Crock Pot Chicken Marsala

crock pot chicken marsalaI feel like I should just start this post the same way as my last… “I recently riddled my fans on Facebook about whether they would want a crock pot chicken marsala or crock pot chana masala recipe… and of course, you guys asked for both! So as promised, I have created both recipes and I’m sharing them with you this week.” 

I thought it was fascinating to hear how many of you liked chicken marsala, but that it took too much work to make. That sounded like a great challenge! Nothing delicious needs to be over-complicated.  But crock pot chicken can have varying results– consider that my warning– especially with breast meat. I know my crock pots well enough that we have a relationship, I know how much time it takes to get up to temperature, and when they are just too hot to mess with.

I opted to use thin-sliced boneless, skinless chicken breasts for this dish and to cook for a shorter amount of time in order to retain the moisture in the meat. Chicken must be cooked through, so if you are not already aware of how moody your crock can be, you might want to be home when you cook this dish for the first time to ensure that it doesn’t dry out. Like any relationship, it takes a while to figure out. But it’s worth it.

mushroomAlso, I recommend using a slicer LIKE THIS to save time with the prep work. Yes, a simple knife could take care of slicing the mushrooms, but I really like how this device makes everything a consistent size. You can also use it for eggs (duh!), strawberries, kiwis, and soft cheese.

Crock Pot Chicken Marsala

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 4-6 hours

1.5 lbs thin-sliced boneless, skinless chicken breast

4 T. salted butter, cubed

8 oz. baby portabella mushrooms, cleaned and sliced

2 cloves garlic, minced

8 oz. marsala cooking wine

1/2 c. cold water

3 T. corn starch

Place chicken breasts in the crock pot and dot with chunks of the cold butter. Put mushrooms in next and spread across the chicken. Sprinkle with the garlic.  Slowly pour in the cooking wine on top of everything, but not so fast as too wash all the mushrooms and garlic off of the chicken. Cook on low for 4-6 hours then remove the chicken from the pot using a slotted spoon. In a separate bowl, dissolve the corn starch in the water and then add it to the liquid in the pot and stir. Add the chicken back to the pot and cook an additional hour.  Serve over wide egg noodles.

Crock Pot Marsala Pears

Lately, I’ve been more interested in making crock pot desserts. I think it’s the farthest thing from what grandma used to make– this amazing kitchen appliance is meant for more than just soup and meat! I have a couple pounds of fresh seckel pears. They are still firm and their skins are colorful and fragrant with just a few blemishes. Since we’ll be cooking these down, I think it’s best to use fruit when it’s just a day or two ahead of being ripe.

Some of the recipes I’ve seen for seckel pears require the cook to peel the pear, but that’s it. I have issues with this prep. First off– it’s rediculously difficult to stand pears up on the crock pot. Have you ever seen a flat-bottomed pear?!  Plus, it might make a nice presentation in it’s orginal form, but then you have to worry about cutting around the tough middle and not eating any of the seeded parts. Why not just half it and use a melon baller to  remove the part you don’t want to eat?? Or you can be even lazier, like I am, and just slice the halves off just outside of the core so you don’t even have to scoop it out.  So there you go, that’s my suggestion. Either way, it’s a couple minutes more prep work, but it’s just as good to eat with less hassle at the dinner table.

Marsala wine is great for cooking. It’s full flavored and a little sweet. I opened a bottle to make chicken marsala one night and now it’s been sitting on my shelf. It’s not a wine I would drink from a glass, but it’s great for cooking. So I think the combination with fresh fruit really makes mouth water. Plus, it’s really sad to let the bottle gather dust between chicken marsala nights. If you don’t have marsala, try another red wine and maybe add some raisins or craisins to the recipe to add a little sweetness.

Try these pears for pretty much any meal. They would be amazing next to some cinnamon oatmeal for breakfast, a nice snack with a side of vanilla greek yogurt or serve it for dessert after a steak dinner and top it with some dark chocolate shavings. However you discover it, I hope you like experimenting with this fresh fruit. Enjoy!

12 seckel pears, halved and scooped (see above note)

1/2 c. marsala wine

1 T. sugar

Place pears in the crock pot, pour wine in and sprinkle sugar. Stir it all around and cook on low for 2-3 hours. The pears should be soft enough to cut with the edge of a fork, but not mushy like apple sauce.