Ahhh to be home.
It smells like only home can. Sweet and buttery, like Eau de Paula Deen, I imagine.
It feels familiar, comfortable, and nostalgic. The floorboards sigh and squeal at just the same coordinates they did as I used to tip-toe in at 1am. My adolescent face is gracing just about every wallspace. Unfortunately.
My mother has her Christmas decorations so beautifully and elaborately strewn that Santa is calling Martha Stewart and together they’re devising a plan to up their holiday game next year. I wish them the best.
My bedroom is still fit for a queen. Mixed CD’s are still stacked on the shelves in my closet. Sequins and tulle are [apparently] time-honored classic textured fabrics. Titanic memorabilia abounds, much like all the remnants of my years-ago fascination with eBay.
The cupboards are adequately stocked for my homecoming…with peanut butter, baking ingredients, and five tubs of marshmallow fluff. I come with a rider.
The dinner table is clothed in red linen… green embroidered silk place mats adorn each setting… the gold glittered centerpiece is lit…
And my big, beautiful and ever-hungry family is seated around it, as always…
waiting for me to make dinner.
I shout “Take out!”
They shout “Tie your apron!”
I do what I do best.
And then I cook.
And I feel so good taking care of them, making meals, packing wholesome lunches, baking dessert from scratch. It’s how I show love. It’s how I give and nurture and lose my marbles…one meal at a time.
This dish is one that I absolutely love. Probably my favorite chicken dish to prepare, and my among my top three to eat. The sauce is rich, silky, and so deeply and intensely flavored that you lick your fork tines repeatedly for fear you might have missed a stray slick of mascarpone-marsala sauce. It’s sweet from reduced wine, sharp and savory from sauteed garlic and dijon mustard, and velvety from the thick, creamy mascarpone cheese. And the best part is that it’s so very easy.
I used leftover cooked chicken breast from two roasted whole birds I had made earlier in the day, and added it to the creamy sauce to heat through. I simply pulled the breasts from the bone and chopped them up to make this meal, but you can absolutely use fresh boneless chicken breast and saute them in the pan. To do that, you want to begin with uniformly thin chicken cutlets- so it’s best to pound the meat under a sheet of plastic wrap with a meat mallet or any heavy blunt object, and get them to about a third of an inch in thickness. Sprinkle them with salt and pepper and then add them to a large saute pan (the same one you’ll make the sauce in) set over medium-high heat with a few tablespoons of olive oil. Cook them for about 4 minutes per side (they’ll cook quickly if they’re thin enough). When they’re browned on both sides, remove them to a plate and make the sauce as I have below. While the sauce is beginning to simmer, after all ingredients, except for chicken, have been added, slice the cooked chicken cutlets into thin strips and then add those along with any juices that may have collected on the plate back to the pan and stir to combine well with the sauce. Let the whole mixture cook together for about 4 minutes to blend.
Here is how to make the sauce:
Heat a tablespoon of butter and a tablespoon of olive oil in a medium sized pan set over medium heat.
Add a quarter cup finely chopped onion and saute for a few minutes, just until the onion is soft and translucent.
Add mushrooms and stir. Let them cook for about 2 minutes.
Add minced garlic and stir constantly for 30 seconds, until fragrant.
Slowly stream in marsala wine, stirring to combine.
Bring the pan up to a simmer.
Add dijon mustard and stir.
Now add 1/3 cup (about 6 tablespoons) of mascarpone cheese. Stir to blend well. Add chopped, cooked chicken or turkey and stir to coat in the sauce.
Keep the pan on the burner for two to three minutes more, just to allow the sauce to thicken and become glossy.
Chicken with Mustard Mascarpone Marsala Sauce
(recipe adapted from Giada De Laurentiis)
1 lb leftover cooked chicken or turkey breast
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 cup sliced cremini mushrooms
3 cloves garlic, minced
2/3 cup Marsala wine
1/3 cup mascarpone cheese
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
Heat the oil and butter in a heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and saute until tender, about 2 minutes.
Add the mushrooms and saute for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add garlic and stir for 30 seconds, until fragrant.
Add wine and bring mixture to a simmer for a few minutes until slightly reduced. Stir in dijon mustard. Add the mascarpone cheese and stir until it has melted and the sauce is well blended. Add the cooked, chopped turkey or chicken breast. Stir to combine all ingredients. Simmer for a few minutes so that the meat has warmed through.
Stir in fresh parsley and serve.
Each serving is just under 300 calories with 17 grams of fat.