How To Thicken Your Marsala Sauce
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One challenge that chefs face every time that they make a sauce is achieving just the right consistency, thickness, and texture. Marsala sauce is no different.
Thin, watery, or flat Marsala sauce wont cling to your food as it should, which will not allow you to fully enjoy the rich flavor.
In this article, we will look at a few different techniques for thickening sauces, especially Marsala sauce, keeping in mind the particular taste of Marsala sauce. A thin Marsala sauce no longer needs to be a problem!
The Best Chicken Marsala Sauce
That classic, mushroom-dotted, creamy chicken marsala sauce is one of the many reasons we love this recipe. Its so very simple to make and so very hard to mess upa terrific combo. There are a few tricks to making the very best chicken marsala sauce:
As you add cream or stock to the pan, take time to really scrape up any little bits of mushroom or shallot that have stuck to the bottom of the skillet.
Use the best chicken stock you can! Homemade, if youve got it!
Give the sauce time. We dont mean a lot of time, but dont cut down on the simmer times we call foryou want to give the cream sauce time to reduce and thicken. All that wine-y, mushroomy goodness will be worth the wait.
Rule : Add Gelatin To The Stock And Marsala Then Deglaze
Now it’s time to deglaze the pan. Deglazing means adding liquid and scraping up the fond . But before we do that, we want to make sure our liquid component is just right. In the case of chicken Marsala, the liquid is made up of chicken stock and Marsala wine.
If you’ve ever eaten a good pan sauce in a restaurant, you’ve probably noticed that it has a viscosity similar to heavy cream. Bad versions, meanwhile, are thin and watery. The secret is gelatin. See, good restaurants make stock from scratch, and when they do, they make sure it’s loaded with plenty of natural gelatin from the chicken’s connective tissues. As the pan sauce reduces, that gelatin concentrates, thickening the liquids to a perfect, glaze-like consistency. Unfortunately, store-bought stock, which home cooks often rely on, has no gelatin.
If you use store-bought stock at home, you can open up a packet or two of unflavored gelatin and sprinkle it on top of the stock and Marsala after a few minutes it will bloom, absorbing the liquid. Once heated, it will melt into the sauce, thickening it. Even if you use homemade stock, it can still be a good idea to add some gelatin, since the Marsala doesn’t have any of its own and it makes up a good portion of the liquid added to the pan.
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Rule : Finish With Fat And Extra Flavorings
To finish the sauce, I like to whisk in butter, which will give it a beautiful sheen and richness. I also add a splash of soy sauce, which, while untraditional, has an earthy savoriness that rounds out the sauce perfectly and plays well with the mushrooms any overt flavor of soy sauce wonât be noticeable, so thereâs no need to worry about that.
Because Marsala can be slightly sweet, especially when reduced, youâll want to taste the sauce at this point, and then add white wine vinegar until the sauce is properly balancedit should have a brightness that keeps those sweet and savory flavors in check.
All thatâs left is to add the chicken back to the pan and warm it through in the simmering sauce, then serve.
Rooted in Italy, indebted to the British, popular in the United States, and boosted with a key Asian ingredientâ¦this chicken Marsala truly is a global dish.
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How Do You Cut A Large Chicken Breast In Half
I like to slice my chicken breasts in half or buy them thinly sliced so that they cook quickly and easily. Place one chicken breast half on a cutting board, flat/smooth side down. Put the palm of your non-cutting hand on the top of the breast, and, using a very sharp knife, slowly cut horizontally through the breast, starting with cutting into the long, thick side.
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Which Marsala Wine Is Best For Chicken Marsala
This chicken marsala sauce is made up of chicken broth, onions, garlic, mushrooms, green onions, marsala wine, and heavy cream. You can find real marsala wine in the wine section of the grocery store, or you can buy cooking marsala wine that is usually found in the baking isle. I used the cooking wine because its a little less potent and I knew my kids would like it better. But you can use the real deal as well!
