Friday, October 14, 2011

Chicken and Shiitake Marsala

Recipe modified by You Want Me to Cook? – April 28, 2011
For a commentary-free and printer-friendly version of it, please click here.

Recipe originally published by via e-mail on Tuesday, April 26, 2011.

My obsession of mushrooms has spread to trying different types.  My Porcini Mushroom Soup was a success, so this time I decided to try shiitake mushrooms.  I tried them once before, but as a blend and in a heavy tomato sauce.  In this dish, there would be no hiding the taste.  This dish is all about the mushrooms.

© You Want Me to Cook?
Chicken and Shiitake Marsala
So the dish looks okay, but my chicken seems a little bland.  Lucky for me it takes a lot of mushrooms or it may not look appealing at all.  I served it with a chunk of bread, but it just didn’t plate well.  Thank goodness it smelled fantastic or I may have not wanted to eat it based on looks.

© Cooking Light
Their chicken looks much yummier than mine.  They got it a nice golden brown, but I have a beef to make with them… one of the components to this was using chicken breasts pounded to a ½-inch thickness.  The chicken pictured is much thicker which means it can cook longer which means it gets a better chance to brown.

for more details about what my ratings mean, go to Gretchen’s Rating System

MessEH* – there was hardly any equipment used and barely any prep, but depending on how you buy the ingredients it could be a little more.  *I bought thinly sliced chicken breasts so I didn’t have to pound them out.  If you don’t do that, you’ll have to pound them out yourself and that could possibly bump up the mess factor to a SIGH.

Start-to-Finish Time: AROUND 30 MINUTES – That time is including prep.  To be fair, I bought some pre-prepped ingredients (I’ll talk about that later), but I don’t think it will add a lot more time to the recipe.  Of course, it still was DOUBLE THE TIME QUOTED by the recipe writer, but more on that later.

Prep Work: SLIGHT BLOOD LOSS – There some slicing and chopping, but I won’t lie… buying pre-prepped ingredients will make things a lot easier.

Ease of Recipe: THE BASICS – It’s a lot of sautéing, but not a lot else.  However, cooking the perfect chicken breast isn’t easy, so I wasn’t going to give it the easier rating.

OverallYUMMY – It was light with a lovely Marsala butter sauce.  Really, the sauce was so good I would be willing to eat it alone.  The mushrooms were divine.  My only complaint was the chicken wasn’t anything over the top delicious.

Recipe Information:
I am not a doctor or dietician.  I make my nutritional assessments with the aid of Spark Recipes.  I run the original recipe and my altered recipe through their calorie counter and then compute the differences I find.  My numbers are to be used as a guideline.  Anyone who is under dietary medical supervision should follow the advice of their medical professional if their opinion differs from mine.  PLEASE!

Servings: 4
Prep Time: 1 minute
Cook Time: 14 minutes

The serving size is pretty healthy.  You get a chicken breast with about ¼ cup of mushroom sauce.  I served it with bread and had a light salad and it was quite filling.  I think this would have tasted great with some green beans or peas as well.

The timing is a little suspect.  Now, I’ll admit that I had to cook my chicken in 2 batches which did increase my cook time, but most people don’t have a pan that can hold all the chicken to cook at once.  They also gave this as total time to pound out the chicken breasts and slice the mushrooms.  I bought my chicken sliced thin (see below) and got pre-sliced shiitakes and it still took me longer than what this recipe calls for.  Here is how my timing came out:
  • Prep Time: 6 minutes
  • Cook Chicken: 16 minutes
  • Finish Sauce: 5 minutes
  • Total Time: 27 minutes
Nutritional Information
  • Calories 291
  • Total Fat 8g (Saturated Fat 4.2g)
  • Cholesterol 114mg
  • Sodium 303mg
  • Total Carbohydrate 6.2g
  • Fiber 0.6g
  • Protein 40.9g
  • Iron 1.6mg
  • Calcium 40mg
Considering that you get a 6 ounce piece of chicken and a substantial amount of sauce, these numbers are pretty good.  Actually, they’re great!  Even the sodium is reasonable.  Just to be sure, I plugged the recipe into Spark Database for verification and here are the differences:
  • Sodium 450
  • Total Carbohydrate 11.8g
The sodium is slightly higher but still fairly reasonable.  I didn’t make any ingredient changes to the recipe, but more preparation changes, so I didn’t need to run it through again.  The good news is that along with pretty decent nutritional information, this recipe is also a good provider of:
  • Vitamin B6 – Important for nerve function, but really important for the production of hemoglobin and antibodies.
  • Niacin – Helps the body release energy from protein, fat and carbohydrate during metabolism.
  • Selenium – Needed for normal growth and health. Selenium is needed for certain enzymes that help with normal body functions.

