Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Chicken marsala... and my Kitchen Heroes

Kitchen heroes? Not thinking of a who, but rather a what. When I first started to cook, chicken breasts were a staple ingredient. Now, most of the time I cook with thigh meat as it's less dry, but sometimes a chicken breast is what you need for a recipe and chicken marsala is just one of those recipes. Personally when I buy chicken breasts I split them up so that I've always got a couple in the freezer as they are such a reliable staple if I want to knock up a quick curry, baked chicken goujons or a seemingly fancy (but oh so easy) dish like my Chicken marsala below.

Years ago I read a novel where the protagonist is wooed by a lover who teaches her to cook chicken marsala. It sounded like a sensual dish of wine spiked plump mushrooms and crisp chicken. Truly I thought it sounded wonderful, however on finishing said novel I didn't give it a second thought. Then, this year we went out for a birthday lunch and I saw it on the menu, ordered and ate it, and my cooking brain started to tick. 

This week I had a go at it, as part of a challenge set up for the Sainsbury's Blogger network. I was to make a dish using a 'by Sainsbury's' ingredient. My ingredient is their pack of 2 chicken breasts and the recipe I worked up is as follows: 

Chicken Marsala

2 by Sainsbury's chicken breasts
Unsalted butter
Olive oil
4-5 tablespoons plain flour
300g chestnut mushrooms
Marsala wine (our Sainsburys only sell 1 variety - and it worked beautifully Cantine Pellegrino 1880 Marsala Superiore)
Pasta/ brocolli to serve

Put your chicken breast in a freezer bag and bash the living daylights out of it to flatten - I used a wooden rolling pin and went royally to town on it. Repeat with each chicken breast.
Put the flour on a plate and sprinkle with a pinch of salt and a few good grinds of black pepper.
Dust your chicken breasts in the flour so that it's lightly coated on both sides. 
Melt the olive oil and butter together in a heavy based frying pan
When the oil is hot, add the chicken (you want it to sizzle as it goes in).
Cook the chicken on each side until it's golden brown - I let it form a crust before turning as I'm convinced that adds to the flavour later on.
Once your chicken breasts are cooked through, remove to a plate.
Add a pat of butter to the pan and start to cook down your mushrooms and add (for 2 people) 1 large wineglass of marsala. Allow this to bubble and reduce down, using a wooden spoon or similar to make sure you've got all the chickeny goodness off the bottom of the pan. It's ready when you can't taste the alcohol any longer, just the flavour of the wine - I reduce it down by at least half
Put the chicken back into the pan, and heat through
Serve with pasta (if you're M) or piles of steamed brocolli (if you're me)

We both loved this, the sweetness of the wine sauce contrasts beautifully with the savouriness of the chicken and the freshness of the brocolli. The mushrooms swell slightly and take on the flavours of the chicken and the wine. For us it's not an everynight supper - but on a Saturday night it's perfect for 2, with a glass of something cold and crisp.

The fantastic thing about this recipe is, that with the pack of chicken breasts happily ensconsed in the freezer, all I need to keep is the bottle of marsala as we always have mushrooms in. It's such a seemingly impressive dish for such little effort that I love it even more than just for the taste alone.

You'll note we're pictureless at the moment as it was so successful it was eaten before I could remember to get out the camera- but one should be up on Saturday as I've been talked into making it again.

What's your Kitchen Hero and what recipe would you make using one staple 'by Sainsbury's' product?

Leave your recipe in a comment below, or if you're a blogger link your recipe in the Linky tool below and tweet it to me using the hashtag #kitchenheroes. I'll RT all tweets sent to me.

The competition will close next Friday, 17th May and I'll do a roundup of all your recipes. The most impressive recipe will be chosen by Sainsburys and the winner given a £50 Sainsburys voucher.

The winning recipe will then be put to a vote with all the winning recipes from other blogs for a chance to find the overall best recipe.

Sainsbury's provided me with a £50 voucher for ingredients


Kate said...

Not a recipe as such but the quickest Saturday lunch ever for when you're running the children between sports clubs and dance classes. Pop Sainsbury's pitta breads into the toaster to heat up. Slit them open and fill with cooked chicken like Sainsbury's BBQ chunks or piri piri slices and top with coleslaw.


Penny Aylwin said...

Quite coincidentally Kate I'm having salad with those chicken chunks (the chilli and lime ones for me) right now. That is a lovely idea, I bet they'd be nice with some coleslaw too.

Thanks for entering

Kate said...

