so, you've got some knife skills and you know how to saute. now what can we get in our hands to cook?
let's start with something that sounds fancy as hell but is a perfect beginner meal - chicken marsala. first - what is it? chicken marsala is a classic Italian-American immigrant dish made of chicken, cremini mushrooms, and Marsala wine. There are a few different variations on a theme - the most traditional method involves dredging a chicken cutlet and then creating the reduction sauce. there are other methods of braising the chicken directly in the marsala. here, we're going to try a more modern technique of getting a nice crispy skin from sauteing and then deglazing to make that beautiful, complex sauce.
chicken marsala's a standard dish from culinary school curriculums, often taught while learning saute. it's a great skill to have in your repetoire because it's not only delicious but it reinforces knowledge of chicken cooking times, saute technique, and how to make a great pan sauce.
2 chicken breasts
1 oz canola oil
1/4 cup marsala wine
2 oz chicken stock
2 oz porcini or cremini mushrooms, cleaned and sliced*
1 oz shallots, minced
1 oz butter
*a note on cleaning mushrooms - never run them or soak them in water - mushrooms are incredibly porous and will soak the water up and get slimy. instead, use a clean towel to brush the dirt away.
preheat oven to 350.
heat a large (10 inch) saute pan over high heat. add canola oil and swirl around in pan. get it smoking hot. season your chicken on either side and gently lay skin side down (going away from your body with the motion so any oil doesn't splash you) in the pan. cook several minutes or until skin is golden brown and crispy. flip. cook another 3-4 minutes. place entire pan (if oven safe) in oven for about 7-8 minutes or until chicken comes to internal temp of 160. remove from pan and let rest 3-4 minutes. flip once.
off heat, add the marsala wine to the pan. stir to get that brown chicken residue (this is the fond, this has most of your flavor) up and into your sauce. turn heat to high and reduce wine to au sec or almost dry. add chicken stock. stir. add mushrooms, shallots, and butter. stir often until sauce becomes thick and glossy and covers the back of a spoon easily, like syrup.
serve spooned over chicken.
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