Monday, March 15, 2010 at 1:30 p.m.
We took a three-hour drive up to Northern Arizona for a few days of R&R and cool weather, looking forward to visiting with the family and seeing some snow. On days like these, sometimes it's nice to eat a big midday meal. Which is what we felt like doing today.
The meal need not be overly complicated. Today it's Marsala Chicken with Sage and Cremini Mushrooms
, served with a little penne pasta with butter and sage and some pan-roasted vegetables. We'll crack open a bottle of wine and while away the afternoon -- take a walk, play some cards, read a book, nap.
For Martha's Marsala Chicken recipe, you dredge four boneless, skinless chicken breasts in a mixture of flour, salt and pepper to coat. Then cook in a hot skillet with a couple of tablespoons of olive oil until golden. Martha recommends 8 to 10 minutes per side, but this really depends on the thickness of the chicken breasts. Ours were not particularly thick and the cooking time was more like 5 to 6 minutes a side.
When cooked, transfer the chicken to a plate and start on the sauce. In the same skillet add sliced mushrooms, shallots, sage and water. Cook until mushrooms are tender then add Marsala wine and heavy cream cooking on medium-high until sauce thickens and begins to reduce to a syrupy consistency. Stir in 1 tablespoon butter. Voila! You spoon the sauce on top of the chicken and garnish with a little extra sage.
The sauce is slightly sweet, creamy and earthy, with a light caramel flavor from the reduced wine. It compliments the chicken and the penne with butter and sage, and everyone has seconds.
It's a meal that was easy to put together -- especially when you have family around to assist with the chopping and the dishes -- and a nice way to reconnect.
Now it's time for a siesta.