19 December 2013

IHCC Pot Luck - Giada's Chicken with Mustard Mascarpone Marsala Sauce

Think juicy chicken thighs, a mountain of fresh mushrooms, ribbons of slivered onions, and that sauce. Holy smokes good ... that's what it was. This week, I took advantage of the I Heart Cooking Club's potluck challenge to go back into Giada De Laurentiis's archives and find this recipe. Giada suggests making this dish with chunks of white meat chicken breast, and of course, she would. The dish is a bit more sophisticated looking with boneless chicken breast, but I just pulled the skin off bone in chicken thighs and savored the darker, richer meat.  Giada also tells us to have this saucy dish over fettucine, but I opted for steamed rice instead ...

The sauce is the real star of this recipe, though. It's chock full of onions and mushrooms and the Marsala flavour is concentrated, as it is simmered for a good bit to reduce the Marsala before adding Mascarpone and Dijon mustard to build up the body and depth of the flavour.  Truly, I could have sipped the sauce like a good soup broth.

This dish works up within a half hour ... by the time the chicken was back in the sauce and simmering to a finish, the rice was steamed and there were roasted Brussels sprouts coming out of the oven -- perfect, because SB and I came home as hungry as a pack of  tired Hobbits. We'd had a busy afternoon of Christmas shopping and movie-going. By the by, we can recommend the second Hobbit movie - The Desolation of Smaug, with reservations. Purists that we are, some of the changes are a bit appalling, but when we talked about the need to bring all the characters and groups of Middle Earth peoples/creatures into the climactic finish of the story, the need to 'fabricate' some of the plot line to simplify Middle Earth details becomes a necessary tactic.

We also saw some previews for other movies that will burst on the holiday scene ... Tom Hanks as Walt Disney? That man can do anything, as far as I'm concerned. Emma Thompson as the touchy, stiff M.L. Travers? Yes, please. Is that woman a Dame yet? She definitely deserves a place up there with Judi Dench and Maggie Smith. On the other end of the preview spectrum, there was this loud, crashing, obnoxious preview for a Tom Cruise movie about some epic world war in which he plays a role as an indestructible man weapon ... ugh, just what the world needs. One more loud, violent, destructive blockbluster (she said with dripping sarcasm). So much for peace on Earth ...

Yeah ... a movie review and media commentary with your potluck recipe! Who knew ?!

Chicken with Mustard Mascarpone Marsala Sauce

Serves: 4


1 ½ lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, rinsed, patted dry and sprinkled with Kosher salt and black pepper
2 tbsp. olive oil
2 tbsp. butter
¾ c. thinly ribboned yellow onion
1 lb. fresh mushrooms, sliced – Cremini are lovely in this recipe
2 tbsp. minced garlic
1 c. dry Marsala wine
1 c. Mascarpone cheese (an 8 oz. container)
2 tbsp. Dijon mustard
2 tbsp. fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped

Fettucine (12 oz.) or steamed rice, buttered and used as a bed for the meat and sauce.
Parsley for garnish

Making the Dish:

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large deep fry pan.
  2. Cut each chicken breast cross-ways into three sizeable chunks. Brown the meat for 4 minutes on each side in the hot oil. Remove the meat and set it on a platter to the side.
  3. Add the butter to the hot oil and let it bubble up just a bit.
  4. Add the onions and sauté them until they wilt and begin to glisten (about two minutes).
  5. Add the mushrooms and garlic and continue the sauté for several minutes.
  6. Pour the Marsala into the pan and stir to release the crumbly bits into the wine. Reduce the heat to a bubbling simmer and let the wine reduce by half.
  7. Add the Mascarpone and Dijon mustard and stir to melt the cheese and make a smooth sauce.
  8. Lower the heat to a low simmer, add the meat and juices back to the pan, spoon the sauce over top the chicken and partially cover the pan. Let the chicken simmer in the bubbling sauce until it is just cooked through (about five minutes) … the chicken should be just slightly pink at the center.
  9. While the chicken and sauce are coming together, boil the pasta water and cook the Fettucine or steam a pan of rice.
  10. Place the pasta in a large pasta dish, spoon the chicken over top, and drizzle the sauce overall.  Garnish with some fresh parsley leaves. OR … place the chicken on a warm platter, drizzle the sauce over top and garnish with parsley. Serve the rice on the side. 

Shared with the members of the I Heart Cooking Club and you! Feel free to join us ... or just pop over via the link and see what others are bringing to the December Potluck !


  1. Wow, this looks amazing, thanks!

    I'll have to take your word for it on the Banks movie...not even for Emma will I sit thru that one :)

  2. wow, this looks really delicious! A great idea to have it over steamed rice. I believe I would have seconds!
    Yummy potluck dish!

  3. I would definitely prefer your version using chicken thighs... they've got so much more flavour. Absolutely beautiful...
    I look forward to seeing that Saving Mr. Banks movie. The trailer looks great.

  4. All my favorites....I am a fan of chicken as it's so versatile and the mushrooms only entice me more - what a dish!

  5. what an interesting sauce - it looks so good

  6. That sauce does sound fabulous! I don't think I've used mascarpone in anything but a dessert...I'm intrigued.

  7. That sauce does look delectable--Giada has some great uses for mascarpone. ;-) I am looking forward to Saving Mr. Banks--I love both Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson.

  8. I couldn't let the holiday pass without stopping by to wish you a Merry Christmas. Have a wonderful holiday. Hugs and Christmas blessings...Mary

  9. This dish sounds like heaven to me. I made a Marcella Hazan Marsala Chicken dish sometime ago that I absolutely love, but I'm all over the idea of mixing in some mushrooms, mascarpone and mustard, and I would definitely prefer chicken thighs to the breast meat.

    I saw a trailer recently for Saving Mr Banks - I can't wait to see it. I agree with you Emma Thompson is amazing - she should definitely be a dame! Hope you had a wonderful Christmas and happy new year to you.


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