Thursday, November 18, 2010

Throwdown: Chicken Marsala

In the spirit of last nights awesome Throwdown of Bobby Flay vs. Pioneer Woman, I'm going to do a throwdown of my own!

In this throwdown, I'm challenging....Rachael Ray!

In her cookbook, Book of 10, Rachael Ray says she has raised the bar and taken Chicken Marsala to brand new heights with her recipe: Chicken Marvalasala and Pappardelle with Rosemary Gravy.

Oooh! The title sounds all intimidating and fancy, but can it really out-do the classic Chicken Marsala?

I'm here to challenge this.

This is what you need to make Rachael Ray's over-the-top Chicken Marsala:
-3/4 lb Fettuccine (or Pappardelle)
-4 large Chicken Breasts
-Salt & Pepper
-4 tbsp EVOO
-2 large cloves Garlic-crushed
-2 portobello mushroom caps-sliced
-12 shiitake mushrooms-stemmed and sliced
-4 tbsp Butter
-2 tbsp Tomato Paste
-2 tbsp minced Fresh Rosemary
-2 tbsp Flour
-1-1/2 cup Chicken Stock
-1 tbsp Worcestershire
-2 tbsp Capers-drained
-1/2 cup Marsala Wine
-Grated Pecorino Romano Cheese

Kind of an excessive list of ingredients if you ask me, but I'm just talkin' smack. Cuz this is a challenge, you gotta talk smack! 

To Make Rachael Ray's Chicken Marsala:
Put a large covered pot of water on to boil for the pasta. When it comes up to a boil, salt the water, drop in the pasta and cook to al dente.

While the pasta is working, season the chicken with salt and pepper. Heat a large nonstick skillet with 2 tbsp of EVOO, 2 times around the pan, over medium to medium-high heat. Add the chicken to the pan and brown it lightly on both sides, then remove it to a platter and cover it with foil to hold in the heat. To the same skillet, add the remaining 2 tbsp of EVOO and 2 clove of the garlic. Cook the garlic for a minute or so, then remove it and add the mushrooms. Cook until the mushrooms brown evenly and become tender, 8-10 minutes.

While the mushrooms work, start the gravy for the pasta. In a deep medium skillet, melt 2 tbsp of the butter into the tomato paste over medium heat. Add the remaining garlic clove and cook it for a couple of minutes, then remove. Add the rosemary, cook for 1 minute, then add the flour and whisk it into the garlic infused tomato butter. Cook the flour for a minute, then whisk in the stock and Worcestershire sauce. Simmer to thicken, 5 minutes. Season the sauce with salt and pepper to your taste.

To the cooked mushrooms, add the capers and Marsala and reduce for a minutes or so. Add the remaining 2 tbsp of butter in small bits to finish the sauce, and shake the pan to incorporate it. Slide the chicken back into the sauce and warm it through.

Drain the pasta and toss it with the rosemary gravy and a handful of cheese. Serve the pasta alongside the Chicken Marvalasala.
So, this is Rachael Ray's version of Chicken Marsala.
Is having a more complex recipe really worth it?
Lets find out!

This is what you are going to need for Haley's Simple Chicken Marsala:
-4 Chicken Breasts
-1 cup Flour
-2 tbsp Olive Oil
-8 oz Mushrooms-sliced
-3/4 cup Marsala Wine
-3/4 cup Chicken Broth
-1 tsp Salt
-1 tsp Pepper
-1/4 cup Parsley

To make Haley's Simple Chicken Marsala:
Pound the chicken breasts down to 1/4 inch thickness and season with salt and pepper.

Place flour in a shallow bowl and coat the chicken evenly, shaking off excess flour.

Heat olive oil in a large pan and add chicken.

Cook for 3 to 4 minutes on each side until golden brown.

Remove the chicken from the pan and keep warm.

Add more oil to the pan and saute the mushrooms until golden brown.

Stir in Marsala wine and chicken broth. Cook the liquid until it has reduced to about 1/2 cup.

Season with salt, pepper and parsley.

Pour the sauce/mushrooms over the chicken and serve with Buttered Peas.

After much deliberation from the judge (Dusty), he concluded that he enjoyed the Simple Chicken Marsala over Rachael Ray's Chicken Marsala.
"The pasta was unneeded and had a bland flavor to it. The Simple Chicken Marsala had excellent flavor and taste. Since it has less ingredients, it has less calories and healthier. Taste + Healthier equals a better Chicken Marsala!"

YAY! I won! Sometimes, more extravagant isn't always better....keep it simple people!


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