During what I call my informative years as a teenager, I worked in the kitchen at a local resort on the shores of Lake Nipissing in Northern Ontario Canada. At the time, the resort was owned by an Italian couple whose matriarch cooked magnificent specialties for the weekly Sunday night buffet and Chicken Scallopini was my favorite of all the fabulous mouth watering things she made. Although her command of the English language was limited, I like to think I learned a lot from her simply by osmosis.
Loaded with garlic, shallots, golden browned mushrooms, marsala wine and kissed with sage and a touch of nutmeg, this version also known as chicken marsala is made from skinless, boneless chicken thighs instead of the usual chicken breast. Cut into pieces and pounded to a quarter inch thickness, seasoned and dredged in flour before browning in a combination of olive oil and butter, the thighs simmer in marsala and chicken stock until cooked through before they're finished with a touch of cream and a little lemon zest (which I forgot last night). They're moist, tender and oh so delicious.
Served on a bed of noodles, pasta, or polenta, chicken scallopini is a downright decadent week night meal ...or any night for that matter as it takes almost no time to put together, can hold practically indefinitely on low heat and reheats beautifully too.
I have no doubt Nonna is happily spending hours over simmering pots of gloriousness feeding the angels in heaven at this very moment. Hopefully she'd be pleased with this tribute.
Chicken Scallopini with Mushrooms and Marsala (an original from JBug’s Kitchen inspired by Nonna)
1/4 cup butter, divided
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 pound mushrooms, thinly sliced
3 large cloves garlic, minced
1 large shallot, finely chopped
1-1/2 pounds skinless boneless chicken thighs, cut in pieces & pounded to a 1/4 “ thick
Sea salt and coarse ground black pepper
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon crumbled dried sage
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1/2 cup dry Marsala wine
3/4 cup extra strength chicken stock (I used 2 envelopes of Swanson’s Chicken Flavor Boost)
1/2 cup heavy cream
Zest of 1 lemon
Chopped parsley as garnish
Heat 2 tablespoons butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium high heat. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally until mushrooms are browned. Add garlic and shallots and cook for an additional 2 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside. Add remaining butter and olive oil to pan and heat until butter is melted. Meanwhile, season pounded chicken thigh pieces on both sides with salt and pepper and dredge in flour, shaking off excess. Cook until golden brown on both sides. Add sage and nutmeg and return mushrooms to the pan. Season with coarse ground black pepper. Add marsala wine and chicken stock. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove lid from pan and stir in heavy cream. Bring back to a boil, sprinkle with lemon zest. Serve immediately over noodles. Garnish with parsley. Makes 4 servings.
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