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Chef Jon Ashton Chicken Marsala

We’re Back in the Kitchen with a Sicilian Classic

One rule of thumb: when choosing a wine to cook with, make sure to select one you’d also want to drink. While Marsala wine is typically known primarily for the signature flavor it brings to savory dishes, its fortified palate is a favorite in its namesake region on the island of Sicily. Similar to brandy or port, Marsala wine can be either dry or sweet. It’s the sweeter vintage that is used in the featured dish this week: Chef Jon Ashton’s chicken marsala. The beauty of this wine – beyond the spectacular region where it originated – is the impactful flavor it brings to the dish, while intensifying the other ingredients’ flavors. Cooking with wine can also add moisture to savory meat dishes without additional fat.

As Chef Jon returns to the kitchen this week, he brings a chicken marsala recipe for an Italian favorite that combines Marsala wine and Grand Marnier with the earthiness of mushrooms and fresh thyme. It’s time once again to gather your ingredients for Sunday Cooking with Chef Jon Ashton, this Sunday, January 10 at 3 p.m. ET on the Crystal Cruises Facebook page. We’ll see you in the kitchen for the first Crystal Family culinary gathering of 2021!

Chicken Marsala
By Chef Jon Ashton


4 boneless, skinless, chicken breast halves (about 1-1/2 lbs. or 680 grams), pounded to 1/4-inch thickness
Salt and pepper 
2-1/4 cups (540 ml) Florio Sweet Marsala wine, divided  
3 oz. (90 ml) Grand Marnier
2 cups (480 ml) chicken stock
1 sprig fresh thyme
1 cup (120 grams) All Purpose flour 
4 tablespoons (60 ml) butter 
2 tablespoons (30 ml) olive oil 
1 lb. (453 grams) mushrooms, cleaned, sliced, and sautéed (recipe below) 
Juice of 1/2 lemon 
2 tablespoons (30 ml) cold butter 
White pepper to taste 


Pre-heat oven 250 degrees F (120 degrees C). 

Lightly season chicken with salt and pepper. Set aside for 15 minutes. 

Place 2 cups (480 ml) Marsala wine and the Grand Marnier in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Ignite and let flame subside. Add the chicken stock, fresh thyme and reduce to about 1 cup (about 12-15 minutes). Place to one side. 

Spread flour in a shallow dish. Working with one piece of chicken at a time, dredge chicken in flour, shaking gently to remove excess. Place on wire rack set in rimmed baking sheet.

Heat 2 tablespoons (30 ml) of melted butter and 1 tablespoon (15 ml) oil in a 12-inch skillet to medium-high heat. Place 3 cutlets in skillet and lower heat to medium. Cook on first side for 2 minutes. Flip and cook for another 2 minutes. Return the cutlets to a wire rack, and place in oven to keep warm. Repeat last 2 tablespoons (30 ml) butter and remaining oil and cook the rest of the chicken in the same way. Place on baking tray and keep chicken warm.  

Add mushrooms, reduced stock, lemon juice and remaining 1/4 cup Marsala wine to the skillet. Bring to a boil and then reduce until the sauce has the consistency of maple syrup.  Whisk in cold butter and season with salt and pepper. 

Place chicken on a platter and spoon sauce over chicken and serve. I like to serve with creamy mashed potatoes. 

Serves 4.

Sautéed Mushrooms

3 tablespoons (30 ml) melted butter 
1 lb. (453 grams) cleaned and thinly sliced button, crimini or shitake mushrooms 
2 oz. (60 ml) Sweet Sherry wine


In a skillet on medium high heat, cook the mushrooms in melted butter. Place a lid on top of the skillet and let steam for a couple of minutes. Remove lid and add 2 oz. (60 ml) Sweet Sherry wine. Place lid back on and cook on medium heat for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Crystal’s Crystal@Home: A Virtual Cruise Experience program brings several elements of the renowned Crystal Experience directly to guests, wherever in the world they are. “Sunday Cooking with Chef Jon Ashton” represents the culinary excellence found aboard Crystal ships, as some of the greatest travel memories are created over the greatest meals.

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Posted on September 23, 2020