CHICKEN MARSALA MEATBALLS WITH MUSHROOM SAUCE

I rarely buy ground chicken, opting for ground turkey instead, but this time I followed the recipe exactly as designed by Giada in a recent show on FoodTV.  The chicken meatballs can be  prepared many hours in advance and kept in the fridge, uncooked. Or you can cook them, make the sauce, and re-heat everything together when you want to serve  dinner.  The mushroom sauce is a perfect complement, all that’s needed is a starchy side to soak it all up.  On her show, she suggested egg noodles.  I went with a golden cauliflower puree and green beans. Now, on a tangent, can I share a little pet peeve of mine? I get a bit irritated when people use “compliment” when they actually mean “complement”. I know, English is not my first language, who am I to point the finger, when I make mistakes on a daily basis?  But still…  the compliment thing annoys me to no end.  A compliment is a flattering remark, a complement complements. The mushrooms are not having a conversation with the meatballs saying “wow, you look gorgeous today!”…  Ok, stepping off my soap box. Back to cooking. 😉

Pork Meatballs

CHICKEN MARSALA MEATBALLS IN MUSHROOM SAUCE
(slightly modified from Giada de Laurentiis)

1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons almond milk, room temperature
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon Marsala wine
1 pound ground white meat chicken
1/4 cup grated pecorino, plus extra for serving
1 large egg, beaten
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
1 large shallot, minced
1 teaspoon cepes powder (optional)
1 1/2 teaspoons flour
1 cup chicken broth (slightly more if sauce seems too thick)
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In a large bowl, mix together the breadcrumbs, almond milk and 1 tablespoon Marsala. Leave it soaking for 5 minutes.  Add the chicken, pecorino, egg, parsley, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and the pepper. Gently mix together the ingredients until just combined. Form the mixture into tablespoon-size balls and place on an oiled baking sheet. Broil for 5 minutes, or until the meatballs are beginning to brown and are just barely cooked through. Flip them around and broil the other side for a few more minutes.  Remove from the oven and set aside.
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In a straight-sided skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, until the mushrooms are brown on all sides, about 5 minutes. Add the shallots, the cepes powder, and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook for another 2 minutes. Lower the heat to medium and stir in the flour and the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add the 1/3 cup Marsala and stir until the mixture is smooth. Whisk in the chicken broth and simmer for a few minutes. Add the meatballs to the sauce and simmer for an additional 5 minutes to let the flavors blend, under very low heat.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

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Comments:  We both loved this meal!  One of the important tips for success is handling the meatballs as softly as possible. Wet your hands if you prefer, form the balls and do not pack them tightly, or you might compromise the texture.  I used regular mushrooms, but cremini or a mixture or wild mushrooms could be great.  Of course, having that special cepes powder to splurge only added a touch of sophistication to the meal.  A little bit goes a long way, the smell is terrific!  I know that it is a very unique ingredient I was lucky to receive as a gift, but even without it this will be a delicious meal.

served

I was pleasantly surprised by how well the yellow color of the golden cauliflower was preserved during cooking and mashing.  Shockingly yellow, like a burst of sun in the middle of the plate…

ONE YEAR AGO: PCR and a Dance in the Mind Field

TWO YEARS AGO: October 16th: World Bread Day!

THREE YEARS AGO: San Francisco Sourdough

FOUR YEARS AGO:  A Real Oscar Winner   (Oscar joins our home!)

FIVE YEARS AGO: Pane Siciliano

CHICKEN MARSALA

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.

CHICKEN MARSALA
(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.

ENJOY!

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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