Chicken Marsala (Pollo al Marsala)

IMG_0636 (2) Chicken Marsala.JPG

Marsala is an indigenous fortified wine frequently used in Sicilian cooking.  There are two varieties of Marsala – sweet and dry.  Sweet Marsala is savored as a desert wine and used mainly for making desserts.  Dry Marsala, which is less sweet, is enjoyed as an aperitif and used for making savory dishes.

Chicken Marsala is typically made with chicken breasts but it can also be made using the whole chicken or just the thighs and drumsticks.  This is a basic recipe with a variation in  using pancetta and  mushrooms. For those who like the layer of flavors,  the earthiness of the mushrooms and Marsala complement each other.  This dish is delicious served over spaghetti, noodles, or mashed potatoes.


Serves 4

One 3-4 pound chicken, washed and cut into 8-10 pieces
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 large onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup diced pancetta
8 ounces sliced white or cremini mushrooms
1 tablespoon flour
1 cup dry Marsala
1/4 cup chicken stock
1 tablespoon minced flat-leaf parsley
1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice



Pat the chicken pieces dry with paper towels.

Heat the olive oil and half of the butter in a large, deep-skillet or Dutch oven over high heat.

Working in 2 batches, add half of the chicken pieces and brown on both sides, about 6 minutes.  Transfer the chicken to a platter and set aside.

Reduce heat to medium-high.  Add the onion, pancetta, and garlic to the skillet.  Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until onions become soft and translucent.  Add the mushrooms and cook for 2 minutes stirring constantly, sprinkle in the flour and stir until combined.

Stir in the Marsala, chicken stock, and parsley.  Add in the chicken pieces, cover with a lid, and simmer for approximately 40 minutes, until chicken is tender.

Transfer the chicken pieces to a serving platter.  Stir remaining butter and lemon juice into the sauce.

To serve, spoon sauce over the chicken.  Sprinkle with additional minced parsley if desired.


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