I've blogged a picture and details of my world's fastest Saturday lunch today together with a link back to your post here, but the linky thing doesn't want to let me join in :(



Mine would be chopped tomatoes. I use them in everything as they are so versatile.
My basic tomato sauce recipe is chopped tomatoes, onion, garlic chilli, italian seasoning. Simmer it all together. Then blitz it together.
you can add other things to it to make chilli, spaghetti bolognaise, casserole.

Linda said...

Sainsburys crumble mix, cooking apples and a tin of Sainsburys custard.
Core the apples and then stuff as much crumble mix in to the middle of the apple as possible. then pile up the crumple mix in a heap on top of the apple. Before putting in an oven (about 200 temp) pour a little melted butter over the crumble.
It takes about 20 mins but you will know when it is ready as the apple almost souffles out. Serve with custard.
The crumble in the middle if packed in tight enough will almost be cake like and the top all crunchy! Yum!!

Stacy Fenemore said...

A very simple recipe of Strogoanoff.

Mushrooms or Beef or both
plain youghurt

Simply fry the onion and mushrooms add all other ingredients apart from the rice.
Boil the rice to taste.

Voila, extremely easy and fast and loved by all :-)

Elizabeth Rodgers said...

Sainsburys chicken breasts, again flattened with my Kitchen Hero = my 40 year old wooden rolling pin which has seen good service in those decades. grind up peanuts, finely chop parsley, crush some garlic cloves, melt butter, and make up a stuffing of all these ingredients, stuff the flattened breasts and fold the breast over (string it if you need to). Cook in butter and herbs (of your choice). Delicious!

Jenni said...

Cream of Tomato soup. You can use it in so many recipes including chocolate cake! A can of the soup added to a normal recipe makes a wonderfully moist cake. And no, you can't taste the tomato. :)

Hannah said...

I love honey it's a perfect hero product because it can be used in so many things including a quick topping for toast. So my recipe uses by sainsburys honey - its really easy to use as its in a squeezy pot.

Chicken Skewers with sesame seeds
2 chicken breasts chopped into chunks
Whatever veg you like chopped into chunks I like cherry tomatoes, onions, mushrooms, corgette.
Thread your chicken pieces and veg onto skewers then make up your marinate using:
Honey, soy sauce, Chinese 5 spice and brush onto the skewers. Then sprinkle with sesame seeds and bake in oven about 175 c for 30 minutes.
I like to serve it with rice.

Jen Russon said...

Mine has to be using plain tortilla wraps by Sainsbury’s. Not only have we found them the yummiest, this meal is quick and easy, and even my fussy 5 year old likes it!
Mexican Chicken Fajitas -
4 plain tortilla wraps,
Mini chicken fillets,
1/2 a red pepper,
1/2 a yellow pepper,
one diced onion
sainsburys basic passata
2 tablespoons Mexican spice blend
A touch of grated cheese.

Start by frying the chicken, then when its nearly done, mix in the mexican spices.
Then quickly fry the chopped onion and peppers, & mix in the Passata.
Then add the chicken to the passata mixture, and warm the tortillas up in the oven for about 8 minutes. We wrap them in foil.
Divide the mixture into 4, and sprinkle grated cheese on.
We serve with salad! Yum!
Sometimes we will mix it up, and add mushrooms, or red onion.
This is quick and easy, and very tasty!

Nicky123 said...

My Kitchen Hero is By Sainsbury's British Mature Grated Cheddar cheese.

My signature dish is cheesy mashed potato and the recipe follows.

8 medium sized potatoes
100g By Sainsbury's British Mature Grated Cheddar cheese
Half a cup of semi-skimmed milk
3 tbsp. butter
Salt and pepper

Wash and peel the potatoes before boiling them until they are soft.

Drain the potatoes and transfer them to a bowl.

Mash the potatoes while adding the milk, cheese, butter and salt and pepper.

Then serve.

Natalie White said...

I love the sound of the marsala - I'll definitely be giving it a go! My kitchen hero would have to be Sainsbury's natural greek style yoghurt as I use it in cooking all the time. It's great for making tzatziki dip, and I often use it in carbona. But my favourite recipe is the one I'm sharing today...

Tangy Lemon & Yoghurt Chicken!

You need:
Sainsbury's Natural Greek Style Yoghurt (1/3 of tub)
4 Sainsbury's Chicken breasts
Lemon juice (3 tbsp)
Grated lemon zest (1 tbsp)
Dried mixed herbs (2 tsp)
Salt (1 tsp)
Ground black pepper (2 tsp)
Sainsbury's chopped garlic (another kitchen hero of mine!) (2 tsp)
Olive oil (1 tbsp)

The method is very simple - the day before you want to make the meal, you whisk all of the ingredients (apart from the chicken) together into a bowl, with the greek yoghurt forming the base of the marinade.

