Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A Lighter Chicken Marsala Part Two: The Comparison

As I mentioned in my recent post, I spoke of my love for chicken masala. I mentioned that "even in our lighter, fabulous version, there is still some debate. Cream or no cream?" A few nights ago we made a version with cream (in which I was the head chef) and tonight, my mom made a cream-less version (in which she is the head chef). The problem is: both were great! So what do we do? I guess we will determine based on whether or not we have cream in the house and how many calories (cream adds calories).

If anyone decides to try out one of the recipes, comment and let me know your feedback!

Chicken Marsala Pasta without Cream (makes 3-4 servings)
  • 9-12oz boneless skinless chicken breast
  • 1/2 tsp ground pepper, white or black (plus some for flavor in sauce)
  • 1/4 tsp salt (plus some for flavor in sauce)
  • 1/4 tsp oregano
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 1 small head garlic, minced
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 2/3 cup marsal wine, dry (not sweet)
  • 1/3 cup chicken stock
  • Pasta (usually fettucini or angel hair), a serving per person

  1. Place the chicken pieces between wax paper and pound to 1/2-1/4 inch thick.
  2. Mix oregano, salt, pepper, and flour. Drag the chicken through the mixture and shake off excess.
  3. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in the skillet. Fry the chicken until cooked through and slightly browned on the outside. Do not overcook, should be fork tender. If you need to fry the chicken in batches, that is ok.
  4. Remove chicken from pan and cover with aluminum foil
  5. Add last tablespoon of oil to skillet. Add garlic and saute until soft (do not brown), just under 1 minute.
  6. Add scallion to skillet. Saute for 1 minute (do not brown).
  7. Add mushrooms and saute for about 5 minutes. Stir the mushrooms during this process. However, do not stir them too much. And "don't crowd the mushrooms" [1]! Really, let the mushrooms sit flat on the pan so that they brown.
  8. Pour marsala and chicken broth into skillet and let simmer for a few minutes.
  9. Add cream (optional).
  10. Prepare pasta when necessary, per the directions of the pasta, but I usually put it on as the sauce is reducing.
  11. Let the sauce simmer until reduced by half. Add salt and pepper to taste (this does not require much salt or pepper, but white pepper especially brings out the flavor). Add a mix of water and flour if necessary as a thickening agent (more likely to be necessary if you are not using cream).
  12. Replace chicken into pan and reheat on low. Cover the chicken in the sauce and the mushrooms.
  13. Either place pasta in skillet and stir into sauce, then serve, or put pasta on plates and place chicken on top, pouring excess sauce over the pasta. Enjoy!
  1. I just watched Julie & Julia, which is an adorable film, and this is one piece of advice she provides. The Julie character warns: "don't crowd the mushrooms. Otherwise they won't brown."

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