This Is Not a Love Story

Lots of people say the way to a loved one's heart is through their stomach. Even Glamour (yes, I'm that girly!) published an article touting the recipe for Engagement Chicken--which is basically a roasted chicken served with roasted veggies, and not difficult to prepare at all, but that's beside the point.

The GF and I are big eaters. We love food--scratch that...we love GOOD food. I noticed in the first few months of our relationship that nearly every time we went out to Expensive Italian Restaurant (even though it's not near good enough for the price tag), she ordered chicken marsala. It's one of her favorite dishes, but I'd never had it because I'm allergic to mushrooms (I know, sad, right?) and nearly every restaurant makes the sauce with mushrooms in it.

So...for one of our "month-iversaries" I looked up several recipes, adapted it to fit our tastes (and my allergies) and made it for us. IT. IS. AMAZING. Swear I'm not just saying that because I made it. Even The Ginger from work likes it, and he and his wife love good food as much as The GF and I do.

Before I share this recipe, I must warn you--I don't measure unless I'm baking, so all of this is approximated. My cardinal kitchen rule is to underseason, taste, and season again if needed. (So go easy on the salt, por favor!) Without further ado, here's the recipe (feel free to kill it with deadly fungi if you must, just don't offer me any!):

Chicken Marsala

You'll need:
1. A large, fairly deep skillet (I recommend hijacking your mother-in-law's huge cast iron skillet. It works quite well.)

2. At least one boneless, skinless chicken breast per person (or more if you intend to take leftovers to *your* friendly office ginger...)

3. A bottle of SWEET Marsala wine. (Most liquor stores sell it. Sometimes you can find the small bottles for a few dollars...I've taken to buying a larger, more expensive bottle--but I generally cook for several people and use half a bottle at a, do what you gotta do.)

4. Italian seasoned bread crumbs. (Seriously. Makes life so much easier.)

5. Garlic (lots), yellow onion (diced), chicken stock (stock! I said stock! NOT BROTH, for Bob's sake!), and an egg. Oh...and a little flour and cornmeal, salt, pepper, butter, and olive oil.

Now, personally, I prefer to marinate my chicken breasts in Italian dressing for a couple hours before breading, but you do whatever makes you feel happy. I won't judge you.

The breading process for this is pretty simple. Beat an egg (or two if you're making more than 3-4 chicken breasts) and add a little water. Dip each chicken breast in the egg, then in a half and half mixture of flour and cornmeal (seasoned with salt and pepper). Dip each piece back into the egg, then into the bread crumbs.

From there the chicken wants to go into a piping hot (preferably cast iron) skillet with enough butter and olive oil to clog an artery (or enough to cover the bottom of the pan, whichever) until browned on both sides.

I never worry too much about checking for doneness, as the chicken breasts are pretty thin, and I keep them in a baking dish (covered with foil) in the oven on about 200-250 until the sauce is done and this always turns out perfectly. (I'd also recommend the use of tongs for all this, as the breading has a tendency to slide off if you're not careful.)

Once the chicken is safely stowed away in the oven, toss in garlic (I use about 2-3 cloves), a little more butter, and then the wine. I use about half the bottle--I'm guessing that's about 3 cups, give or take. (It's wine we're talking about here, though, so I'd give if I were you.) At this point I scrape up any browned bits on the bottom of the pan (with my trusty wooden spatula) and then add about 1 1/2 (half the amount of wine I put in, see) cups of chicken stock (STOCK!) and let it come to a boil.

Word of caution here for the gas-stove users among the readers: Wine is flammable. Either turn the flame COMPLETELY OFF, remove the pan from the stove, or prepare for the possibility that you'll be drawing on your eyebrows for a bit.

After the sauce comes to a boil (and it usually does this for a few minutes before I notice, especially if I've started making some time-suck side dish, like polenta) I just turn it down and let it simmer away until everything else is ready. Just before I'm going to serve, the sauce goes on the chicken. [Also after the sauce comes to a boil: the house is filled with a heavenly scent that draws people and kitties alike to the kitchen, just in case I might not look at the stove long enough for samples to be stolen from the pan.]

A nice Italian-style salad (The GF and I recommend Caesar), toasted bread, risotto or polenta, or maybe garlic smashed potatoes...and you're golden.
    And now...the REST of the story...

    If you're new, please start here.  (And then read THIS.)

    TiNaLS Crew:

    The Gerbil: That's me.

    The Girlfriend: Umm, my girlfriend/fiancée.

    The Big One:
    My 7 year old son

    The Short One:
    My 5 year old son

    My kitten

    The Girlfriend's cat

    Anyone else will be nicknamed appropriately as needed.


    August 2010
    July 2010
    June 2010
    May 2010


    A Proposal
    The Big One
    The Gerbil
    The Gf
    The Short One
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