Chicken Champions

The Crucial Tip I Learned From Making Curtis Stone’s Chicken Marsala

published Mar 3, 2020
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Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Pearl Jones; Design: The Kitchn

This week we’re battling off four versions of chicken Marsala to find the very best recipe. When a friend of mine declared Curtis Stone’s chicken Marsala to be the most delicious and memorable she’d ever tasted, I decided to check it out. One glance at the recipe told me she was really onto something. The Australian celebrity chef and restauranteur uses a few unexpected ingredients that give this classic dish a fancy twist. Here’s what I learned when I took it to the kitchen.

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Pearl Jones; Design: The Kitchn

How To Make Curtis Stone’s Chicken Marsala

To begin, you’ll season the sliced and pounded chicken breasts with salt and pepper, then dredge them in flour that’s been seasoned with more salt and pepper. Working in batches, sear the chicken in melted butter and olive oil over medium-high heat until golden on both sides. Next, transfer the cooked chicken to a plate, wipe the skillet clean, add more butter and olive oil, and repeat with the remainder of the chicken. The cooked chicken is set aside.

You’ll heat the remaining oil and butter and quickly sauté chopped shallot and garlic before adding the mushrooms, salt, and pepper to the pan. When the mushrooms are tender, add the Marsala and fresh thyme to the pan and simmer until it reduces by about half. Pour in the chicken stock and simmer until it’s reduced by half. Lastly, return the chicken to the pan for a few minutes to heat through, remove the thyme sprigs, and finish the dish by stirring in a pat of butter.

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Pearl Jones

My Honest Review of Curtis Stone’s Chicken Marsala

Because this recipe includes a few extra ingredients — shallot, garlic, and a few sprigs of fresh thyme — I was expecting big things. I had visions of this trio of aromatics infusing classic Marsala sauce with an elegant aroma.

The aromatics did give the sauce a fancy-tasting twist. But because this recipe calls for more chicken stock than wine, it ended up dulling the sauce. While some stock is necessary to tame the sweet acidity of the wine and build a savory sauce, this was just too much. I was disappointed that the flavor of the sauce fell a bit flat.

Even though this recipe wasn’t my favorite, it was still really good, and it was quick and easy to follow. With a few tweaks, it has great potential — and it taught me one, very important takeaway.

For Great Chicken Marsala, Remember This One Rule

Below, I’ve listed a few tips if you’re making this recipe at home, but if you take away just one thing it’s this: For a full-flavored Marsala sauce, there must be more Marsala wine than broth. Keep this in mind before you start cooking any chicken Marsala recipe. Look at the amounts for Marsala wine and broth and adjust as necessary (more on that below).

Credit: Kelli Foster

If You’re Making Curtis Stone’s Chicken Marsala, A Few Tips

1. The chicken will not be fully cooked after searing. The instructions don’t mention this, but it’s helpful to know that the chicken doesn’t get cooked all the way through when searing. You’ll cook it to get some good browning on the outside, and the chicken will later finish cooking in the sauce.

2. You need three tablespoons butter. The ingredient list only calls for two tablespoons, but per the instructions, you’ll actually need three.

3. Add the shallot at the same time as the garlic. While a chopped shallot is included in the ingredient list, it’s not included in the instructions. You’ll add it to the pan along with the garlic, right before you sauté the mushrooms.

4. Use an 8-ounce package of pre-sliced mushrooms. The recipe calls for a mere four ounces of cremini mushrooms, but it can certainly handle more — I recommend using a full 8-ounce package of pre-sliced mushrooms, which won’t leave you with leftovers and will save you time and prep work.

5. Use more Marsala wine and less stock. For a more full-flavored sauce, swap the amount of wine and broth to use 3/4 sweet or dry Marsala wine and 1/2 cup chicken broth.

Rating: 7/10

Have you ever made Curtis Stone’s chicken Marsala? Tell us what you thought!

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Pearl Jones; Design: The Kitchn