Thursday, April 6, 2017

Chicken Marsala with Creamy Dijon Mushroom Sauce

Chicken Marsala is an Italian dish made from chicken, mushrooms and Marsala wine. The chicken is traditionally pounded into cutlets, coated in flour, briefly sautéed, and then removed from the pan, which is then used to make a Marsala reduction sauce. I prefer to use bone-in chicken breasts with the skin on, and roasted whole in the oven until they are crisp and golden brown. Brushing the breasts with oil and seasoning with black pepper, paprika and a liberal dose of kosher salt ensures a perfect crisp outer skin. Just before the breasts finish roasting, the Marsala Mushroom Dijon Cream Sauce is prepared, by first sautéeing the mixed mushrooms in a little butter and olive oil until they're soft and fragrant. Some marsala and white are then added and cooked for about 5 minutes until slightly reduced. The sour cream and fresh thyme are stirred in at the end, and cooked over a reduced heat for another 6 to 8 minutes. Thick, creamy and absolutely swimming with mushrooms, the sauce is poured over the chicken breasts, that have been arranged in a warm platter, and garnished with a tangle of fresh thyme. Served with sautéed new potatoes and a spinach or vegetable gratin, this is an easy and absolutely delicious recipe.

Chicken Marsala with Creamy Dijon Mushroom Sauce with Thyme
Serves 2

2 chicken breasts, bone-in and skin-on, slit in half
2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tbsp kosher salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp paprika

Marsala Mushroom & Dijon Cream Sauce:
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp vegetable oil
8 oz cremini mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
8 oz shiitake mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
1/4 cup Marsala, or to taste
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
2 tbsp fresh thyme leaves, plus extra whole sprigs for garnish
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400°F. Coat the chicken breasts with vegetable oil and set on a foil lined baking pan. Season with fresh ground black pepper, paprika and a generous sprinkle of kosher salt — the more salt, the crisper the skin. Roast the chicken breasts for 35-45 minutes, depending on the size of the breasts, until they are crisp and golden brown. Turn the oven to low, cover the chicken with aluminium foil and begin the sauce.

Heat the butter and oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Once the butter has melted, add the sliced mushrooms and sauté for 5 to 6 minutes, until the mushrooms are partially cooked through. Add the Marsala and white wine, and cook for 5 minutes allowing the wines to slightly reduce. Stir in the sour cream and thyme leaves, reduce the heat to medium and cook the mushroom sauce for 6-8 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Remove the chicken breasts from the oven and arrange in the frying pan, spooning the sauce over top, then place in the oven for 5-10 minutes. To serve, arrange the chicken on a decorative platter with the creamy Marsala Mushroom and Dijon Sauce over top, and garnish with fresh sprigs of thyme. Delicious served with mashed potatoes, rice or egg pasta.