Chicken breasts… mushrooms…  Marsala wine… what’s not to like? This classic Italian dish is a breeze  to prepare, and a perfect option for a romantic dinner for two.

(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

4 boneless chicken breast filets
salt and pepper
1 Tbs olive oil
1 Tbs butter
1 shallot, minced
3 cups of mushrooms, sliced thin
1/2 cup Marsala wine
1/2 cup chicken stock (or water)
minced Italian parsley

If the chicken filets are too thick, slice them in half running the knife parallel to the cutting board, and pressing the filets gently down with the palm of your hand.  Pound them slightly to even the thickness.   Season with salt and pepper.

Heat the butter and olive oil in medium-high heat on a large skillet, when the butter foams and starts to get golden, add the chicken filets and cook until they develop a nice color on both sides (about 4 minutes per side, depending on your stove).  Remove them to a platter, tent with aluminum foil.

Add the diced shallot to the pan (if necessary add a little more olive oil, but you probably won’t need it), cook in medium heat for a couple of minutes, add all the mushrooms and cook stirring every once in a while until they start to get soft. Season lightly with salt, add the Marsala wine, and cook until almost fully absorbed, about 5 minutes.   Add the chicken stock (or water), place the chicken filets back in the pan, cover, and simmer on low heat for 10 minutes or until fully cooked through.

Remove the chicken to a serving platter, increase the heat to reduce the mushroom sauce to the consistency you like.  Optional step: add a couple of tablespoons of cold butter in small pieces, swirling the sauce after each addition.  Adjust seasoning, spoon the sauce over the chicken and sprinkle parsley on top.   Serve immediately.


to print the recipe, click here

I didn’t give a precise source for this recipe, because I’ve been making it for years, the first time I probably got it from one of my cooking books back in Brazil, decades ago.   Some recipes will instruct you to coat the filets in a little seasoned flour.   I prefer the texture of the meat seared without it.  The flour coating does help thicken the sauce in the end, but I don’t mind skipping it.  Similarly, most recipes call for a final addition of butter.  Depending on my mood, I might add it or not.  For this dinner, I omitted it, the sauce was plenty flavorful without it.

I only had regular mushrooms, but if you find creminis or other types of  mushrooms, add them to the party.  Would you be considering a final swirl of truffle oil?  A word of caution:  truffle oil is made by infusing olive oil with  bis-methylthio-methane, a chemical that mimics their taste.  I never buy the stuff, being exposed to enough organic chemicals in my work.  Still, some shaved truffles (the real thing)  on top of this dish could turn that dinner date into “An Affair to Remember”  😉

ONE YEAR AGO:  Home, sweet home

TWO YEARS AGO: Levain Bread with Caramelized Onions

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29 thoughts on “CHICKEN MARSALA

  1. Really? No such thing as real truffle oil in the world, how can that be? Someone recommended truffle oil the other day to me for a dish. I’ve never bought it either way but hmmm…. interesting.

    Gorgeous rich looking chicken dish Sally – wish I had someone to whip me up a plate of chicken like that today, it has got really hot here all of a sudden. The English are heading for the beaches, we’ve had hardly any summer to speak of and now at the end of September it is hot 🙂


    • HI, Joanna…

      found this link for you, that also links to another article (in Italian) commenting on how tricky it is to efficiently get the aroma of real truffles into olive oil (or other oils). So, the bottomline is that probably 99% of the truffle oil sold even by reputable sources contains artificial flavorings, and if there is a completely natural truffle oil around, it would be extremely expensive, and not as flavorful as one would expect. I have to confess, I’ve never bought truffles, could not bring myself to pay the cash for them…. but I’ve always been suspicious of truffle oil, even before knowing how they are made.


  2. Someone gave me a bottle of truffle oil, and when I opened it and took a whiff, I thought, “No, I’m not putting this on my pasta!” It just smelled funky, chemical-y. Now I know why.

    I make Chicken Marsala often, too. Pretty much the same recipe as yours, although I use the wine toward the end to degrease the pan, after browning the chicken and shallots and mushrooms and removing the chicken. I let the sauce simmer and reduce for a while, then add the chicken back in to finish cooking.

    This dish is really the same as Chicken Piccata, except that you use capers and white wine and lemon juice instead of mushrooms and Marsala.


  3. I agree, what’s not to like. I love that it creates a delicious sauce to enjoy with pasta or squash (everywhere I turn, I see squash these days…). Looks really yummy Sally – healthy and juicy! I’m keeping this one for date night 🙂


    • Kelly, if you have a tried and true method to cook spaghetti squash, would you mind sending it my way? I’ve messed it up twice, got impossibly mushy. I’d like to give it another try this Fall


      • I’ve never made spaghetti squash. My method with squash is pretty much the same every time – roasted and cubed or mashed with varying spices. Delish! By the way, I picked up a marsala hummus yesterday – it’s so good…


    • Sorry, Kristy… maybe you could take a look at the label, see what’s in your bottle? It won’t be dangerous to consume it, of course, but I think it’s important to be aware of what we are buying and paying for 😉


  4. Chicken Marsala is on of those great comforting dishes that satisfies by appearing to be something that took much more effort to prepare. I often play with the recipe by infusing the stock with a fresh herb, sage, thyme or rosemary, are all good. Also make Pork Tenderloin Marsala, slice a pork tenderloin into 1 inch thick medallions and pound thin. I add a dash of Dijon Mustard to the sauce with the pork.

    Truffle oil is really one of those anomalies that everyone wants to work! I prefer good Truffle Butter and Sea Salt with Truffle bits. The butter is great to finish a sauce and the salt is just wonderful on crudites especially good radishes!


  5. Lovely and informative post, Sally. I’ve known about truffle oil for ages and never purchase it. Someone gave us a truffle flavored brandy for Christmas. You can guess where that went – down the drain and it smelled awful going down. They wouldn’t have used good brandy for such an abomination.


  6. now that’s interesting about the truffle oil because i was given a bottle a while ago and i didn’t like the smell at all..i ended up guiltily throwing it away..i assumed it just didn’t like truffles..delicious chicken recipe and relatively easy too..


  7. Sally..recipe reminded of my misbegotten youth!!Used to make this( or similar) for gentleman friends long ago and far away!! Reminded my husband of 47 years that this was one of the reasons he England..borrowed the wine from a truffles of course but a delicious recipe!! Thanks for the memories..think that is a song!! Barb


  8. The CooksIllustrated’s chicken marsala omits the chicken stock, recommending instead a more concentrated sauce made almost entirely of wine. Many recipes, like yours, include stock. Have you ever tried doing it without?


    • Steven, I cannot be totally sure, but I probably did use only wine in the past, but way too long ago. Cooks Illustrated tests quite a few variations when they make a recipe, so I must try it next time, while I still have the taste of this one in my memory 😉


    • Veal Marsala sounds scrumptious – I need to perfect my cooking of veal, because often I find that it turns rubbery, or with an unpleasant texture, too hard. I must be doing something wrong, or maybe it’s the cut of meat? anyway, something to work on


  9. Pingback: Chicken Marsala; Spinach Salad, home made Croutons « Closer to Lola

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