Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Chicken Marsala (for a crowd)

By Paul Briand

I had the task over the weekend to cook dinner for my stepdaughter's birthday. Not a big deal, normally, except that I was cooking for upwards of 12 people or more, depending on who exactly was coming.

What I needed was something that tasted great and could feed a crowd, and that could be cooked ahead of time, refrigerated over night and transported to the dinner party for re-heating and serving the next evening.

I'd done small batches of Chicken Marsala for four that I normally serve with a side of rice. But I needed this particular dish to be all inclusive, almost like a casserole, so I decided to marry sliced potatoes with the chicken and Marsala wine mushroom sauce together in two batches for two large baking dishes.

8 pound bag of potatoes
6 pounds of chicken (boneless thighs and breasts)
4 cups sliced mushrooms
Bottle of Marsala wine
Flour for dredging
Olive oil
Garlic powder, oregano, basil

1. Clean potatoes and, leaving skin on, cut in 1/4-inch piece, enough to line two 3-4 quart baking dishes;
2. Season potatoes with pepper and drizzle with olive oil;
3. Place potatoes into oven pre-heated at 400 degrees and cook until about 3/4 of the way done;
4. As potatoes are cooking, cut the chicken thighs and breasts into bite size pieces;
(Note: With so much chicken you'll probably have to do the next steps two times for each batch of chicken and mushrooms).)
5. Create a flour dredge (I use a produce bag from the market or a large freezer-sized Ziploc bag) added with garlic powder and oregano;
6. Make sure each piece is covered with flour and add into large frying pan at medium high with about a quarter inch of olive oil;
7. Brown the chicken on all sides, but don't cook all the way through. Leave a little pink and remove from pan and set aside;
8. Add mushrooms then enough Marsala (about half the bottle for each batch) to deglaze the pan and create a thickening mushroom sauce;
9. Add chicken to the top of the potato layer, spreading pieces evenly in the baking dish
10. Spring enough basil over mixture to evenly cover;
11. Add the mushroom sauce over the chicken spreading as evenly in the baking dish as possible;
12. Return to oven and cook until potatoes are soft and chicken is cooked through and serve.

All in all, it worked very well. I underestimated, however, how much time it would take to re-heat the two large pans of Chicken Marsala once we got to the party. I figured about 50 minutes at 400 degrees. It easily could have taken 1 hour and 15 minutes to get to the right serving temperature.
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Kymbra said...

Thanks Paul! I was thinking about Chicken Marsala for a dinner party, with 30 of our friends. Am so happy to read that you cooked ahead and reheated. I will definitely allow for longer reheat time, now, too. Your blog was so very helpful. Happy cooking!

mary Early Childhood said...

Do you use sweet wine ? Or dry ? And do you think it would work with noodles