Saturday, February 14, 2009

SuSu Chicken Marsala

One gloomy winter week in January 2009, my friend Su swept me away from school for a restorative lunch at her favorite Italian restaurant. In addition to the main entree of friend therapy, I had a veal and shrimp piccata and Su enjoyed veal marsala. I've made this chicken marsala in her honor. Thank you, Su.

To make this an easy weeknight meal, I used packaged sliced chicken. Of course, you can take chicken breast, slice it yourself, and pound it so it's even. I also used packaged sliced mushrooms. This will serve 3 people and of course you can double or triple the recipe.

3/4 to 1 lb. prepackaged sliced chicken
Salt and pepper
Olive oil
1/2 tbs. butter
2 slices bacon (or 2 oz. pancetta), finely chopped
1 8 oz. package sliced mushrooms
1 tsp. tomato paste (I use Amore paste in the tube)
1 clove garlic, minced
Salt and pepper
Italian seasoning
1 cup sweet Marsala
1/2 cup chicken broth
Fresh chopped parsley
A tsp. of cornstarch mixed with a couple tsp. of water

Heat oven to 200 degrees.

Season chicken on both sides with salt and pepper. Dredge both sides in flour, shaking off excess flour.Heat saute pan over medium heat.

Add 1-2 tbs. of oil and cook chicken on both sides, 4-6 minutes per side depending on the thickness. If cooking in batches put chicken on a plate, covered loosely with tin foil, in the oven.Add a little oil and little butter in the skillet. Add bacon and cook for one minute. Add mushrooms and garlic and cook until bacon is browned and mushrooms are cooked, around 8 minutes. Add salt, pepper, and a little italian seasoning. Add tomato paste and cook with mushrooms until the tomato starts caramelizing. Take out mushrooms and set aside.

Add marsala wine to skillet and simmer five minutes, letting it reduce and the alcohol burn off. Add back mushrooms and chicken broth, and cook until sauce is reduced, another five minutes. taste, add salt and pepper as needed, and add shot of lemon as needed. Add cornstarch slurry, and stir, letting it come to a simmer for final thickening and add parsley.Poor sauce over chicken and serve.

Coleen's Jamaican Curry Chicken

Coleen is one of my best friends in the whole world. She epitomizes the spirit of this food blog, as she's got a big heart, a bold personality and is beautiful both inside and out. Coleen came here from Jamaica when she was in her teens and has taught me to make some of the food from her homeland, including chicken curry.

2-3 lbs. skinless bone-in chicken (thighs and breast)
6 scallions
1 medium-large onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, cut in pieces
Couple sprigs fresh thyme
Goya Adobo powder
Onion powder
Garlic powder
Salt and pepper
Curry powder
Chicken bouillon (or chicken broth)
1 scotch bonnet pepper

Cut chicken into smaller pieces with a cleaver.

Put chicken in a big bowl. Mix in cut onion, garlic, and scallions. Season as desired with adobo powder, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper, and thyme, mixing the seasonings throughout. Add a generous amount of curry powder, enough to coat each piece. If you have time, let marinate overnight or for a couple hours. If you don't have time, it's fine to cook the chicken right away.

Heat a 1/4 cup-1/2 cup of oil in dutch oven (a thin layer of oil on the bottom of the pot) over medium heat. Add chicken and lightly pan fry all pieces, turning and rotating pieces. Pieces shouldn't be browned per se, but the outside should be lightly cooked. Coleen calls it glazed. The pan will talk to you with a nice sizzling sound when the chicken is cooking properly. When the chicken is almost glazed, liquid will start accumulating on the bottom of the pan. That's when you know you're about done. Add water or chicken broth until almost covered. If you use water, add a piece of chicken bouillon Add the scotch bonnet pepper (optional).

Cover and simmer 30-40 minutes. Add potatoes 20 minutes into the process and cook until tender.

Completed curry with white rice.