Earlier this spring, Larry and I hosted a dozen food bloggers for a writing seminar led by Dianne Jacob, food writer/editor/writing coach extraordinaire. It was an inspiring and stimulating day for the attendees, and Dianne seemed to enjoy the event as much as we did. Even Larry got into the fun, doing the airport run to pick up Dianne, sharing in the potluck lunch and taking Dianne on a private tour of the nearby neighborhood park.
Dianne greeted me with a lovely gift bag and thanked me for my part in the planning and prep for the seminar. Included in the bag was a scrumptious sack of imported porcini mushrooms, which I promised to highlight in a recipe worthy of such an extravagant ingredient.
It took me a while, Dianne, but I finally settled on a recipe for chicken marsala , and this post is for you. Thank you for your kindness and friendship, and for the valuable lessons and writing tips you continue to share with me and so many others. To borrow one of your favorite food blogging verbs, this recipe was “inspired” by one from an ancient Bon Appetit.
TIP: Lazy Liz picked up a 4 ounce package of chopped pancetta at Trader Joe’s.
TIP: Unusual as it seems, I have learned to use sweet rather than dry marsala for this dish and similar recipes. The taste of the marsala seems more pronounced and is balanced by the salty pancetta and rich mushrooms.
- 1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
- 2 cups hot water
- 3 tablespoons pine nuts
- 1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
- kosher salt and/or ground black pepper
- 6 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 4 ounces pancetta, chopped into 1/4 inch pieces
- 1 large shallot, chopped, about 1/2 cup
- 1/2 cup sweet Marsala wine
- 1/2 cup homemade or low sodium chicken stock
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons flat-leaved parsley, chopped
1. Place porcinis in a small bowl and cover with the hot water. Allow to sit until softened, about 25 minutes.
2. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the mushrooms to drain on paper towels.
3. Using a small, dry skillet, heat the pine nuts over medium heat until toasted, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
4. Place each chicken piece between two pieces on parchment paper. Pound with a rolling pin until the chicken is about 1/4 inch thick.
5. Pour the flour into a wide, shallow bowl and season it with salt and/or pepper. Coat the chicken pieces with the mixture.
6. Using a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the chicken in two batches and cook until golden brown, 3-4 minutes on each side. Transfer to a large plate.
7. Using the same skillet, fry the pancetta over medium-high heat until it begins to crisp, about 3 minutes. Add the shallots and cook until they are limp and pancetta is totally crisp, another 3 minutes.
8. Add the porcinis and marsala. Cook for 1 minute. Lower heat to medium and add chicken stock. Cook for 2 minutes, allowing the stock to reduce slightly.
9. Add the butter and chicken pieces. Reheat until chicken is hot, about 2-3 minutes.
10. Spoon chicken onto a warmed platter, pour the sauce over the chicken and garnish with toasted pine nuts and parsley.