How To Make The Chicken Marsala Sauce
Butter adds flavor first. SautÃ©ing the shallot and mushroom in melted butter adds fat, and that adds flavor. Use half of the butter here, and save the rest.
Some recipes suggest adding the marsala wine first to cook down with the mushrooms, then adding in the chicken broth. Ive followed that technique before, but after forgetting to do it in two steps, I discovered it didnt matter. Now I add the Marsala and chicken broth to the mushroom and shallots at the same time, where I found doing so infuses deepens the sauces flavor even more as it reduces.
The last touchmore butter! Adding butter while reducing the sauce at the end, a classic technique, gives the sauce its body and gloss. It thickens the sauce and adds another layer of lush creaminess.
TIP: Dont reduce the sauce too much where it can evaporate and disappear! Taste the sauce as it reduces by half, where the wine flavor will mellow and the sauce will thicken.
Also, dont mistake the sauce for gravy. It should still be glossy, light, and easy to drizzle.
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Best Chicken Marsala Recipe
Ill admit itI used to always order chicken marsala when wed go out to eat. But then I decided to try making it myself and this has to be the best chicken marsala recipe out there. Its effortless and elegant so when guests come, its just what I make. Plus, I always have everything on-hand to make it anytime.
How To Make The Best Chicken Marsala
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What Can You Use Instead Of Marsala Wine
This dry, yet sweet Italian fortified wine is totally unique tasting, so If you dont have Marsala, you can definitely try brandy, sherry, or Madeira, but know that the taste will be different.
When reduced, the alcohol evaporates so all thats left is its delicious flavor. But, if you want a non-alcoholic substitute for Marsala wine, try grape juice or this combination of grape juice, vanilla, and sherry vinegar.
How To Make Mushroom Cream Sauce From Scratch
This easy and creamy mushroom marsala sauce is so simple and quick to prepare!
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Some Other Recipes We Are Sure You Will Love:
- The next must-make, homemade bread recipe that wont dissapoint: our Quick No Knead Dutch Oven Bread! This simple artisan loaf is soft and fluffy with a beautifully crisp crust.
- Our Chewy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies are the only oatmeal cookie recipe youll ever need! These are soft and chewy, packed with sweet raisins and warm spices.
- Chicken in Mushroom Cream Sauce is always a great idea, right? This classic recipe is perfect to dress up for a special date night in or dress down for a low-key, weeknight family-style dinner.
Can You Freeze It
Freezing is the best way to further extend the shelf life of your homemade sauce! Plus, freezing is a great way to save time during the week by batch cooking and preparing a large amount of sauce to always have on hand! To preserve the quality of this creamy sauce, I recommend using freezer-safe glass container or a double layer of heavy-duty freezer bags!
This mushroom sauce stores beautifully in the freezer however it does require one super simple modification just leave out the cream and fresh herbs!
To freeze creamy mushroom sauce
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Sweet Marsala Or Dry Marsala
- The key ingredient in Marsala Chicken is Marsala Wine. While there two kinds -sweet Marsala and dry Marsala, either can be used. I personally prefer the taste of dry Marsala, which keep in mind, is still sweet, just a little less sweet.
- If sweet Marsala is what you have, just use it. Sweet Marsala works fine too.
- Regular red wine, will not work the same here.
What Is The Origin Of Chicken Marsala
Spanish food is traditionally made in Europe, but it is a variation of scaloppina cooked in various ways in different parts of Italy. may have been prepared by English families living in western Sicily where Marsala wine is made, and appears on Italian food menus for the first time in the 19th century.
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How To Serve Chicken Marsala
Serve this creamy chicken marsala over a plate of pasta. I recommend a long pasta like spaghetti, fettuccine, or linguine. I also like serving chicken marsala over rice, mashed potatoes , or roasted potatoes.
