Traditional Chicken Marsala has always been in the top 10 of my favorite Italian dishes. I recently did a little research on Marsala Wine and here is what I found:
Marsala is the west section of Sicily, the island near the foot end of Italy. In 1798 the Sicilians managed to substitute their own wines in place of the standard rum in an English naval shipment. In those seafaring days, something had to be done to wine to allow it to last the long ocean journeys. Brandy was added to allow the wine to last longer and to be more resistant to temperature changes. These brandy-dosed wines were called “fortified wines”.
Marsala Region Once the British had a taste of Marsala, demand grew quickly. In the United States during Prohibition, things became even more interesting. The typical Marsala bottles made the wine look like medicine. People found that getting Marsala was less risky than other types of wine. While not as popular now for straight drinking, Marsala is still used quite frequently as a cooking wine in Italian dishes.
I am always in search of new twists on traditional dishes. I believe this recipe for Chicken Marsala Meatballs is my new discovery of a dish that I will just have to make time and time again.
- ¼ cup panko breadcrumbs
- 2 tablespoons milk, room temperature
- ⅓ cup plus 1 tablespoon Marsala wine
- 1 pound ground white meat chicken
- ¼ cup grated pecorino, plus extra for serving
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ⅛ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 8 ounces cremini mushrooms, sliced
- 1 large shallot, minced
- 1½ teaspoons flour
- 1¼ cups low-sodium chicken broth
- Preheat the broiler to high.
- In a large bowl, mix together the breadcrumbs, milk and 1 tablespoon Marsala. Leave to soak for 5 minutes. Add the chicken, pecorino, egg, parsley, ½ teaspoon of the salt and the pepper. With your hands, gently mix together the ingredients until just combined. Form the mixture into tablespoon-size balls and place on an oiled baking sheet. Broil for 5 minutes, or until the meatballs are beginning to brown and are just barely cooked through. Remove from the oven and set aside.
- In a straight-sided skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, until the mushrooms are brown on all sides, about 5 minutes. Add the shallots and the remaining ½ teaspoon salt and cook for another 2 minutes. Lower the heat to medium and stir in the flour and the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add the ⅓ cup Marsala and stir until the mixture is smooth. Whisk in the chicken broth and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the meatballs to the sauce and simmer for an additional 5 minutes to let the flavors blend. Serve hot, garnished with grated pecorino