Friday, March 14, 2014

Marsala Chicken Mushroom and Barley Stew

Mmmmm....MAR.....SA.......LA......! Love that word.  Love the flavor even more.  I swoon at dishes that are infused with marsala.  Every time I see a recipe for Chicken Marsala, I think to myself, I'm going to make that "FOR REAL" this time. And then, of course, it gets put off until I completely forget about it...again.

I had Chicken Marsala once at the Olive Garden a very looooong time ago and I completely fell in love with it. Tried to make it at home a time or two and it didn't  really seem to fit the bill. But that was also a very long time ago.  My skills have much improved since then.  I haven't come back to it since but I still love to reminisce about how much I loved that dish back then. Granted if I went back today and ate there again, I doubt I would be as enamored with the dish as I once was (we've kind of sworn off OG).

Anyway, this stew is kind of a mix between one of my favorite dishes, Chicken Marsala, and one of my husband's favorite dishes, Mushroom Barley Soup.  It all came about on a cold and rainy day, perfect day for soup if you ask me.  I wasn't  exactly sure how the two dishes would come together but it turned out to be a winner. My girls even gobbled it up and that doesn't happen much.

Marsala Chicken Mushroom and Barley Stew
6 boneless skinless chicken thighs
olive oil
1/2 onion, diced
8 oz cremini mushrooms, chopped
2 cloves garlic
1 cup marsala cooking wine
4 cups chicken broth
1 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
1 cup quick cooking barley
fresh herbs for garnish, such as basil, or parsley

In a large pot, heat a couple drizzles of olive oil over medium high heat.  Add chicken thighs and brown on each side; about 2 minutes per side.  Work in batches if your pot is not big enough to hold all of the thighs at once.  Remove chicken to a platter.  Reduce heat to medium.  Add another drizzle of oil, if necessary, and add onions and mushrooms to the pot.  Cook until onions are translucent and tender.  Add garlic and cook another minute.  Add chicken back in, then add wine, broth, dried basil, salt and pepper.  Reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook 10 minutes.  Add barley and cook another 15 minutes.

Ladle warm soup into bowls, garnish with fresh herbs and serve.

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