Sunday, July 18, 2010

Grilled Chicken Marsala

Do you remember the first time you ever thought to yourself, "Wow.....I can actually cook!" ? One of the first times for me was the first time I ever made Chicken Marsala probably back in 1993 or so.

Lately I had been trying to think of a way to convert that to the grill. The hard part was figuring out how to keep the delicious pan sauce that is the centerpiece of this recipe to the grill.

I finally gave it a shot this afternoon. I decided to cheat on the pan sauce and then use it as a glaze while the chicken is grilled. It doesn't benefit from the pan searing of the chicken in a traditional Chicken Marsala but it gains the grilled on taste of the sauce. I think it's an even trade.

Grilled Chicken Marsala

Source: Nibble Me This

3 ea chicken breast, boneless, skinless
1 Tbsp coarse kosher salt
2 tsp pepper (I like to use garlic pepper)
1 Tbsp butter, unsalted
1 ea shallot, finely diced
1/4 cup marsala wine
1/2 cup chicken stock
1 Tbsp butter, unsalted and chilled
2-3 springs fresh thyme

1) Pound chicken breasts to 1/2" thickness, cut each in half, and then season with salt and garlic pepper. My tips for this are
  • making sure the breasts are completely thawed. If they are still partially frozen, pounding will tear the meat instead of flattening it.
  • pound them with the flat side of a meat mallet
  • you can put it between two sheets of plastic wrap so the meat slides as flattening, but I like to do it in a gallon zip top bag. It's thicker and prevents break through, but more importantly it helps keep e-coli chicken goo from flying around your kitchen.
2) Set your grill up for direct heat and preheat the grill and a grill safe pan to medium hot (400f).

3) Melt 1 Tbsp of butter in the saute pan and saute the diced shallots until softened (about 2-3 minutes).

4) Deglaze the pan with the marsala wine and simmer until the wine is almost totally evaporated .

5) Add the chicken stock and allow to simmer until the volume is reduced by half.

6) Remove the pan from heat, add the cold pat of butter, and stir in to emulsify into the sauce. Don't just let it sit. That's the point of using the COLD butter (tip courtesy of Rouxbe) will slowly melt into the sauce as you stir, much like slowly adding olive oil into a vinaigrette to make sure it all stays mixed together (emulsified) instead of separating into an oily mess.

7) Grill the chicken over 400f direct heat for 4 minutes.

8) Flip, brush the cooked top with some of the sauce, sprinkle with thyme leaves, and cook 4 more minutes.

grilled chicken marsala
9) Flip, turning 90 degrees (for cross hatch grill marks), brush with more sauce and cook another 1-2 minutes, or until the internal temp is 160f. The nice part about this is it is grilling the sauce onto the chicken.

10) Remove from the grill, plate on a cheap paper plate because you weren't sure if this would work out or not and then drizzle the remaining sauce on top.

grilled chicken salad
We just ate it as is but everyone loved it. It had that marsala flavor mixed in with the taste of grilled chicken.

You could take this in a more formal direction and would be exceptional sliced up into pasta, then topped with more of the sauce. Or you can go casual and toss it on to a toasted onion roll with dijon mustard for an amazing grilled chicken marsala sandwich. Either way, chicken marsala is perfectly adaptable to the grill!