Cheese Crusted Chicken Marsala

This delicious dish is my take or remake of a dish I tried at an Olive Garden in Boston a few years ago. I am not sure if they still sell this or if it was/is only exclusive to select Olive Garden’s but it was a great dish. The dish came with two chicken breasts with seared cheese, mashed potatoes and a mushroom marsala sauce.

Olive Garden’s Chicken Marsala

I savored, yet devoured this at the same time. I knew at some point in time I was going to try making it, I might have even taken notes on my phone about how I would execute it after I finished eating. I ended up making my own take about two weeks later, and I did not necessarily plan to make it. I was at Whole Foods probably planning to make pasta or something and when I got to their cheese section I saw a grilling cheese by the “Yanni” Brand. I immediately had a flashback, picked it up and put my other ingredients back on the shelves. I then had the chicken marsala on my mind and went for ingredients to use for that instead. The thing with Whole Foods, is that there are so many brands carrying organic products you usually will not see in other grocery stores. So I took my time strolling through each aisle, thinking of ways to make my version better than theirs. Without further a do, lets jump into the factors of the dish.

Vegetables


The dish incorporates potatoes for the mashed potatoes. Baby bella mushrooms for the marsala sauce and I added broccoli, just to have another vegetable on the plate. My potatoes of choice were yukon potatoes, for their high moisture. I also used bell peppers and onions in my marsala sauce.

Sauce

I made the sauce by sauteing the onions, bell peppers and mushrooms in butter. Then adding flour to make a roux, then a nice dry marsala wine and letting that simmer and reduce slightly. adjust the seasonings, then adding a splash of heavy cream to get that color and mouthfeel.

I want to say that I used chicken breast, but I can’t help but feel like that looks like a thigh. It was two years ago, forgive me. For this recipe we will use large chicken breast, that will be halved to give thinner pieces.


Marsala wine

Marsala wine is a foritified wine from Sicily, that is used to create nutty, caramelized flavored sauces. In this recipe we are using a dry marsala wine. Sweet marsala wines are better suited for dessert dishes. When buying marsala wine or things that originate in other countries, its best to get it from that country for better quality. For example, I am not buying Havarti unless it is from Denmark.

Ingredients:

IngredientQuantity
Chicken Breast, halved no skin4 halves
Grilling cheese4 thin slices
Olive Oil2 Tbsp
Baby bella mushrooms, washed4 oz
Broccoli10 florets
Yukon potatoes, peeled, diced4-5 medium
Parmesan cheese1 oz
Marsala wine8 oz
Flour1 Tbsp
Butter1 Tbsp
Heavy cream3 oz & 2 oz separated
Garlic, minced1 Tsp & 2 tsp separated
Thyme1 sprig
SaltTT
Pepper1 Tsp or TT
Garlic powder2 Tsp
dried oregano2 tsp
Parsley, choppedGarnish

Instructions:

  1. Season the four chicken breasts halves with salt, pepper, garlic powder, dried oregano, marinate overnight if you wish to. If not go ahead and pour the olive oil into a pan on medium-high heat. Cook the four chicken breasts for about 3-4 minutes on each side. Take the breasts out. Put four slices of grilling cheese in the pan and let them caramelize for about 1-2 minutes, then put a chicken breast on each slice. Flip them so the cheese side is up, then transfer to a warm place.
  2. Place the potatoes in a pot and cover them with cold water. Add salt and bring to medium high heat. Cook until they are soft and a fork goes through easily.
  3. When the potatoes have finished cooking, strain them and put them back in the pot on low heat. Add the 2 oz heavy cream, 2 Tsp minced garlic, parmesan and salt and pepper to taste, mash the ingredients together and add more heavy cream if you want it creamier. Keep in a warm place
  4. Reduce to medium heat. Add the butter to the pan, then once it melts add the onions, bell peppers, mushrooms, salt, pepper and garlic powder. Saute until the onions are translucent and the pan is fragrant of mushrooms (about 3-5 minutes)
  5. Add the flour and stir until well incorporated, add the Marsala wine, 1 Tbsp minced garlic and sprig of thyme, simmer on low heat. Meanwhile boil your broccoli in lightly salted water until soft, about 6-8 minutes.
  6. Add the remaining 3 oz heavy cream to the pan with the vegetables, stir and continue to simmer for another 3 minutes.
  7. Now you can plate it up by putting two breasts on a plate, a scoop of mashed potatoes, broccoli and then spooning on the rich, creamy marsala sauce and chopped parsley.

Tips:

  1. To make your chicken more tender you can pound them out by placing them between two sheets of plastic wrap or a ziploc bag, then pounding evenly to about a 1/4 inch thickness.

Brainstorm:

You could also simmer this dish in the marsala sauce like you traditionally would, I just wanted the dish to look a bit more refined. Some other ideas though, you could use Havarti like I mentioned earlier if you can’t find the brand I used. Havarti packs more flavor, especially the one with dill in it.

You could take this concept and cooking method and give it a new identity, like by still using the grilled cheese but instead giving it a different flavor profile. instead of marsala wine, another dry wine, adding ancho chiles, cumin, corinader and lime zest to give some heat and a citrusy tang. You could then use this to put on tacos, nachos, try it as an alternative enchilda filling, eat it over rice, the possibilities are endless. Everytime I do this brainstorm portion I get ideas as I type and it is amazing. I am in awe every time it happens as I can picture and taste clearly the ideas I am giving to you.

That is all I have for this weeks recipe, I need to make this brainstorm recipe because it will probably be on my mind for weeks now. Have a blessed one, be safe and let me know what you think of this recipe!

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