What is Chicken Marsala?

Chicken Marsala is a recipe in the style of the many scallopina (or scallopini) dishes made throughout Italy.  The sauce is made with marsala, which is a fortified red wine used for drinking and cooking throughout Italy and beyond, and it also may contain cream or broth.  Sauteed mushrooms are also almost part of the equation.

Chicken Marsala

How to Make Chicken Marsala Sauce

You’ll see that after you cook the chicken and after you brown the pancetta there will be little browned bits stuck to the bottom of the pan.  These caramelized bits will release and become part of the sauce, adding nice depth of flavor.  Then you sauté the mushrooms and garlic in the same pan, and after they have browned marsala wine and broth are added (sometimes cream, too, but not in this recipe) then the sauce reduces and thickens.  Finally lemon juice and butter are added to finish it off, and the pancetta and parsley are added.  

What Kind of Mushrooms to Use in Chicken Marsala

You can absolutely use plain old sliced white button mushrooms in turkey marsala, but play around with  different varieties; it’s nice to keep changing it up. Try cremini, shiitake, oyster or chanterelles, or any combination of mushrooms.

Chicken Marsala

How to Make Chicken Marsala

In a shallow bowl combine the flour, ½ teaspoon salt and salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper.  Heat the oil in a very large skillet over medium high heat.  Dredge the chicken breasts in the flour mixture and when the oil is hot place the cutlets in the pan and cook for about 4 minutes, until the bottom is browned, then flip and cook for another 4 or 5 minutes, until the bottom is browned and the chicken is just cooked through.  Remove the chicken from the pan to a platter.

Return the skillet to medium heat and add the pancetta.  Stir until the pancetta is crisp and browned, then transfer the crisp pancetta to a paper towel-lined plate to drain.

Chicken Marsala

Return the pan to medium high heat and add the mushrooms.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms are browned and any liquid released by the mushrooms has evaporated, about 8 minutes.  Continue to scrape the bottom of the pan to loosen any browned bits.  Add the garlic and stir for one more minute until you can smell the garlic.  

Pour in the marsala wine and broth, then return the pan to the heat and stir and scrape until all of the browned bits come loose and the wine reduces and starts to become a syrupy sauce.  

Chicken Marsala

Add any juices that have accumulated on the plate from the chicken, then stir in the lemon juice.

Chicken Marsala

And the butter, until melted.  

Chicken Marsala

Season with salt and pepper to taste and stir in half of the parsley. Add half the crisped pancetta.  Pour the sauce over the chicken on the platter.

Chicken Marsala

Sprinkle with the rest of the parsley and pancetta.  Serve hot.

Chicken Marsala: This chicken dish, with its rich sauce, sauteed mushrooms, and bits of crispy pancetta, is just the thing on a cool evening.

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Pancetta in Chicken Marsala

Some sort of cured or smoked pork is commonly used in chicken marsala, and here I’ve chosen pancetta, which is cured but not smoked.  You could definitely use bacon or even prosciutto instead. 

You want about ½ cup roughly chopped pancetta, or whatever cured pork you’ve selected, and I like crisping it up in the pan on its own first both to add flavor to the sauce and also to keep the pancetta from getting soft.  Some of the crisped pancetta is stirred into the sauce at the end and some is sprinkled right over the top.

Chicken Marsala

What to Serve with Chicken Marsala:

Chicken Marsala

Other Skillet Chicken Recipes:

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Chicken Marsala

This chicken dish, with its rich sauce, sauteed mushrooms, and bits of crispy pancetta, is just the thing on a cool evening.
Yield: 4 People
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes

Ingredients

  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 6 ounces each)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 slices pancetta , roughly chopped
  • 8 ounces sliced mushrooms , button, cremini or a wild mushroom mixture
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 cup Marsala wine
  • ¾ cup less-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter , cut into small pieces
  • 4 tablespoons minced fresh parsley , divided

Directions

  • In a shallow bowl combine the flour, ½ teaspoon salt and salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper.
  • Heat the oil in a very large skillet over medium high heat. Dredge the chicken breasts in the flour mixture and when the oil is hot place the cutlets in the pan and cook for about 4 minutes, until the bottom is browned, then flip and cook for another 4 or 5 minutes, until the bottom is browned and the chicken is just cooked through. Remove the chicken from the pan to a platter.
  • Return the skillet to medium heat and add the pancetta. Stir until the pancetta is crisp and browned, scraping up any little browned bits stuck to the bottom of the pan (you will get more of those browned bits loosened when you add the wine). Transfer the crisp pancetta to a paper towel-lined plate to drain.
  • Return the pan to medium high heat and add the mushrooms. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms are browned and any liquid released by the mushrooms has evaporated, about 8 minutes. Continue to scrape the bottom of the pan to loosen any browned bits. Add the garlic and stir for one more minute until you can smell the garlic.
  • Add the marsala wine and broth, then return the pan to the heat and stir and scrape until all of the browned bits come loose and the wine reduces and starts to become a syrupy sauce. Add any juices that have accumulated on the plate from the chicken, then stir in the lemon juice and the butter until melted. Season with salt and pepper to taste and stir in half of the parsley, and half the crisped pancetta. Pour the sauce over the chicken on the platter, and sprinkle with the rest of the parsley and pancetta. Serve hot.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 455kcal | Carbohydrates: 23g | Protein: 29g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 94mg | Sodium: 387mg | Potassium: 735mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 550IU | Vitamin C: 10mg | Calcium: 26mg | Iron: 2mg

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