Chicken Marsala dish recipe – perfect combination of pan-fried chicken legs, mushrooms, and Marsala wine sauce.
- 4 chicken legs
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. black pepper
- 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
- 1 cup sliced mushrooms
- 1/2 cup chicken broth
- 1/2 cup Marsala wine
- 2 tbsp. butter
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- Trim excess fat and skin from chicken legs. Mix flour, salt, black pepper, and dried oregano in a shallow dish. Dredge chicken legs in flour mixture and shake off excess.
- Heat olive oil and butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add chicken legs and cook for 5-7 minutes per side, until golden brown. Remove chicken from skillet and set aside.
- In the same skillet, sautÃ© mushrooms until tender. Add chicken broth, Marsala wine, and any remaining flour mixture to the skillet, and stir until smooth. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and let simmer for 5-7 minutes.
- Add the browned chicken legs back to the skillet, spooning the sauce over the top. Cover and cook for an additional 10-15 minutes until the chicken is fully cooked and the sauce has thickened.
- Serve your delicious Chicken Marsala dish hot with your favorite sides!