Traditionally, Chicken Marsala is made with a thin chicken cutlet cooked in Marsala wine and mushrooms but we amped up our Chicken Marsala by stuffing it with cheesy caramelized onions and then add some sun dried tomatoes and spinach to the finishing touch.
This recipe was one the the first dishes I cooked for Terry on our date night. He didn’t believe me that chicken breast could be moist and flavourful and I was about to prove him wrong. I always love a good challenge in the kitchen, don’t you?
The great thing about this recipe is I wanted to make it an interactive date, so I had to make it simple (but flavourful!). Terry had never cooked a single thing in his life, unless you count boiling water and burning toast cooking 😉 so I thought it would be a fun thing to do together to show him the kitchen isn’t such a intimidating scary place. I urge you to do the same, especially for a date night. It a fun activity that cuts the tension and nervousness a bit because you both are focused on the tasks in the kitchen and conversations and laughs will be had. Guaranteed.
The end result? A flavourful ‘fancy looking’ dish to enjoy and lots of laughs and memories.
Did I complete the challenge? BOOYAH! you bet I did! This is one of the rare dishes he still remembers to this day the most. 🙂
All ingredients can be found at your local grocery store.
You can substitute the cheeses with your cheese of choice. However, to get the gooey cheesiness, you should put a bit of mozzarella in it.
You can keep this recipe traditional as well and omit the sun dried tomatoes and spinach. However, I found the sun dried tomatoes gave it a nice umami kick and the spinach? It gives it a nice colour and some extra silky texture to the sauce.
BUTTERFLYING AND POUNDING
There are two ways to flatten the chicken. You can:
- The Easy Way – Place the chicken between two pieces of saran wrap and go at it with a mallet, frying pan or rolling pin. I personally don’t prefer this method because I find it takes a lot longer because the chicken slides around inside the saran wrap when I’m trying to hit it since it’s has a dome shape thickness to it.
- The Quick Way – Butterfly the chicken first, then give it a few whacks with a mallet, frying pan or rolling pin. This is my preferred method as it’s quick!
What is ‘butterflying’?
Butterflying is essentially, cutting something across (but not all the way through) and opening it up like a book to give you a bigger and thinner surface area to work with. Think of it as opening up a book, the 2 sides of the pages gives you a bigger surface area once it’s opened up. In this case, the wings of a butterfly is why it’s called butterflying.
First step, safety first. Put your hand on the chicken and make sure your hand is above the line where you will be cutting across sideways. Putting your hands this way prevents you from nicking or cutting off your fingers 🙂 Unless you’re into that kinda thing.
Once you have your hand in the right place, look at the middle point on the side of the chicken. Place your knife there and slowly cut side ways while peeling back the chicken so you can see what you’re doing. Do not cut all the way through, you want a small piece of meat still intact at the end. Cut about 80% across. As a guideline to keeping my cuts somewhat straight, I use my cutting board and keep my knife parallel to it.
When you are about 80% through, open it up! It’s kinda looks like pages of a book or ‘butterfly’ wings. You see why we didn’t cut all the way through? we wanted 1 solid piece. *High five!* You just butterflied a chicken! If you cut too high or too low and made holes, no biggy it happens! A few more times doing this and you’ll get the hang of it.
Next, put the chicken between 2 pieces of saran wrap and whack it! You can use a bowl, a mallet, or my personal fave – a frying pan. Get out your frustration! Careful not to go too nuts, you want to somewhat keep the flattening even and not too thin.
Tip #1: Don’t skip the saran wrap step. When you are trying to flatten out chicken, the saran helps in 2 ways. It makes it easier to flatten because the meat has a more slippery surface to spread and it makes it easier to peel off to use. Bonus? Keeps chicken bits from flying everywhere as well. A good shield!
STUFFING IT WITH THE GOOD STUFF
Once the meat has been somewhat flattened, add your cheese and caramelized onions. (You will need to caramelize the onions ahead of time)
To keep the chicken stuffing from falling out during our flipping step in the frying pan we can use toothpicks to hold them it in place. Just don’t forget to take them out, they aren’t fun to eat. 🙂
Tip #2: Refrain from using minty toothpicks. 🙂 Don’t ask me how I know this. haha
Then we will dredge the chicken in flour. We don’t want to go overboard here, the key is putting flour on it and then tapping the excess flour off. Why? We are using the flour as an aid for browning the chicken. Too much flour and it will just burn and fall off the chicken.
Then we fry it up in the frying pan with oil, butter on medium high heat for 4 minutes a side. The goal here is to get some browning on the chicken. It’ll look something like the image below. When you get to that point on both sides, take it off the pan and set it aside.
PUTTING IT TOGETHER
This part is quick:
- Add some more oil or butter to a medium heat pan, add the mushrooms and cook it until it is brown and the water has evaporated
- Add Marsala wine in and cook it for a few seconds to remove the alcohol
- Add in the sun dried tomatoes, garlic and chicken stock and add the chicken back in and cook it for another 5-10 minutes to get the sauce all mixed in with the chicken.
- Lastly, this step is optional but add in the corn starch mix to thicken up the sauce. I personally prefer a thick sauce but if you prefer it runnier then omit this step.
- Don’t forget to remove the toothpicks before serving! 🙂
A stuffed cheese & onion Chicken Marsala with sun dried tomatoes for a flavourful twist from the classic Chicken Marsala
- 2 chicken breasts
- 1 onion (sliced)
- 6 tbsp swiss cheese
- 6 tbsp mozzarella cheese
- 1/4 cup flour
- 4 cloves garlic (minced)
- 1 tbsp butter
- 227 g mushrooms (1 small package)
- 1 cup Marsala wine
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 6-8 sun dried tomatoes
- 2 cups spinach
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 tbsp corn starch
- 2 tbsp water
Heat up the frying pan with a bit of oil on medium heat
Slice the onions up and put it into the pan to caramelize when the frying pan has come up to temperature
Caramelize onions until brown. (should take approximately 5-10 minutes)
Grate or slice the cheese and put it aside
Chop up the sun dried tomatoes and garlic into small pieces
Slice up the mushrooms
(optional) Combine corn starch with water and set aside if you are thickening the sauce.
Butterfly and flatten the chicken. (Detailed instructions above in blog)
Put the chicken between 2 pieces of saran wrap and flatten it.
Stuff the chicken with cheese and caramelized onions
Use tooth pick to secure the opened areas
Lightly dust the chicken with flour
Heat up the frying pan on medium high heat and put a bit of oil and butter in it.
When the frying pan is hot, add in the chicken to brown. Brown each side for approximately 4 minutes.
Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside.
Set the stove to medium heat, and add in some more butter and the sliced mushrooms
Cook the mushrooms until the moisture has evaporated and it has browned up.
Add in the Marsala wine and cook for a few seconds to evaporate the alcohol
Add in the garlic and sundried tomatoes and chicken stock.
When the sauce is simmering, add the chicken back in and simmer for approximately 5-10 minutes
(optional) Add in the corn starch to thicken the sauce
Add in the spinach and wilt it for 1 minute
Voila, it's done! Serve hot and enjoy! 🙂
- Don't forget to remove the toothpicks after it's done cooking!
- You can substitute any type of cheese in this recipe, but the mozzarella is what gives it the gooeyness, so add a bit in as well!
- Refrain from using minty toothpicks! 🙂