Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Chicken with Mushrooms in Marsala Wine Sauce

True story. I once tried to make Chicken Marsala with Two Buck Chuck. I know. Right? Well I wont spend too much time here spewing excuses for why this ill-fated experiment seemed like a good idea. There's really no good, or even average excuse. Just take it from me - folks, don't try this at home.

Chicken Marsala

Well, now that I'm all grown up and can shell out the big bucks for marsala wine (really, it's not that expensive...) I figured I'd revist what was once a black sheep dish in our household and do things right. Growing up, I loved going to Rich and Charlie's and ordering the Chicken Marsala. Something about seeing "wine" listed in the description made me feel daring and older. No one bothered to tell me at such a young age that the wine cooks off. Now that I know the truth, I still love it.  Just not made with Two Buck Chuck, I suppose. :)

This version has oodles of mushrooms (porcini, shiitake, and button)- probably more than I ever could have handled as a child. Serve this chicken up with some egg noodles and you have yourself quite a gourmet meal!

Chicken Marsala
1/2 cup dried porcini mushrooms
1 cup dried shiitake mushrooms
Kosher salt & pepper
4 boneless chicken breasts, pounded thin
1/4 cup flour
1 Tablespoon Emeril's Essence (go here for recipe if you don't have it)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 cups sliced white mushrooms
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon dried oregano
3/4 cup dry Marsala wine
1 cup chicken broth
1 tablespoon butter
1/4 small basil leaves

1. Place Porcini and Shiitake mushrooms in a small bowl.   Cover with boiling water.  Let stand for 20 minutes or until tender.  Drain and rinse.

2. Lightly season the chicken breasts with salt & pepper to taste. In a shallow plate or bowl, combine Essence seasoning and flour. Dredge the chicken breasts in the flour and shake off excess.

3. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add olive oil to pan. Add chicken and saute until brown on each side, but not fully cooked through. Remove from pan and cover with foil.

4. Add more olive oil to pan and saute onion, red pepper and garlic, until onion is lightly browned. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt, mushrooms and oregano. Saute until mushrooms darken and have given off moisture. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon flour; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add the marsala wine and allow to reduce. Add broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 3 minutes or until sauce starts to thicken.

5. Add chicken to the pan and continue to cook until heated through. Prior to serving add 1 tablespoon butter and stir to combine. Garnish with small basil leaves.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Pumpkin Spice Chocolate Chip Bars

Feels just like two weeks ago, I had the A/C on full blast and loaded up on dedorant/water bottles/ice coffees whenever I dare venture out into the 90+ degree sweltering temps.  Today?  I'm donning my ever so fashionable pink snuggle socks and a hoodie to keep myself warm.  And I admit, I even schlepped the portable heater down from the attic.  I'm a certified cold weather wuss.

Pumpkin Spice Bars

While many adore Fall for it's cooling temps and beautiful foliage, I personally love the Fall for all things pumpkin - beer, hand towels, decorations, cookies - the list goes on and on.  Every year, I stock up on organic canned pumpkin and create more than a reasonable amount of pumpkin flavored baked goods, usually while drinking a pumpkin beer. And wearing pumpkin socks.

If you make anything this week, I'm telling you these bars are SO worth it.  They're light and fluffy while not being too cakey like many pumpkin desserts.  In need of a quick dessert, I found this pumpkin bar recipe on Martha Stewart.  With just the right amount of spice complemented with chocolate, you too can make a pumpkin lover out of just about anyone!  Happy October!

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bars
Adapted from Martha Stewart

2 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
1 tablespoon pumpkin-pie spice
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
1 3/4 cup chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a 9x13 baking pan with foil on all sides with overhang. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, pie spice, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

2. With an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar on medium-high speed until smooth; beat in egg and vanilla until combined. Beat in pumpkin puree (mixture may appear curdled). Reduce speed to low, and mix in dry ingredients until just combined. Fold in chocolate chips.

3. Spread batter evenly in prepared pan.  Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with just a few crumbs, about 35 minutes.

4.  Allow cake to cool completely in pan placed on rack. Lift cake from pan, peel off foil and cut into squares