Changes denoted by red text
1 ½ pounds of thinly sliced chicken breast
Cooking spray
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 (3 1/2-ounce) packages pre-sliced shiitake mushrooms
1/2 cup Marsala wine
2 green onions, finely chopped (about 1/3 cup) and divided
2 tablespoons butter

Ingredient Notes:
Chicken – The recipe calls for you to pound out 4 (6-ounce) boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, but I bought them already thinly sliced to cut out that step.  If you can’t find thinly sliced chicken breasts, you’ll have to pound them out: Place each chicken breast half between 2 sheets of heavy-duty plastic wrap; pound to 1/2-inch thickness using a meat mallet or small heavy skillet.

Shiitake Mushrooms – I got them pre-sliced to save some time.  Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately, the store only had them in 5 oz packages so I bought 2 and I used them both.  I shouldn’t complain about more mushrooms. 

Green Onions – I had HUGE green onions, so I only used one because I was afraid two would be way too much onion.  In retrospect, I wished I had used the two, so I didn’t change the recipe to reflect my change.

Equipment Needed:
Cutting board
Sharp knife
Dutch Oven
Flexible Spatula
Large plate
Large spoon

Equipment Notes:
Dutch Oven – The recipe called for a large nonstick skillet, but since you’re cooking a significant amount of mushrooms and wine it needs to be large and deep.  I don't have a deep and large skillet, so I use my Dutch oven.  It works great and gives me a lot of room to stir sauces and cook chicken.

Flexible Spatula – I highly recommend getting one of these.  It is great for cooking chicken, fish and delicate pastries.  It doesn’t have a rigid edge to break up the food if it doesn’t flip easily.

(1)   Heat a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray.

Please learn from my experience when I say to REMOVE THE PAN AWAY FROM THE FLAME before spraying.  The resulting fireball is quite terrifying and could burn your house down (or at least your kitchen).

(2)  Sprinkle chicken evenly with salt and pepper. Add chicken to pan. Cook 5 to 6 minutes on each side or until done.

Because mine were thinly sliced, I only cooked them for 1 ½ minutes per side.

(3)  Remove chicken and drippings from pan; set aside, and keep warm.

I had to do them in batches, so I kept all the drippings in the pan until I was done cooking all of the chicken.

(4)  Heat pan over medium-high heat; coat pan with cooking spray.

(5)  Add mushrooms. Coat mushrooms with cooking spray; cook 2 minutes or until tender, stirring frequently.

(6)  Add wine and 3 tablespoons onions. Cook 30 seconds over high heat.

(7)  Reduce heat; add butter, stirring until butter melts.

(8)  Add chicken and drippings to pan, stirring gently.

(9)  Place chicken on platter. Spoon mushroom sauce over chicken; sprinkle with remaining onions.

This was a nice light meal that didn’t take me very long to make.  If you like mushrooms, you’re going to love it.  If not, you probably still will because of the rich (but yet still light) sauce.

If I were going to make any changes, I would probably NOT use the thinly sliced chicken breasts.  I’m not sure I’d pound them down to a ½-inch either since that’s about what my breasts were sliced at.  I just would like to get the lovely golden brown chicken.

My quest to find a mushroom that I don’t like is still going.

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