Two nights ago, I decided to try a recipe in Better Homes and Gardens (BHG) for Chicken Marsala. Here and there, I get stuck in a rut when it comes to making dinner. I’ll find myself repeating recipes over and over until Mike and I tire of them and crave something different.
Recipes revolving around boneless chicken breasts are amongst the simplest and most innocuous, so I often gravitate towards them. After paging through the BHG cookbook–a gift to Mike from his mom years ago and a staple in everyone’s kitchen according to her expertise–I came upon a recipe for chicken marsala. I knew it was something that Mike and I would both enjoy, and it seemed simple enough, so we purchased the necessary ingredients with enthusiastic anticipation.
When Mike walked through the door on Tuesday night, late after having been stuck in terrible traffic, he walked over to the stove, looked at the chicken and said:
“Why isn’t the sauce reduced?”
“The recipe didn’t call for it,” I said.
“Well, it doesn’t look like any chicken marsala I’ve ever seen.”
At this moment, I wanted to pour the hot mushroom mixture over his head, then clock him with the frying pan, not because I’m violent but rather, because I’d hit my limit for the day. By this point, I’d already straightened the house, did some laundry, took Jude to the pediatrician, and tried to get dinner done while contending with this:
If you look closely, you can see tears AND a smile. This is because he would cry every time I turned towards the stove.
And then, there was this:
Not only does Harry want to walk over and steal the chicken, but he also is a little irritated that I haven’t fed him his nighttime snack. For the record, he’s not allowed on the dinner table, but you can see how well I’m winning that battle.
Yes, I have used similar images before when discussing the stress of making dinner, but I can’t think of a better way to illustrate the drama that unfolds in my kitchen every night between 6-7 pm.
Also on my mind was the piles of clean laundry sitting in baskets upstairs, waiting to be put away once the dishes were cleaned and Jude was changed into his pajamas. After that, I’d squeeze my last bit of energy into getting some writing done before bed. So really, I could have done without the critique of my marsala sauce. It was just bad timing on Mike’s part.
Once we sat down and tasted the meal, the adulation began flowing. At first, I thought he was trying to make up for his original commentary in order to stop the steam from billowing out of my ears, but he insisted that his praise was sincere.
“This is easily one of the ten best chicken dishes I’ve ever eaten,” he said after his third helping.
I was quite pleased with the way it turned out, but I wasn’t sure about his declaration.
“Is that even a compliment? One of the top ten chicken dishes?”
“Gina, do you know how much chicken I’ve eaten in my life? More than ten-thousand varieties, I’m sure. We’re talking one of the ten best meals amongst all of them.”
I thought for a moment.
“Well, I guess that is kind of nice, actually.”
After having been stuck in traffic at the end of a long work day, Mike was just frustrated and hungry. I know now that he made his observation without thinking. I’ve been guilty of the same and worse.
And about that top ten comment? Pretty awesome.
Better Homes and Gardens Chicken Marsala
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram, crushed
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
- 4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
- 2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms
- 1/4 cup sliced green onion (2)
- 3 tablespoons butter or margarine
- 1/2 cup chicken broth
- 1/2 cup dry Marsala or dry sherry
Hot cooked pasta, such as capellini or linguine (optional
1. In a shallow bowl stir together flour, marjoram, salt, and pepper. Place a chicken breast half between 2 pieces of plastic wrap. Using the flat side of a meat mallet, pound chicken lightly to about 1/4 inch thick . Remove plastic wrap. Repeat with remaining chicken breast halves. Lightly coat chicken on both sides with flour mixture; shake off excess.
2. In a large skillet cook mushrooms and green onion in 1 tablespoon of the butter over medium-high heat until tender; remove from skillet. In the same skillet cook chicken in remaining 2 tablespoons butter for 5 to 6 minutes, turning to brown evenly.
3. Remove skillet from heat. Return mushrooms and green onion to skillet. Carefully add broth and Marsala to skillet. Bring mixture to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, for 2 minutes more, stirring occasionally. Season sauce to taste with additional salt and pepper. Transfer chicken to a serving platter. Spoon mushroom mixture over chicken. If desired, serve over pasta.