Marsala Marvel: A Healthier Twist on a Classic Chicken Marsala

Healthy Chicken Marsala

Chicken Marsala is a fantastic and flavoursome chicken dish for an easy, weeknight dinner. This healthy version of chicken marsala uses olive oil and just 2 tablespoons of evaporated milk to give it a deliciously creamy, moreish sauce. It reheats well so it's also fantastic for leftovers. This is a pushy recipe Dear Reader.

Chicken marsala is a dish using chicken escalopes in a marsala wine sauce. Other people say that Chicken Marsala actually came from French families that lived in Sicily where Marsala wine is produced. I've made chicken marsala around 6 times in the last 3 weeks because it is so delicious and quick to make.

Tips For Making Chicken Marsala

Healthy Chicken Marsala

1 - Always use the right type of marsala. You want to use a dry marsala rather than a sweet one. Sweet marsala is usually good enough for drinking alone but the dry one won't be particularly good for drinking. I use an Italian marsala called Pellegrino that you can get at all big bottle shops.

2 - You can make chicken marsala using chicken breasts, cut in half horizontally or chicken tenderloins. I much prefer the texture of the chicken tenderloins because, as the name suggests, they're much more tender!

Healthy Chicken Marsala

3 - Use a mallet to tenderise the chicken even more and to flatten it out so that it browns and cooks evenly.

4 - The flour that you lightly dredge the chicken in then thickens up the sauce so if you skip dredging the chicken in the flour, you will need to add a roux to thicken up the sauce.

5 - Usually chicken marsala is made with lots of heavy cream. I actually prefer a lighter, less creamy version because that way you get the flavour of the marsala wine. I use a couple of tablespoons of cream or evaporated milk.

5 - Delicious side dishes to go with chicken marsala are: honey roasted carrots or roasted zucchini, parsnip puree or a classic green salad to go with every meal. Or just serve it with steamed rice!

As this is originally an Italian recipe I consulted my Italian oracle Monica. She said that she had never really heard of chicken marsala in Italy and that it probably fell into the category of Italian American dishes. Nevertheless, I have to say that I absolutely love it. It's full of flavour and I can eat it for lunch or dinner any time.

Monica also taught me something else the other day. I'd mentioned a new Italian restaurant and she asked me the chef's name. I told her and then she started tapping something into her phone. "Ahhh he's from Emilia Romagna," she said. I asked her how she knew. Did she know him? Then she showed me a really interesting website. It maps Italian surnames across all of Italy. Before the unification of Italy in 1861 it used to be made up of different, separate several kingdoms, duchies, and city states. Monica was born in Emilia Romagna and her partner Marco was born in Venice and they often argue about which area is better. And if you use this website nad put someone's surname in it you can tell where they come from!

I was so curious about this site called Cognomix (Cognomi means surname in Italian) and I don't know any other countries that have this. I put in the name of every Italian person I knew. Then I looked up non Italian names like Elliott and there is even shows the dispersion of people with that surname! Even Mr NQN got into it adding in names of everyone he knew and even Chinese names like my maiden name come up in the results!

So tell me Dear Reader, have you ever tried Chicken Marsala? And have you ever come across a site like Cognomix for other countries?

Healthy Chicken Marsala

Healthy Chicken Marsala

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An Original Recipe by Lorraine Elliott

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 20 minutes

Serves: 4

  • 550g/1.2lbs chicken tenderloins
  • 1/4 cup/ 40g/1.4ozs plain all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon chicken stock powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Extra virgin olive oil for frying
  • 300g/10.6ozs mushrooms, sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 cup/250ml/8.8flozs dry marsala wine
  • 180ml/6flozs chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons cream or evaporated milk (more if you prefer it creamier)
  • Chopped chives or parsley to decorate

Healthy Chicken Marsala

Step 1 - Use a mallet to tenderise the chicken tenderloins (I use the flat side of the mallet, the ridged side will mince up the tenderloins too much). Mix the flour, stock powder and salt together in a medium, rimmed plate and have this ready to dredge the chicken in. Heat a large frying pan to medium heat and add 2 tablespoons of oil. Dredge the tenderloins in the flour mixture and brown the chicken on both sides. Place on a separate plate and repeat with the rest of the tenderloins adding oil when needed.

Healthy Chicken Marsala

Step 2 - Using the same pan, add the mushrooms and some extra oil and saute for a few minutes. Add the garlic and cook for a minute then add the marsala and use this to deglaze the pan and removing any bits stuck on the bottom. Add the chicken stock and bring to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes. Return the chicken to the pan and simmer for 5 minutes where the sauce will thicken. Then add the cream and stir and cook for 2 minutes. Place on a serving plate and sprinkle with chives or parsley and serve.

Healthy Chicken Marsala

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