I’m sitting here in front of the computer in a sort of umami stupor. As I mentioned yesterday at the end of the blog, tonight we tried out a recipe for Chicken Marsala, once again, from the Serious Eats website. And, true to form, a few changes were made out of necessity and preference.
The most basic change we made was that we didn’t have any Marsala wine on board. So we substituted our standard cooking wine: Carlo Rossi Burgundy.
Now we don’t actually know anything about wine but we think that Marsala is a sweet wine. So, to compensate, Lulu added about 2 teaspoons of sugar to the sauce. We tasted it before and after and, although it didn’t seem particularly sweet afterwards, it did taste somehow richer. The other change we made was that, instead of pounding the chicken breasts flat, she sliced them across the grain into cutlets about 1/2″ thick. We figured this was a better use of the space in the pan and achieved the same end.
And, she also cooked the chicken a bit differently than the recipe called for. I found this method online a few months ago. I’ve used it several times and it is definitely one of the absolute best ways to cook boneless, skinless chicken breasts. Very flavorful, cooked all the way through and as tender and juicy as you could possibly hope for. This recipe also calls for pounding the chicken but, since the whole point is to get the breast uniform in thickness and not too thick at that, our slicing method works just as well or maybe even better.
Other than that, Lulu followed the recipe as written. Instead of the butter-sage noodles called for in the recipe, we decided to reprise the Vietnamese Garlic Noodles that we were so enamored of a week or so ago. To balance things out a bit, nutritionally, she also made some steamed carrots, which we both love.
This is the first time we’ve ever had chicken marsala so we don’t know if it would be better made with actual Marsala wine. But, I don’t see how it could get any better! The sauce was amazingly rich tasting thanks to the mushrooms, the bacon, and the wine. Lulu said that she’s had lots of sauces with a lot more ingredients that didn’t even come close to this one for flavor. We’d meant to have this two nights in a row as we do most of our meals but we ended up eating it all tonight. Holy crap it was good! If you were to look up “umami” in the dictionary, there should just be a chicken marsala recipe and the directions to “taste this and you’ll know what umami means”. By the way, cooking the chicken the way we did yielded breasts that were very flavorful and juicy and so tender that only a fork was needed to cut through. I think we’ll make that adjustment to the recipe so we remember next time. You really need to give this one a try. The gang at Serious Eats got it right again!
Tomorrow we’re going to take a pasta-laden break from cooking. We have a little bit of leftover chicken and penne from a couple nights ago and the leftover garlic noodles from tonight which just happen to have been mixed with the sauce and mushrooms that were left after we ate all the chicken tonight. Heat everything up and have ourselves a little leftovers feast. I suspect Lulu’ll make some more carrots to go with since they’re so pretty.