Cherry Marsala Chicken

cherrymarsalachickYou know how things sometimes just all come together in an improvisational sort of way, and it ends up being brilliant?  This dish was like that for me tonight.  I had a large salad and some Insalata Caprese lined up, and knew I wanted to do something with chicken breasts.  So while the chicken was thawing in the microwave, I started pulling things out of the fridge (garlic, obviously…marsala, why not? and AHA! a jar of Trader Joes’ Morello cherries in syrup!), and before I knew it–voila!–I had a meal that was worthy of a Special Occasion.  (In fact, it MADE our ordinary Thursday night dinner a special occasion.) Even our adventure-challenged eaters liked it!

Cherry Marsala Chicken

  • 4 boneless/skinless chicken breasts, thawed
  • 2 TBSP olive oil
  • 1 TBSP minced garlic (3-4 cloves)
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 TBSP fresh basil, shredded (or 1 tsp dried basil)
  • 1/2 c. marsala wine
  • 1 TBSP molasses
  • 1/2 cup Morello cherries in syrup
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Start by sautéeing the garlic and onions in olive oil.  When the onions are translucent, add the basil and stir until wilted.  Place the chicken breasts in the pan on top of the onions. Allow to sear on each side for a few minutes, then add the marsala.

In a measuring cup, stir the molasses with about 1/3 c. warm water, until the molasses thins out.  Pour over the chicken breasts.  Add the cherries in syrup.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Cover the pan with a lid and allow to cook over medium heat until the chicken is cooked through.  Remove the lid and allow to cook a bit longer, to let some of the liquid boil off.  You want the cherries to be cooked down and sort of melting into the sauce.

Serve the chicken over a bed of greens, or with a spinach salad alongside.  Be sure to spoon up the cherries and sauce from the pan and top the chicken.  Garnish with basil leaves. A good bread will add to the joy.