A complete dinner on the table in 15 minutes, made from scratch!
This is how this 15 minute meal goes down:
- Chicken – 30 seconds to prepare, 3 1/2 minutes to cook (using chicken breast minute steaks)
- Marsala Sauce – 2 minutes to prepare ingredients, 3 1/2 minutes to make by deglazing the pan
- White Bean Puree – 1 minute to prepare, 2 minutes to simmer, 1 minute to puree or mash
- Asparagus – 1 minute to microwave (shortcut: steam it wrapped in cling wrap)
Believe it, you can get this on the table in 15 minutes. And it’s made from scratch! No store bought packet mixes, no canned soup.
“Marsala is my secret weapon for quick midweek meals. It’s like a stock, but with a whole lot more flavour! And it’s fine for kids to eat because the alcohol is cooked out.”
The sneaky flavour shortcut in this recipe is marsala which is a fortified wine like port and sherry. Add a splash of marsala, and it’s like you added stock, honey, vinegar and Worcestershire sauce with a touch woodiness. It’s really cheap to buy, about A$10 for a 1 litre bottle, lasts for years. And you don’t need an expensive brand, just a cheap one is fine. I rummaged through the end of bin barrel at my local liquor store and managed to pick one up for $4.
The other shortcut in this recipe is using chicken minute steaks, which is basically chicken breast that is sliced horizontally to make thin chicken steaks about 1cm/1/3″ thick. If you can’t find chicken minute steaks or to save on cost, you can slice your own chicken breast. Just make sure to cut it thin because then you only need to “flash fry” it so the chicken is kept as juicy as possibly (overcooked chicken breast is horribly dry).
“Overcooked chicken breast is like eating cardboard. By using minute steaks, you only need to flash fry them, keeping it moist and juicy.”
This chicken is accompanied with asparagus which I microwave in cling wrap – super lazy because it saves on washing up and digging in the back of my cupboards to locate my steamer.
And the last shortcut I use is making a bean puree. It is basically a substitute for mashed potato which goes fabulously with this but takes longer to make. The white bean puree is made using tinned cannellini beans and takes less than 1 minute to prepare, then you just leave it to simmer for a few minutes, then puree with a hand held blender stick or just mash it with a potato masher.
I think this is a great example of a cost conscious, elegant meal that you can make really quickly from scratch just by using a few clever shortcuts: the marsala in the sauce, cannellini bean puree instead of mashed potato and using chicken minute steaks instead of full chicken breasts which take much longer to cook.
Oh, and in case you’re worried about just getting marsala for this recipe, you could also have a look at this Chicken Pot Pie which also uses marsala and I’ll be sharing a Slow Cooker Chicken Marsala in the coming weeks. So it’s worth dropping by your local liquor store for a bottle! But for this recipe, you could substitute the marsala with sherry or port.
If you give it a go, I’d love to hear what you think!
- 400 g / 13 oz chicken breast minute steaks (4 pieces x 100g/3oz each) (see notes)
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 bunch asparagus
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/4 cup marsala (see notes)
- 1 1/2 tsp dijon mustard
- 1/4 cup cream (unwhipped, full fat or light)
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 can cannellini beans (15oz / 420g can), drained
- ⅓ cup vegetable or chicken stock
- 1/2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 garlic clove , minced
- Lemon wedges or cheeks
- Finely chopped parsley
Place White Bean Puree ingredients in a small saucepan over high heat. Bring to simmer then turn down to medium and let simmer for 2 minutes. Remove from heat then puree or mash with a fork. Cover and set aside.
Season the chicken breast with salt and pepper.
Heat olive oil in fry pan over high heat. Add chicken breast and cook the first side for 2 minutes, then the second side for 1 minute 30 seconds (see notes). Remove chicken from pan onto a plate, cover loosely and leave to rest.
Add water, marsala and dijon mustard to the pan and return to heat. It should come to a rapid simmer very quickly. Let it simmer for about 1 to 2 minutes until the liquid has reduced by approximately half. The larger the pan, the faster it will reduce. While it is simmering, stir it and scrape the brown bits off the bottom of the pan to mix in with the sauce. If the mustard hasn't dissolved properly, grab a whisk and give it a few vigorous stirs and the mustard should mix in.
Add the cream and mix to combine, simmer for 30 seconds. Then add the lemon juice and simmer for 1 minute or so, stirring occasionally, until the sauce has thickened into a light gravy consistency.
The sauce should be well seasoned from the salt and pepper that was used on the chicken, but check and adjust the seasoning to your taste.
Remove from heat.
Rinse asparagus under running water, then shake off excess water and wrap in cling wrap. Microwave on high for 1 minute. Remove from microwave and unwrap immediately otherwise it will overcook. Use a dish towel or oven mitts to do this and be careful when unwrapping it because it will be hot.
Place White Bean Puree on plate, top with chicken and a drizzle of Marsala Sauce. Place asparagus on the side. Scatter with finely chopped parsley and serve with lemon wedges on the side, if using.
1. Chicken breast minute steaks are just chicken breast sliced horizontally into thin steaks about 1cm/1/3" thick. If you can't find it or if you prefer to save on cost, just get chicken breast and slice them yourself.
2. Marsala is a fortified wine like sherry and port. It is thicker and sweeter than red wine. You don't need an expensive one. In Australia you can pick up a 750ml bottle for around $8 - $10. I bought one in the end of bin barrels for $4.
You can substitute the Marsala with port or sherry for this recipe.
3. The prescribed cooking time assumes the chicken is at room temperature and is 1cm / 0.3" thick.
4. Nutrition per serving.