Friday, June 25, 2010

Chicken Marsala Cream with Mushrooms and Sauteed French Beans

I like to make use of the chicken stock I made several days ago and what better way to use it is to dish up a simple and easy recipe Chicken Marsala. I taught this recipe during the Youth Work Committee's special summer cooking class two years ago at United Evangelical Church of the Philippines. I was assigned to teach and demonstrate Italian Cuisine. Chicken Cacciatore, Spaghetti alla Puttanesca, Panna Cotta and Tiramisu to name a few. It was a humbling and fearful experience for me, if you have been following my blog I'm a Poppy seed and a Mimosa Pudica, I talk less but listen and do more. But being an instructor it's th e other way around I need to talk more, listen and do less. Thank God my students are friendly, I feel comfortable accommodating their questions...and yes this time I've got to talk more.

Another thing that you might want to know about me aside from being a shy girl, is that I like to learn photography..I'm still a work in progress so pardon m e if some of my photos looks blurred or not fascinating at all. I don't know if there's something wrong with uploading my photos in this blog because at Picasa 3 (where i store my photos) all my photos have clear and sharp image...Uhm??...I need somebody to figure this one out.

I can still remember when we would have an out of the country family vacation during summer, I would take different shots of the Walt Disney parade from Disney Land Aneheim, the Mt. Fuji of Japan, or the bridge of San Francisco and my mom would asked me where's my sister in that photo?...She would also say that I'm wasting the film, we don't have digital camera yet on those days...that was sometime not so long long ago.

Anyways back to the dish. Chicken Marsala is an Italian dish made from chicken cutlets, mushrooms and Marsala wine. There are many cooking variations for this dish either you add herbs, squeeze some lemon juice, add some cream or a combi nation of herb and cream which I've made. The key ingredient which gives chicken marsala its distinctive sweet flavour and aroma is the Marsala wine. Marsala wine is produced using the Grillo, Inzolia, and Catarratto white grape varietals, among others. It was traditionally serve as apertif between the first and second courses o f a meal. Different Marsala wines are classified according to their color, sweetness and the duration of their aging.

Chicken fillet are pounded flat then coated lightly with flour and quickly browned in butter with a little olive oil then removed
from the pan (do not removed the brown bit pieces in the pan because the excellent flavor are in it). The remaining oil and juices are used to sauté the mushrooms and the shallots after which deglazing (is a cooking technique for removing and dissolving bits of food in the pan using liquid in order to make a pan sauce) it with Marsala wine and reducing it until the consistency of syrup then add some cream and herbs or other possible ingredients.

I like going to Santi's and Robinson's Place to buy imported fruits, vegetables, cheeses, sausages, bacon, frozen berries, cold-cuts, meats and much more which are not available in other supermarkets. Although it is costly I still buy a thing or two or three or four or five?...its so tempting to get all those delicacy, when it comes to food sometimes I forgot what budget means.

I bought Shimeiji and White Button Mushrooms (rich in anti-oxidant properties) at Robinson's Place supermarket for my Chicken Marsala, you can make use of other mushrooms like s
hitake or canned mushrooms but i prefer fresh. There are two kinds of Shimeji, Buna (brown color, top photo ) and Bunapi (white). Shimeji should always be cooked for they have somewhat bitter taste if eaten raw, but upon cooking the bitterness disappears completely. The cooked mushroom has a pleasant, firm, slightly crunchy texture and a slightly nutty flavor. This mushroom can be used in soups, stir-fries, stews and in sauces. When cooked alone, this mushroom can be cook as a whole, including the stem or stalk (only the very end cut off). I think you'll be seeing more of this and other mushrooms on my blog because I like them.

I've added french beans on my Chicken Marsala as a side dish, you can serve this as one dish meal by adding either mashed potato, pasta or rice pilaf. French Green Beans or in French word Haricot Vert (silent "t" for both words), this can closely resemble to regular green beans. However, they are a bit more slender and long than regular green beans and they are also stringless. When lightly cooked, they are tender, crispy and very tasty with a hint of sweetness. You can blanched them and add them to salads or side dish or you can stir-fry or roast them to bring out the soft and sweet flavor.

Makes 4 servings

For the Chicken

4 pieces chicken breast fillet
All-purpose flour for dredging
Salt and Pepper

For the Sauce

1/4 cup button Mushrooms
1/2 cup shimeji (optional)
2 tbsp butter
3 tbsp olive oil
2 pcs. shallots (chopped)
1/4 tsp thyme or oregano
1/2 cup Marsala wine
1 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup heavy cream
Salt and Pepper

For Haricot Vert or French green beans

250 gms. French green beans
2 cloves chopped garlic
3 tbsps Extra Virgin Olive oil
Salt and Pepper

To pan fry. Place the chicken breast fillet in between the cling wrap and using a meat mallet pound the chicken breast lightly until 1/4 -inch thick. Put some flour on a shallow dish and season the meat with a little salt and ground pepper. Dredge the breast in the flour shaking off the excess. Heat butter and oil over medium-high flame in a large skillet. When the oil is already hot slip the chicken breast into the pan and fry for about 3 minutes on each side until golden brown, turning once. Remove the chicken to a platter in a single layer to keep warm.

To make the sauce. Lower the heat to medium and sauté the shallots until aromatic, add the mushrooms and sauté until they are nicely browned and their moisture are evaporated, about 5 minutes. Pour the Marsala wine in the pan and boil down for a few seconds to cook out the alcohol. Add the chicken stock, oregano or thyme, simmer for 2 minutes to reduce the sauce slightly. Return the chicken breast to the pan and simmer for 1 minute to heat the chicken through. Add heavy cream and season it with salt and pepper.

To cook the beans. Boil water in a mini stock pot, once the water is boiling add rock salt and blanched the beans, cook until crunchy and tender about 1 minute. Remove the beans and transfer into an ice bath to stop the cooking process. Heat oil over medium-high heat and sauté garlic until fragrant add the beans and cook for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper.

Dredge - the process of pulling food through dry ingredients to coat them before cooking.
Reasons for dredging:
  • It acts as barrier to keep the food from sticking to the pan as it cooks.
  • It enables the exterior to become crisp and darken evenly without burning.
  • It prevents the food from becoming tough texture because it seals in the moisture of the food.
Blanch - the process of briefly cooking food in boiling water or steam and then immersing the food in ice cold water or frozen storage to stop the cooking process.
Reasons for blanching:
  • It brings out the color in vegetables and helps maintain their nutritional value, which can be lost in overcooking.
  • It is also useful for loosening the skin of the fruit and vegetable so that the skin can be removed easily.
Ice bath - a preparation technique, used primarily for vegetables, that shocks the food item by exposing it into ice after the food item has been blanched.
Reasons for ice bath:
  • To immediately stop the food from cooking.
  • To preserve the flavor, the food color and the texture at the point when the shocking occurs.

Have fun cooking and enjoy!

By His Grace,


cherry said...

Looks yummy achi wen :)

Wen said...

thanks che..i cooked this for our saturday family dinner. Thank God my in-laws loved it very much.