When the ingredients are well mixed, add the chicken and make sure all of the pieces are completely covered. Then pop the bowl in the fridge overnight. (I sometimes prepare this in the morning and make it in the evening, but it works best with a longer time for the flavours to soak in!)

The next day, remove the chicken from the marinade and put them under the grill until cooked through. The smell is delicious! Before serving, I put another pinch of black pepper over the chicken, but this is up to you.

This moist, tangy grilled chicken goes very well with rice, or chunky homemade chips!

Annes S said...

Sainsbury's Tinned tuna chunks for me - make a quick dinner for two

Split a ciabatta length ways, smother with tomato puree, top with broken up chunks of tuna, sliced tomatoes and olives,slices of their basics mozzarella, handful of grated cheese, sprinkle of herbs and then bake for 10-12 minutes in a hot oven till bubbling

Lucy Taylor chedtaylor@hotmail.com said...

My food hero is Puff Pastry. Sainsbury's do a ready-rolled chilled version and it can also be bought in a frozen 500g block. I love it that puff pastry is so versatile - sweet pastries, mince pies, meat pie lids, and sausage rolls are all simple to make and any offcuts can be re-rolled and used up. Here is a really easy tart recipe. The pastry rises up around the filling, forming a pastry case.

Cheddar & Mushroom Tarts:
375g Sainsbury's Ready Rolled Puff Pastry
Olive Oil
1-2 red onions, thinly sliced
125g chestnut mushrooms, sliced
75g mature cheddar, grated

Unroll the pastry on a floured surface and divide in 2. Chill for 30 mins.
Meanwhile, gently cook the onions & mushrooms in a frying pan. Add a pinch of salt & pepper.
Place the pastry on baking sheets, prick with a fork & brush with oil.
Divide the mushroom mixture between the 2 pastries, leaving a
1cm margin. Sprinkle the cheese on top and bake for 15-20 mins until the pastry is golden and the cheese is melted.

I like to serve them with a crisp green salad.

manfa.lou said...

Sainsburys 2 chicken breasts also!... For sticky chicken.


2 x Sainsburys chicken breasts
1 Red pepper
Enough rice for 2 people
4 table spoon Balsamic vinegar
4 Table spoon dark soy sauce
Generous squeeze of honey.

Slice the chicken into small strips along with the red pepper. Mix the balsamic vinegar, soy sauce and honey in a bowl making a marinade. Place sliced chicken along with the peppers into the bowl, cover and leave for 20-30 minutes to marinade. If using a rice cooker put the rice on to cook 10 minutes after placing the chicken to marinade. After the 20-30 minutes, heat a frying pan and pour in the marinade, chicken and peppers. Bring the sauce to the boil then leave to simmer until chicken is thoroughly cooked and marinade has thickened up and become 'sticky'.

Put rice on plates and put the sticky chicken on top to serve.

Add peas and/or sweetcorn to the rice if you wish.

liz denial said...

Asparagus Frittata


250g baby new potatoes (in their skins) cut into 1cm cubes
250g asparagus tips, cut into 3cm pieces
100g petit pois
½ large onion, finely chopped
½ red pepper, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
5 by Sainsbury’s free range large woodland eggs
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp dried mixed herbs
Salt & ground black pepper

Boil the cubed potatoes for approx. 8 minutes or until tender. Remove from water with slotted spoon & set aside. Blanch the asparagus in the same pan for 2 minutes. Drain & set aside

In the meantime whisk the eggs in a large bowl, season & stir in herbs

Heat oil in an ovenproof frying pan, add the onion, peppers & garlic & stir fry for approx. 6 minutes, or until soft.

Add the potatoes, half the asparagus & the peas & stir fry for a further 2 minutes

Pour the eggs evenly over the asparagus mixture & scatter over the remaining asparagus.

Turn the heat to medium & cook for approx. 12 minutes or until the base has started to set.

Preheat your grill to high. Place the frittata under the grill in the frying pan for approximately 4 minutes or until the top is golden & set.

Remove from the heat & allow to cool slightly then loosen the edges with a spatula & carefully slide onto a large chopping board.

Cut into 4 pieces & serve warm (also delicious cold)

Aga Girls said...

Rotisserie chickens are my go to when I can't think what to cook as so much of the work has already been done for you. This recipe is a firm family favourite. http://agagirls.blogspot.co.uk/2012/07/coronation-chicken.html and even I like which considering I don't like coronation chicken says alot.


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