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Monica Chappell
October 1, 2021 | Food & Wine | Monica Chappell

RECIPE ALERT! Dashe Heart Arrow Cabernet Sauvignon paired with Chicken Marsala

Single-Vineyard Heart Arrow Cabernet Pairing

A Chicken Marsala Recipe from the Master

Home cooks like me have used Marcella Hazan’s classic cookbooks for years (my copies are splattered and worn.)  In my opinion, there is no one more passionate and inspiring about cooking authentic Italian food. Marcella Hazan, the godmother of Italian cooking in America, is the author of The Classic Italian Cookbook, More Classic Italian Cooking, Marcella's Italian kitchen, and Essentials of Italian Cooking. I have them all in my kitchen library. 

For this recipe, there are two special ingredients creating magic: the dried porcini mushrooms, and the Marsala wine. The dried porcini is an aromatic essence of porcini mushrooms. The difference between fresh and dried porcini can be compared to the difference between a bouquet of fresh flowers and the aromas in a bottle of perfume. As for the Marsala, it is a fortified wine from the town of Marsala in western Sicily. For cooking purposes, look for the word secco, which means dry, although it is still slightly sweet.

We have chosen this Chicken Marsala recipe as an unusual pairing to go with our single-vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon. Typically, chicken recipes are too light to pair well with Cabernet, but in this case the earthy porcini mushrooms and the complex flavors of the Marsala meld perfectly with the richness of the single-vineyard Heart Arrow Cabernet Sauvignon.

This Recipe Feeds 4 People 


• 1 ounce imported dried porcini mushrooms 
• A 3½-pound chicken, cut into 8 pieces
• Flour for coating the chicken, about ½ cup
• 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
• 1 tablespoon butter
• Salt & Black pepper ground fresh
• 3 tablespoons chopped onion
• ⅓ cup dry Marsala wine 

NOTE: You could also use bonless skinless chicken breasts pounded into paillards instead of the chicken pieces. 

1. Soak the mushrooms in 2 cups warm water for at least 30 minutes. Lift out the mushrooms by hand, squeezing as much water as possible from them, letting it flow back into the container where they soaked. Pat dry with paper towels and chop them very fine. The water in which the mushrooms soaked is richly infused with porcini flavor. Filter the water through a strainer lined with cheese cloth, collecting it in a bowl or a pouring cup. Set aside.

2. Pat the chicken as dry as you can with paper towels. Spread the flour on a plate and turn the chicken in it.

3. Choose a skillet or sauté pan that can accommodate all the chicken pieces in a single layer without overlapping, put in the oil and butter, and turn on the heat to medium high. When the butter foam begins to subside, slip in the chicken. When all the pieces have become well browned on one side, add salt, black pepper, and the chopped onion, and turn the pieces over.

4. When the chicken has become browned all over and the onion has become colored a rich gold, add the Marsala wine. Let it bubble briskly for just a few seconds, add the chopped porcini mushrooms, turn the ingredients over with a wooden spoon, then cover the pan and turn the heat down to medium low.

5. Cook the chicken at a slow but regular simmer, replenishing the cooking juices when they begin to dry out with 2 or 3 tablespoons of the filtered water from the mushroom soak. Turn the chicken pieces over every once in a while and continue cooking until they feel very tender when prodded with a fork and the meat looks as though it would easily fall off the bone, about 50 minutes to 1 hour. The cooking juices should have condensed into a small amount of creamy sauce. If there is too much fat floating free, tip the pan and spoon it off. Transfer the entire contents of the pan to a warm platter and serve at once.

Single-Vineyard Heart Arrow Cabernet Pairing
The Marsala intensifies and develops a deep, concentrated flavor as it reduces. This sauce captures this quality along with the earthy flavors of the porcini mushrooms. The result is an intense, full-flavored dish that marries well to the ripe fruit of the single-vineyard Cabernet. This pairing is a good example of finding parallel intensity both in the dish and the wine. 


Single-Vineyard Heart Arrow Cabernet Sauvignon Tasting Notes:
Color: Purple Black
Aromas: Black cherry, blackberry, cassis, graphite, violets, black pepper, minerals
Taste: Almost Bordeaux-like in structure, with good acidity, velvety mid palate, and a spectrum of complex fruit flavors. Entry of blackberry, cassis, black cherry, violets, and then broader flavors of pencil lead, forest floor, black cherry. Finish of blackberry, black cherry, mineral, and black pepper. 
Click Here for the 2018 Single-Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, Heart Arrow Ranch

This recipe was taken from Marcella Hazan’s cookbook Marcella Cucina published in 1997. 


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