Marsala is an Italian, fortified wine that is very similar to Spanish sherry and madeira. All of these wines are great for cooking. I love the flavour and subtle sweetness of this sauce, and I love the simplicity and versatility of the recipe. Marsala sauce pairs nicely with chicken, pork, and steak. The meat is usually cooked in the sauce, but since I love to batch cook, I usually make the sauce separately from the meat and freeze the leftovers.
Marsala Sauce Recipe
makes enough sauce for 4 servings
1 cup fortified marsala wine (Note: Typically, only dry marsala is used for cooking, but I actually really liked the added sweetness that sweetened marsala lended to this sauce. So I’ve had success with both the Fine DOC and the Fine Ip DOC Dry versions of Sperone Marsala Fine, which I purchased from my local LCBO. Sherry or madeira wine could also be substituted for this.)
2 cups of beef or chicken stock
1/2 pound (227 g package) of fresh cremini mushrooms, sliced
1/2 large onion, finely diced
1 garlic clove, finely minced
1 tablespoon all purpose flour
2 tablespoons salted butter (Note: One of these tablespoons should be cold.)
coarse sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
small handful of fresh, flat leaf Italian parsley, chopped (optional for garnish)
Heat a large, heavy bottomed saute pan over medium heat. Add enough oil to coat the bottom of the pan and 1 tablespoon of butter. Once the oil is hot, add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, translucent and starting to brown. Then add the mushrooms and a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and most of the liquid has evaporated. Then stir in the garlic until fragrant. Sprinkle over the flour and stir constantly for at least 1 minute and up to 5 minutes. Don’t allow it to burn. Then deglaze the pan with the marsala wine. Scrape up the brown bits from the bottom of the pan and stir until the texture of the sauce is consistent. Increase the heat to bring the wine to a simmer. Reduce the heat as necessary to maintain a strong simmer for 3 to 5 minutes. Then add the stock, stir until well combined, and simmer until a desired consistency is achieved, keeping in mind that the sauce will thicken slightly as it cools. Taste test and add salt and pepper to taste. When the sauce is done, remove the pan from heat, gently stir in 1 tablespoon of cold butter until just melted, and toss in the parsley. Pour the sauce and mushrooms over cooked chicken, pork, or steak, garnish with additional parsley if desired, and serve immediately with side(s) of your choice (e.g. salad, rice, and/or vegetables). This sauce freezes well.