Chicken Marsala

DSC_1994(1600x1200)I wanted to make this dish to try out that gallon of Marsala cooking wine I bought.  I had low expectations for it but wanted to save some money over buying the real stuff.  This met my expectations in that it isn’t nearly as good as the real wine but it does add some Marsala flavor to the dish so it wasn’t a total bust.  I took the dinner as an occasion to also try out some Mexican rice from a box mix that has been showing up at the local Kroger store:DSC_2005(1600x1200)The rice mix had some dried corn kernels that floated to the top when I poured in the water, I scooped those out and added some fresh off the cob sweet corn.  I probably should have left them in to make the trial a fair one but I have a recollection of biting down on a hard little rock of a corn kernel once.  The mix turned out pretty well – I will chop some fresh peppers into it next time, though.DSC_2004(1600x1200)There was leftover chicken and rice from the Marsala dish so I added more broccoli and turned it into a creamy cheese soup by adding the leftovers to chicken broth and blending in cheese and heavy cream.  It made an excellent lunch today.DSC03638 (1600x1200)Bonus kitteh!  This is Spots, a cute little tortie awaiting adoption at St Francis.

Chicken Marsala

DSC_8569 (1600x1060)This is a family favorite.  We went with Tyler Florence’s recipe for tonight’s dish, the prosciutto was an interesting touch.  I almost went with baked potato for the side because I wanted something a little different than the wild rice mix that’s my goto for this before remembering the couscous I had ordered from Amazon.

Chicken with Couscous

DSC_7832 (1600x1060)We like Chicken Marsala so much that we made a variant of it tonight.  This has boneless skinless thighs dredged in seasoned flour and then browned in olive oil.  Remove the chicken and deglaze with the Marsala wine, scrape the bottom with a flat wooden spatula to break the nice browned bits up.  Add a cup and a half of chicken stock to it and bring to a simmer.  Add the browned chicken back and cover.  I used butter kneaded with flour to thicken the gravy before serving.  The couscous was from a box mix, this one was flavored with dried mushrooms.  I squeezed lemon juice over my chicken and liked it well enough, optional.

We don’t eat much couscous, but it is being stocked regularly and we may step up the pace.  I see from the Wiki that we had the instant variety which is quick and easy.  I may browse the International Grocery next town over for the regular stuff.

Filet Mignon au Poivre

Fancy name for beefsteak filet with a cracked peppercorn sauce.  Pat the steaks dry and sprinkle with salt and some cracked peppercorns.  Sear the steaks in a good heavy skillet about four minutes a side on high heat in a bit of oil.  You can tell when the steak has a good sear on it when you can pick it up without it wanting to stick to the pan.  Turn your flame down to medium and cook them until they are done to suit.  If they are really thick, don’t forget  to sear the sides as well.  Remove them to a warm plate while you deglaze the skillet with some wine.  Brandy, red wine, Marsala, just whatever works for you.  I used a splash of red wine and another of Marsala.  Scrape the brown bits from the bottom with a flat wooden spoon and reduce the wine.  Add chopped parsley, some finely diced onion or shallots, and a few tablespoons of the cracked peppercorns.  After you are happy with the reduction, add some heavy cream and continue to reduce.  Serve with the sauce spooned over the steaks, and a bit along side.  I made some twice baked potatoes to go with the steaks.

Enjoy!

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Chicken breasts in a wine sauce–Cheese stuffed pasta shells

I had a few shells left from a previous dinner, and some thawed chicken breasts so I decided to use them up.  First the stuffed shells.  Boil the pasta as directed and then cool them under running water.  Stuff the shells with the cheese mixture and douse with your tomato sauce.  Cook the shells in a 350 oven for half an hour, then sprinkle on some mozzarella and parmesan and heat for an additional 10-15 minutes, or until the cheese browns on top.

The cheese mixture was just plain ricotta, I started with about one and a half pounds and added garlic and onion  powders, and dried herbs: basil, parsley, and oregano.  I didn’t add an egg or any other cheeses because I knew I didn’t have shells enough. (I had a 1lb-14oz container, sure enough I needed only just over half.)

The tomato sauce was simple too: onions sauteed in olive oil, some minced garlic added when the onions were about ready, and a can each of diced tomatoes and puree.  Mix in the usual dried herbs: I used basil, oregano, and a few small bay leaves.  Simmer it all while you stuff the shells.After removing the casserole from the oven, let it sit for 10-15 minutes.Back to the chicken.  Pound the breasts flat between layers of plastic wrap, dredge them in seasoned flour, and cook them in olive oil and butter over medium heat until they are browned on both sides. Cover and simmer until the chicken is done then remove the chicken to finish the sauce. Add white wine (and that half cup of Marsala I had left), maybe two cups or so, and whisk in an uncooked roux (flour and butter all smooshed together). When it looks right add the chicken back–to keep every thing warm cover until you are ready to plate the mealYou are better than I am if you can get things to finish all at the same time, not a problem with this meal.Plate it with some parsley garnish, and some toasted garlic bread sprinkled with Parmesan.

Enjoy!