Snowpacolypse (aka Snowmageddon, aka snOMG aka ClusterFlake) is no longer fun. I have been cooped up in my house for too long, and am growing increasingly anxious about all of the work I am missing. I needed an activity today to cure these winter blues, and it came in the form of a favorite dish of mine that I often order when I go out: chicken marsala. Yum, yum, yum. After googling a few different ways of making the dish, I walked to the local supermarket to pick up ingredients, played the soundtrack to “An Education” on my IPod, and got started. What transpired was pretty great, as far as new dishes go!

Ingredients:

  • salt and pepper
  • olive oil
  • butter
  • button mushrooms
  • an onion
  • skinless boneless chicken breasts (cut thin if possible)
  • marsala wine
  • chicken stock

Let me go on the record saying that I never use any sort of “cooking wine.” Half the fun of cooking a dish that requires wine is drinking (or finishing) the bottle while your food cooks, so I always use whatever bottle I have lying around. That said, 6 days of blizzard has forced my roommates and I to consume any and all alcohol in the house, so I decided that while I was at the supermarket, I would spring for the Marsala wine.

To begin, pat the chicken breasts dry and salt and pepper them. Heat a combination of olive oil and butter in a skillet set to medium-high heat. Personally, I am a big olive oil fan, so I only used a tiny, 1/2 spoonful portion of butter, but lots of the recipes I saw called for more. To each his own. Using tongs. drop in the chicken breasts and cook for a few minutes on each side, browning them. When you’re done, remove the chicken and put them on a plate.

Pour out the majority of your olive oil/butter combination, while retaining just a little bit of liquid in the skillet. Dump in sliced mushrooms (I used about 7 for a 2-person serving) and some chopped onions. Measurements of any type escape me (I often refer to distance in terms of football fields, and claim that any location is “about 2o minutes away” from me), so I eyeball these things. I would say that a 4:1 or 3:1 mushroom to onion ratio makes sense. After they have been cooking for a little bit and the mushrooms are letting off their moisture, dump in 1/2 cup  wine. Let that cook until the sauce no longer smells strongly like alcohol, and until a good amount of the wine has evaporated, and add 2 cups of chicken stock. Also, add the chicken back into the mix, and put a lid on the skillet. The whole thing cooks for about 10 – 15 more minutes (the chicken should be flipped a few times) and then it’s done. Voila! I had mine over a handful (OK, 3 handfulls …) of cooked penne, but the chicken is good enough that it could be served as its own entree. Just make sure that however you serve it, you spoon the extra sauce onto the plate.

Mmm, mmm good. Next time I make it, I think I’ll add flour to the chicken before I brown it so that it will actually get brown. Also, despite how the photograph appears, the chicken does not end up pink. Optical illusion!

Lastly, anyone looking for a weekly pick-me up should get acquainted with Slate’s weekly “Barack Obama’s Facebook Feed.” It is incredible.

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