This recipe for Turkey Marsala consisting of flattened turkey scallopini with bacon, mushrooms, garlic and onions in a Marsala wine sauce, presents a nice twist on the traditional Italian-American dish of Chicken or Veal Marsala.
Do you remember in the 1970’s and 1980’s when everything was cooked with mushrooms? Yeah, I grew up in those times. Man, they put mushrooms in and on everything and called it gourmet. Luckily for me, I like mushrooms, but not so for my little brother. I don’t know when the recipe for chicken Marsala was developed, but it’s a classic Italian-American dish featuring mushrooms and Marsala wine. I remember ordering it at restaurants and reveling in my sophistication. I was sure I was the only teen ordering dinner made with a wine sauce.
I have no idea why this dish popped into my head the other day when I spied that package of turkey tenders on sale at the store… Perhaps, it was just a throwback to my youth.
[NOTE: Use a DRY Marsala wine not sweet like in the photos. My “personal shopper” brought home the wrong one, so I had to use it.]
Turkey Marsala is an excellent dish for Sunday dinner – earthy, tender and full of rich, complex flavors that rival any comfort food. It pairs nicely with a side of rice, pasta or grilled Summer squash. Turkey Marsala is not difficult to make, but it does take a little time to develop it’s rich flavor – and for this, browning the ingredients during each step is key. I added bacon to the recipe, which imparts a warm and smokey flavor. My family was hooked the minute the mouth watering aromas of bacon and browned mushrooms wafted through the house. The meal received raved reviews at the table – even from the kid who usually takes one look at something and dismisses it on sight.
One may think turkey tenders an unusual protein choice for Chicken Marsala (a dish traditionally made of chicken or veal), but it was on sale at the store and I couldn’t pass it up. Turkey Marsala is a great make ahead dinner! I have prepared it on a weekend for us to enjoy during the week, and it held over nicely in the refrigerator with no effect to flavor or texture.
This version is not made with heavy cream, but adding 1/2 cup of heavy cream to the sauce would make it heavenly. I would omit the cornstarch if doing so because the cream will serve to thicken the sauce.
Perfect sides? Riced Cauliflower Pilaf, buttered rice or potatoes with parsley, buttered pasta with parsley and Parmesan, Garlicky Oil & Vinegar Green Beans, asparagus, or marinated and grilled Summer Squash.
- 2 pounds turkey breast cutlets turkey tenders or chicken breasts
- 4 ounces bacon
- 8 ounces sliced mushrooms
- 4 ounces onion
- 2-3 cloves garlic 5 grams
- 2 teaspoons Garlic & Herb Seasoning Blend or your fave
- 1/4 cup olive oil or 1/2 bacon grease and 1/2 olive oil
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 1/4 cup DRY Marsala wine
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch or arrowroot powder
- Place a large pan over medium heat. While heating, chop the bacon. Add 1 tablespoon of oil to the pan and cook the bacon until crisp. Remove the bacon but leave the bacon grease.
- Arrange the sliced mushrooms in a single layer in the pan and brown. While the mushrooms are browning, dry the turkey tenders (or chicken breast) with paper towels, slice lengthwise and season both sides with the Garlic & Herb Seasoning and salt, stacking them up on a plate as you go. Flip the mushrooms and brown the other side. Add more oil if needed.
- Now, one at a time, place the sliced cutlets into a plastic bag and pound to an even thickness.
- Remove the mushrooms from the pan and add the turkey cutlets in two-three batches, adding more oil as necessary and browning each side, cooking all the way through. Remove the turkey from the pan and put it on a serving plate, keeping warm by covering loosely with a piece of foil.
- While the first batch of turkey is cooking, slice the onions and garlic. When all of the turkey has been cooked, add the onions and garlic to the pan, add 1/4 cup of broth and scrape up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Saute the onions and garlic until almost softened.
- Add the bacon and mushrooms and stir. Add the rest of the broth, the Marsala wine and lemon juice and stir together. Bring to a boil and reduce the heat to a simmer. Make a slurry with 2 teaspoons of cornstarch (or arrowroot) by adding 2 teaspoons of water and stirring. Stir the slurry into the pan and continue simmering until the sauce is as thick as you like it. Adjust the seasoning – more lemon brightens the flavor, more salt heightens all of the flavors, pepper brings a nice earthy bite.
- Pour the contents of the pan over the turkey and serve. Serves 6.