Wow, have things been hectic around here lately! My mom is on her last days of a cruise to Italy, so I've been helping my sister and brother-in-law by watching the boys so that they can do some of the things they need to do. Which is great, because I love my nephews dearly!! Also, really exciting, is that I started my new chefy job on Monday! I'm really enjoying my job AND all of my new coworkers! I had worked as a CNA for 6 years, and I can't even tell you how much catty high-school drama nonsense goes on... It's more than a little refreshing to work with people who are mature and actually act like the adults they are supposed to be, and it's still fun to work with them! I actually look forward to getting out of bed at 7:00 every morning for work!! And, since cooking is what I'm most passionate about, I'm glad to finally be doing something, and be given the opportunity to do something, that I really love. The coworkers just make it that much more enjoyable!
But, anyways... Enough of that junk...
So, there has been a recent tragedy in my sister's neighborhood, and I've been watching my nephews a lot more lately. My sister and brother-in-law are wonderful people, and I really don't mind watching my nephews at all! But, because things have been a little hectic and stressful, I've been trying to cook some nice meals for them, to help alleviate some of that. Yesterday, my nephews picked the meal, which was "Pigs in a Blanket" (for which they thought ketchup was an acceptable vegetable side dish) and today I decided it might be fun to make homemade pizzas with them. It turned out really neat, and my nephews liked being able to help roll out the dough and put the toppings on their own pizzas.
But, the other day, when my sister and brother-in-law were attending the funeral of a beloved neighbor and/or doing something with the school (they're both teachers), I wanted to make a nice dinner for them to come home to. I took the boys swimming and then out to McDonald's, but mommy and daddy got a special meal... Chicken Marsala!
I had gotten the inkling to make it after sampling a small piece a friend had ordered when we went out to dinner one night, and so I scoured the internet for what I thought it should be. I used Tyler Florence's recipe as my starting point, and then made some modifications to make it more like what I wanted. One of the things I thought was important was that it needed more sauce, and the sauce needed to be a little thicker than the original recipe called for. So, I doubled the Marsala sauce part of the recipe, and then also made a few slight changes elsewhere in the recipe. I served it like they had at the restaurant, with roasted asparagus and smashed potatoes, and it turned out wonderfully!
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
1 qt. Half & Half
¼ tsp. fresh ground black pepper
¼ tsp. seasoning salt
1 tsp. dried oregano, crushed
1 c. + 1 tsp. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. garlic powder
¼ c. extra-virgin olive oil
6 Tbsp. unsalted butter, divided
16 oz. crimini mushrooms, sliced
1 tsp. flour
1 c. sweet Marsala wine
1 c. chicken stock
¼ c. chopped flat-leaf parsley
Put the 1 cup of flour in a pie pan or other shallow dish and season with the garlic powder; mix with a fork to distribute evenly. Put the chicken breasts on a cutting board and trim off the skinnier ends, lay a piece of plastic wrap over them; pound with a flat meat mallet, until they are about ½-inch thick. Soak the flattened chicken breasts in a covered container filled with the Half & Half for approximately 30 minutes.
Heat half of the oil over medium heat in a large skillet. While the oil is heating, season the chicken breasts with pepper, seasoning salt, and dried oregano; dredge both sides of the chicken in the seasoned flour, shaking off the excess. When the oil is hot, gently place the chicken into the pan and fry for 5 minutes on each side until golden, turning once – do this in batches if the pieces don't fit comfortably in the pan. Remove the chicken to a large platter in a single layer and cover them with foil to keep warm.
Add 4 tablespoons of butter to the skillet and allow it to melt; add the mushrooms and sauté until they are nicely browned and their moisture has evaporated, about 5 minutes; season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle the remaining teaspoon of flour over the mushrooms and stir to coat well. Pour the Marsala in the pan and boil down for a few seconds to cook out the alcohol. Add the chicken stock and simmer for a minute to reduce the sauce slightly. Stir in the remaining butter; simmer gently for 1 minute to heat through. Remove the chicken to serving plates and pour the mushrooms and sauce over the top, garnish with chopped parsley before serving. Makes 4 servings