Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Five Easy Tips for Picture Perfect Chicken or Veal Marsala

Marsala using the Five Tips

Several people have asked me about the dish that heads up my blog.  Yes, that is Veal Marsala.   It’s my favorite Veal Marsala recipe with Parmesan and Sour Cream Smashed Cauliflower and sautéed Spinach and Cherry Tomato with Nutmeg.   

If you don’t eat veal for whatever reason, you can always substitute chicken (or even pork).

But what is the secret to not just a good, but a great chicken or veal Marsala?  Believe it or not, it’s not the Marsala wine. 

Here are five easy tips for making your Marsala over the top!

Tip #1:  Do not dredge your meat in flour.

I do not use flour.   When you fry veal dusted with flour in oil, you very often get this really dark layer on the bottom of your pan that you can’t even deglaze.  Depending on your stove, you know what I mean.  Then you end up wiping out the pan, and you sacrifice the juices from the meat in your sauce.  Not good.

Instead, try whisking a little cornstarch into your Marsala wine; just about a 1/2 teaspoon per half cup of Marsala.  Simply sauté your veal or chicken in light olive oil and remove it from the pan to a covered plate to keep it warm while you finish the dish.

Tip #2:  Add two tablespoons of Cream Sherry.

I like to add about two tablespoons of cream sherry with my Marsala wine.  It gives the sauce a fantastic, even sweeter flavor.  You can find good quality Cream Sherry in your grocery store.  Don't spend a fortune, but avoid those salted cooking wines if possible.

Tip #3:  Add a little browning sauce to the wine mixture.  

Browning sauce is old school, but it works!   Just a few drops gives this dish the most perfect color. Remember, you eat with your eyes first.

Tip #4: Use a little good quality beef stock.

I add a couple of glugs (technical term) of good quality beef stock around the pan AFTER I add my wine mixture.  The better quality and more flavorful the stock, the less you have to season with salt and pepper.

Mushrooms and Thyme, a Perfect Union!

Tip #5:  Add fresh Thyme while sautéing the mushrooms and fresh Parsley at the end. 

Thyme and mushrooms are a match made in heaven.  When you add thyme while sautéing the mushrooms, the flavor just pops.  And contrary to popular belief, that parsley is not just a garnish.  Fresh parsley adds a touch of spring to any dish, even on the coldest of winter days.

The next time you make chicken, pork or veal Marsala, try these tips.   I guarantee you won’t be disappointed!

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