Marsala Roasted Chicken with Mushroom Gravy


Marsala is a popular Italian cooking wine that is produced in the region of Sicily surrounding the city of Marsala.  Marsala wine is available either sweet or dry.  It is similar in flavor to Sherry, Port, and Madeira.  It can be served as either an aperitif or dessert wine but it is used mostly for cooking.

I love the rich flavor of Marsala and I use it extensively when cooking; so, I always have a bottle of sweet and dry on hand.  As far as cooking with Marsala goes – sweet Marsala is mostly used in making desserts, while dry Marsala is mainly used to flavor meat and poultry dishes.  Veal Marsala is the most popular dish made with Marsala wine in Italian cuisine.  The substitution of chicken for veal has become even more popular as people are more conscientious about the ethical practices involved in processing veal and in eating less red meat in general.

While I love Veal or Chicken Marsala, I’m basically too lazy to make it for company.  So I came up with this easy recipe for Marsala Roasted Chicken.  Marsala wine provides a subtle sweetness and earthy flavor to the roasted chicken.  The mushroom gravy further complements and enhances the earthiness of this dish. Serve with noodles or mashed potatoes.

(Addina Arrustuta al Marsala/ Pollo Arrosto al Marsala)

Difficulty Rating: Easy
Makes 4 servings.

1 small onion, sliced
1 stalk celery, sliced
1 carrot, sliced
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 sprig fresh rosemary + 2 teaspoons minced
3 tablespoons butter, softened
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons minced flat-leaf parsley
1 teaspoon minced fresh sage
1(4-5 pound) roasting chicken
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup dry Marsala wine
2 tablespoons brandy or whiskey

8 ounces sliced mushrooms
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup chicken stock
1 1/2 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon minced flat-leaf parsley
Fresh ground black pepper


1. PREPARE THE CHICKEN:  Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.  Place vegetables and oil in a 7-inch by 11-inch shallow baking dish.  Toss together to coat the vegetables and set aside.

Combine the butter, oil, 2 teaspoons minced rosemary, parsley, and sage in a small bowl and set aside.  Rinse chicken in cold water and pat dry with paper towels.  Season the inside of the chicken with salt and pepper.  Place the rosemary sprig inside the cavity and tie the legs together with kitchen twine.  Rub approximately 1/3 of the butter/herb mixture on the back half of the chicken and season with salt and pepper.  Turn the chicken over and place on top of the vegetables in the baking dish.  Rub remaining butter/herb mixture all over the top half of the chicken.  Season with salt and pepper.

2. ROAST THE CHICKEN:  Place chicken in oven and bake for 30 minutes.  Combine the Marsala and brandy.  Spoon half of it over the chicken.  Bake 15 minutes longer.  Pour remaining Marsala over the chicken. Cook 30 to 40 minutes longer, basting occasionally with pan juices, until a thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the thigh registers 165 degrees F. If you don’t have a meat thermometer, you can check for doneness by inserting a knife tip in the thickest part of the chicken and spreading it apart; if the juices run clear with no pinkness, the chicken is done.  Transfer chicken to a platter and cover with aluminum foil. Strain the pan juices into a small bowl.

3. MAKE THE GRAVY:  Combine the 1 1/2 tablespoons butter and flour in a small bowl and set aside.  Heat 2 tablespoons butter and olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.  Sautè mushrooms until tender, about 4 minutes.  Add the pan juices and chicken stock and bring to a boil.  Whisk in the butter/flour mixture to thicken gravy.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Reduce heat to low simmer and cook for 3 minutes longer.  Remove from heat and stir in parsley.

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