Chicken Marsala with a Beet-Goat Cheese Salad

For the longest time I have been wanting to try to make chicken marsala.  I never order it in restaurants, but I just read a book in which the main character loved it and made it almost weekly.  So, I decided that I had to try it.  This weekend I finally got around to making it.  I followed the recipe in the America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook (thanks Mom! – it’s become one of my favorites cookbooks).  I really did not know what to expect.  Overall, I have to the meal was a success.  I served rosemary roasted potatoes and a beet salad with goat cheese along with the chicken marsala. 

I really liked all the mushrooms and the saltiness added from the bacon in the chicken marsala.  The recipe warned that other recipes tend to be bland, but this is anything but bland.  You can really taste the marsala in this recipe, although it doesn’t hurt that it calls for 1 1/2 cups marsala wine. 

The potatoes were also perfect.  They had a crispy outside while the inside was done perfectly.  I really liked the flavor pairing of rosemary and chicken marsala.  I think next time I might even try to add some rosemary to the chicken dish while it is cooking.  The earthiness of the rosemary I think will pair nicely with the earthiness of the mushrooms in the dish. 

Then for the beet and goat cheese salad.  You see, I pulled out 3 beets from our garden this weekend, but what do you do with 3 beets?  It’s not really enough for a side dish, so I found this recipe for a salad with beets.  I have to say this was my favorite part of the meal.  This recipe came out of my second favorite cookbook, Martha Stewart’s Great Food Fast.  That cookbook has a picture with every recipe and the meals are all easy to come together.  They also tend not to require any really weird ingredients or things that I only need a pinch of and then I’ll never use it again.  This salad was fresh and colorful and the tanginess of the goat cheese worked wonderfully with the sweetness of the beets.  Even the dressing was great.  It didn’t hurt that the lettuce had just been picked from our wonderful garden making it extremely fresh and crispy. 

So, if you get the chance, I highly recommend that you try these recipes.  They really made for a nice meal this past Sunday.

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Recipes:

Chicken Marsala (from America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook)

1/2 cup AP flour

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

salt and pepper

3 Tbsp vegetable oil

3 ounces pancetta, chopped, or 3 sliced finely chopped bacon

8 ounces mushrooms, thinly sliced

1 minced garlic clove

1 tsp tomato paste

1 1/2 cup sweet Marsala

1 1/2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

3 Tbsp unsalted butter, cut into 3 pieces and chilled

2 Tbsp minced parsely

1.  Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 200 degrees.  Spread the flour in a shallow dish.  Pound the thicker ends of the breasts as needed.  Pat dry with paper towels, then season with salt and pepper.  Dredge through the flour to coat and shake off any excess.

2.  Heat 2 Tbsp of the oil in a 12″ skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking.  Add the chicken and cook until light golden brown on both sides, about 10 minutes.  Transfer the chicken to a plate and keep warm in the oven.

3.  Add the remaining 1 Tbsp oil to the skillet and return to medium-high heat until shimmering.  Add the pancetta and mushrooms.  Cook until the pancetta is crisp and the mushrooms are brown, about 10 minutes.

4.  Stir in the garlic and tomato paste.  Cook until the tomato paste begins to brown, about 1 minute.  Stir in the Marsala, scraping up any browned bits, and simmer until reduced and slightly syrupy, about 8 minutes.

5.  Stir in the lemon juice and any accumulated chicken juice.  Turn the heat to low and whisk in the butter, one piece at a time.  Off the heat, stir in the parsely and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Spoon the sauce over the chicken before serving.

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Rosemary Roasted Potatoes

2 Idaho potatoes, washed, unpeeled and cut into 1″ squares

olive oil

salt, pepper, rosemary, garlic

1.  Pre-heat the oven to 425degrees. 

2.  Place the potatoes on a baking rack with the skins down.  Cover with olive oil and season with the salt, pepper, rosemary and garlic.

3.  Bake until golden brown on top (about 30minutes).

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Beet and Goat Cheese Salad (from Good Food Fast by Everyday Food by Martha Stewart)

1/2 cup walnuts, finely chopped

1 Tbsp finely chopped shallot

2 Tbsp red-wine vinegar

2 Tbsp fresh orange juice

3 Tbsp olive oil

Salt and pepper

1 can whole beets, drained and sliced into 1/2″ wedges (I used home grown beets that I cut up and steamed for20minutes, or until tender, then I let them cool and then peeled them before putting them in the salad.

6 ounces goat cheese

lettuce (about 10 ounces) any kind (the recipe calls for argula, but I used leaf and red leaf because that is what we have in our garden)

1.  In a small bowl, whisk together the shallot, vinegar, orange juice and oil; season with salt and pepper.  Place the beets in a small bowl and pour one third the dressing over the beets, toss to coat.

2.  With your hands, form the goat cheese into 12 equal balls.  Roll the balls, one at a time in the walnut, turning to coat.  Gently press with fingers to flatten the disks.

3.  Place the lettuce in a large bowl.  Drizzle the greens with the remaining dressing and toss to combine.  Divide among the bowls and top each with the beets and goat cheese disks.

Enjoy!

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