Chicken Marsala for Dianne

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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.

Serves 6

  • 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.

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26 Responses to Chicken Marsala for Dianne

  1. apuginthekitchen April 20, 2012 at 2:52 pm #

    I love Chicken Marsala but never had a recipe that I used, love this one. Thank you for posting it and I have a bottle of sweet marsala that I would love to use for this, now to get some porcini.

    • lizthechef April 20, 2012 at 3:03 pm #

      This is a very quick and simple recipe to prepare – next time I will add a little more marsala.

  2. Elizabeth April 20, 2012 at 3:16 pm #

    I love these quick, but flavor packed recipes. Your recipes sounds great. I wished that I could of attended that day to learn all those valuable gems that Dianne gave to all of you. Thanks for sharing.

    • lizthechef April 20, 2012 at 3:24 pm #

      Thanks, Elizabeth – will reheat for our supper tonight. I made it this afternoon when the light was good ๐Ÿ˜‰

  3. The Wimpy Vegetarian April 20, 2012 at 3:20 pm #

    What a lovely tribute from one lovely lady to another ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m so glad the day was such a success for both you and Dianne. I’ve not worked much with marsala lately. Thanks for the reminder and the tip to work with sweet instead of the dry!

  4. The Wimpy Vegetarian April 20, 2012 at 3:22 pm #

    BTW, I love the way the placemat(s) bring out the colors of your dish, and the texture of the mushrooms!! Very Nice!

    • lizthechef April 20, 2012 at 3:24 pm #

      Thanks, Susan, always practicing – green makes “brown things” pop, I guess.

      • The Wimpy Vegetarian April 20, 2012 at 6:18 pm #

        Who knew??!

        • lizthechef April 20, 2012 at 6:42 pm #

          Who knew what?

          • The Wimpy Vegetarian April 20, 2012 at 10:06 pm #

            That green makes brown pop out :-). Was that covered in that wonderful photo class we took together? Sigh. I’d better look at my notes one of these days…have a great weekend.

          • lizthechef April 21, 2012 at 9:40 am #

            I just did it – no special reason but green and turquoise look good with brown. Buy a color wheel at an art store – contrasting colors opposite one another.

          • The Wimpy Vegetarian April 22, 2012 at 5:40 pm #

            I did – right after our photo class. Now, I just need to remember to actually use it ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Wendy Read (@Sunchowder) April 20, 2012 at 4:05 pm #

    Oh yes Liz! Such a delightful post and so sweet to post this in Dianne’s honor, I wish I could have been there with you too ๐Ÿ™‚ Great pic!

    • lizthechef April 20, 2012 at 5:15 pm #

      Hey, Wendy dear – hope Dianne sees this…Miss you lots.

  6. diannejacob April 20, 2012 at 5:38 pm #

    Oh Liz, I hardly know what to say. This is such a lovely post, warm and gracious. Thank you, both for the post and for bringing me to San Diego to spend the day with you, Larry and the bloggers. I bought a bag of mushrooms for myself as well. Now I know what to do with them! XO

    • lizthechef April 20, 2012 at 5:42 pm #

      OK, Dianne, thanks for making my month! New site design in the works and looking forward to your coaching. Summer, bring it on!

  7. Carol Sacks April 20, 2012 at 6:48 pm #

    What a lovely, heartfelt post — and I could eat that plate of chicken marsala right now!

    • lizthechef April 20, 2012 at 6:50 pm #

      It was such a special day with Dianne – who is completely one of us and so easy to host. Hey, Santa Barbara?

  8. Toni April 20, 2012 at 8:35 pm #

    Larry shared you were making this today, or I should say he teased me that he was going to be enjoying it for dinner. Your photos are looking good enough to eat also.

  9. omgyummy April 22, 2012 at 9:53 am #

    I always seem to not be able to make it to Dianne’s classes so maybe hosting one would make it all come together! Nice post and nice recipe – love the idea of the toasted pine nuts on top. As my daughter says – they have so much flavor in such a small package!

    • lizthechef April 22, 2012 at 11:35 am #

      Dianne is so much fun and so easy to work with – I hope you organize a class. I had no problem getting a dozen bloggers together.

  10. TasteFood April 22, 2012 at 10:59 am #

    I love this recipe, Liz, especially with the pine nuts.

    • lizthechef April 22, 2012 at 11:34 am #

      Lynda, it was so easy to make and in a flash, my kind of weeknight entrรฉe –

  11. sippitysup (@sippitysup) April 25, 2012 at 9:32 am #

    I bet it was an amazing event! GREG

  12. Averie @ Averie Cooks April 29, 2012 at 3:12 pm #

    What a lovely post and ode to Dianne and that day we all shared. So great; I’ll never forget it! And you as the hostess did an amazing job. Again, thank you for hosting and to Dianne, for coming down here for the day.

    • lizthechef April 29, 2012 at 6:15 pm #

      Thanks, Averie, I am still inspired by the day. Hope to see you later next month!

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