You can also serve it on its own with some crusty bread for dipping and soaking up every last drop of that delicious rich sauce. A light salad on the side would also be amazing with this such as a Chickpea Wedge Salad or Mediterranean Orzo Pasta Salad.
Follow Your Recipe Carefully
Especially when using a new recipe, you need to follow measurements and directions carefully. The best method to use to measure ingredients is by weight using a food scale.
Deviations from the recipes instructions might result in an improperly thickened sauce for a variety of reasons. In addition, if you do change the recipe, you wont know if your changes were the cause of the sauces poor consistency or if it was something else about the recipe.
Once youre more familiar with chicken Marsala, there is much more flexibility in cooking a dish such as this one than there is in baking. Chefs of all skill levels can adjust ingredients and cook times without jeopardizing the dish.
That said, there are a few things to keep in mind when you do this with chicken Marsala, and one thing that you must do is maintain the ratio between liquids and starches.
This ratio determines the thickness of your dish, so if you add more water , youll need to add flour or another thickening agent in an equal proportion.
Finally, before we look at how to thicken a thin sauce, one more item is worth mentioning: you do not want to try to thicken sauce by removing some of the liquid. For one thing, this is ineffective since the ingredients are already mixed, and the remaining sauce will not be any thicker.
Whats more, youre going to lose more than just water youll scoop out lots of tasty little bits. This will not only fail to thicken your sauce but it will also make it less flavorful.
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What Is A Good Marsala Wine For Cooking
THE MALABAR FOR COOKING Usually, the entry-level quality and lower-cost Marsala wines are best suited for cooking. Choose one that suits your cooking style for example, Gold or Silver . There are recipes that call for ruby Marsala in addition to a couple of other flavors, but in my experience no recipes mention it.
How To Make Chicken Marsala
If your chicken breasts are large, like the ones in the photo above, its best to first cut them in half horizontally.
Once youve got four flat filets, pound them each to an even 1/4-inch thickness.
Place the flour, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a ziplock bag.
Add the chicken to the bag seal the bag tightly and shake to coat chicken evenly. Set aside.
Heat the oil and 2 tablespoons of the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Place the flour-dusted chicken in the pan, shaking off any excess first.
Cook, turning once, until the chicken is golden and just barely cooked through, about 5 to 6 minutes total. Transfer the chicken to a plate and set aside.
Melt the remaining tablespoon of butter in the pan. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring frequently, until the mushrooms begin to brown, 3 to 4 minutes.
Add the shallots, garlic, and ¼ teaspoon of salt.
Cook for 1 to 2 minutes more.
Add the broth, wine, heavy cream, thyme, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon of pepper use a wooden spoon to scrape any brown bits from the pan into the liquid. Bring the liquid to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium.
Gently boil, uncovered, until the sauce is reduced by about half, slightly thickened, and darkened in color, 10 to 15 minutes .
Add the chicken back to the pan, along with any juices that accumulated on the plate. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until the chicken is warmed through and the sauce thickens a bit more, 2 to 3 minutes.
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Four: Practice Your Roux If Your Recipe Calls For One
If your recipe calls for you to make a roux as one of the first steps, this means that the roux is what will thicken your sauce. But before you dive in, take time to ask yourself if you have ever made a roux before?
Making a roux is a complicated undertaking. Most chefs get it wrong the first time.
Before you start the roux for your chicken Marsala, practice once or twice to get the technique right. On the bright side, a roux can really add flavor and depth to your chicken Marsala once you learn how to make one.
How To Make Marsala Sauce
- Normally chicken Marsala does not include any cream. However, I found during testing that cream was needed for our tastes to balance out the strong flavour coming from the wine.
- You can use heavy cream or thickened cream in the sauce.
- For a lightened up sauce, use evaporated milk or half and half. If using half and half, be careful not to bring your sauce to a rapid boil or it may curdle.
- The Marsala sauce will not thicken immediately after adding in your cream. Once you add your chicken back into the pan, the flour from the chicken will thicken your sauce.
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