Chicken Marsala is a popular chicken dish with a wine and mushroom sauce. The dish name originates from the particular wine, Marsala, used to create the sauce. The wine is reduced to make a rich, thick sauce that often contains onions or shallots as well as various spices and mushrooms.
Marsala is produced in Sicily, Italy, and is one of the country's most famous wines. Its flavor can range from sweet to dry, and it is used as a dessert wine or aperitif, as well as added to other ingredients for a variety of dishes, like chicken or veal Marsala.
Chicken Marsala is a traditional Italian dish that starts with boneless chicken breasts that are coated, usually with flour. The sauce for it is made of butter, olive oil, mushrooms, Marsala wine, and sherry. Salt, pepper and oregano season the dish. Some recipes also include capers and lemon juice. The popularity of the dish dates back to the 19th century, when it most likely originated with English families who lived in the western Sicily region, where the Marsala wine is produced.
To prepare chicken Marsala, chicken breasts are pounded into thin pieces and coated with flour. They are then cooked over medium heat in olive oil, turned occasionally. The dish is seasoned with salt, pepper, and lemon juice. Once the chicken is cooked, half a bottle of Marsala wine is poured over the chicken and stired gently as it thickens. Parsley and capers are then added, if desired, to season the dish.
The sauce used in chicken Marsala is created by reducing the wine, along with onions or shallots, to a syrup-like consistency before adding seasonings and mushrooms. The sauce used for this dish is also used on pork or veal dishes and sometimes contains heavy cream. Other recipes exist for vegetables, such as carrots, with Marsala sauce.
Marsala wine is made from white grapes, including grillo, inzolia, and catarratto. This amber wine has a rich, smoky flavor, and it can be served with strong cheeses, such as Parmesan, Gorgonzola, or Roquefort. Marsala is a fortified wine that contains ethyl alcohol, which was once needed to preserve it on ocean voyages. The mass production of Marsala wine began in the late 18th century.