Friday, May 20, 2011

Wayback Machine: Light Chicken and Mushroom Marsala

Sweet readers, we're taking the week off to catch up on some real-life work. In the meantime, we're re-posting some of our favorite recipes and essays. This one is from March 2008. Enjoy!

One of my least favorite words in the English language is “moist.” I don’t like the way it slides off the tongue, stabbing it at the end with a sinister, pointy “t.” The sound squicks me out, like the feel of cheap velvet or foam rubbing against itself. What's more, “moist” makes even the most harmless utterances seem a little dirty. Lewd, even. I actively refrain from using it on a casual basis, especially when describing people. Because, let's face it: there's nothing creepier than, “Hey Bob, you look moist today."

This aversion is unfortunate, partly because it’s a pretty common word, but mostly due to the food blogging thing. “Moist” depicts almost every kind of well-made meal, and there are few-to-no substitutes for it. “Wet" connotes a soaking, “soggy” is too negative, and “humid," well ... let's not even discuss. It’s got to be “moist.” “Moist” means a cake is well made. “Moist” means cookies are chewy, but firm. “Moist” means you might be eating Alex’s Slightly Altered Light Chicken and Mushroom Marsala.

I got this recipe from Smitten Kitchen, who got it from the June 1995 issue of Gourmet. And man oh man, is it ever moist. It’s moist-esque. It’s the hostess with the moistest. The chicken is basically braised in broth and marsala wine, which not only imparts a marvelous flavor to the mushrooms, but y’know … the moist thing.

The original recipe called for skin-on chicken breasts and more butter than I was comfortable with. So, to cut the fat, I:
  • Used boneless, skinless chicken breasts.
  • Only used oil to sauté the mushrooms and onions, instead of a butter/oil combination.
  • Reduced the olive oil by a third.
It came out beautifully and went really well with egg noodles. All told, it's a classy, earthy meal-for-four under eight bucks. Not too shabby. And most definitely moist. (*cringe*)

Chicken and Mushroom Marsala

Serves 4
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen.

2 whole boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 28 oz), halved
2 teaspoons olive oil
1-1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2/3 onion, sliced thin
1/2 pound mushrooms, sliced thin
1/3 cup Marsala
2/3 cup chicken broth
1-1/2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves

1) Gently pat chicken dry with paper towels. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add chicken and brown in two separate batches. When finished with each, transfer them to a plate so juices may redistribute throughout meat.

2) Add onion and mushrooms to skillet. Cook a few minutes, until "liquid mushrooms give off is evaporated," stirring occasionally. Add Marsala. Stir. Cook until Marsala is nearly gone. Add broth, chicken, and any chicken juices pooling on plate. Simmer until chicken is fully cooked, around 15 minutes, turning once halfway through. (I had very thick cuts, and this still timed out perfectly.) Move chicken back to plate.

3) Keep the sauce simmering until it reduces to around 1/3 cup. Kill heat. Salt and pepper the sauce to taste. Add butter. Stir sauce until butter is just melted. Serve chicken with sauce. Garnish with parsley.

Approximate Calories, Fat and Price Per Serving
352 calories, 9.75 g fat, $1.63

2 whole boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 28 oz): 875 calories, 9.9 g fat, $3.48
2 teaspoons olive oil: 79 calories, 8.9 g fat, $0.06
1-1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter: 153 calories, 17.3 g fat, $0.15
2/3 onion, sliced thin: 42 calories, 0.1 g fat, $0.32
1/2 pound mushrooms, sliced thin: 50 calories, 0.8 g fat, $1.50
1/3 cup Marsala: 142 calories, 0 g fat, $0.61
2/3 cup chicken broth: 64 calories, 2 g fat, $0.16
1-1/2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves: 2 calories, 0 g fat, $0.25
TOTAL: 1407 calories, 39 g fat, $6.53
PER SERVING (TOTAL/4): 352 calories, 9.75 g fat, $1.63

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Maggie said...

Loved your recipe! Its looking good- Thanks!

Anonymous said...

I have to say the opening paragraph for this post cracked me up as I have a sister in law who has mentally compiled a list of words she cannot stand and "moist" is at the top of it. We have of course made it our mission at times to have a group conversation around her using that word in our sentences as much as possible just to mess with her. She will no doubt appreciate your equal sentiments!