Cooking On A Budget: Chicken with Lemon, Thyme, Garlic and Marsala Sauce

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Chicken with Lemon, Thyme, Garlic and Marsala Sauce


With our budget chicken can often be the least expensive protein to work into a dinner meal. That being said someone here quipped the other night that he was going to start laying eggs soon. It took a couple of seconds to realize just what he said that he was not saying. In other words, "chicken again?" So I gave a break in between chicken meals and decided the next chicken dish I make better be totally delicious and totally different from what we've ever had before.

The one protein I don't mind freezing is chicken and the $1.00 per pound chicken thighs I took out of the freezer need to be used in a very clever way and with ingredients I have available without making another run out to the grocery store. That's how this recipe came to fruition.

My goal was to prepare the chicken thighs with a nice crispy skin and make a tasty sauce to go with, yielding tender, juicy and flavorful chicken.
  • 4 bone-in, skin on chicken thighs
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup Marsala wine
  • 4 garlic cloves - smashed
  • 1 bundle fresh thyme
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp. heavy cream
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • salt to taste
  • black pepper to taste
  • granulated garlic to taste
It was not a disappointment, in fact this chicken dinner is ranked right up there with some of my other great chicken dishes. The sauce has a pungent flavor from the garlic and lemon juice that gets tamed down with just that touch of heavy cream at the end resulting in a well-balanced, flavorful jus.

  1. Start out by preparing your chicken. That means wash under cold water and thoroughly dry with paper towels. If the chicken is wet it doesn't stand a chance to brown up. Then season liberally with salt and pepper and granulated garlic to taste on the skin side. You'll season the underside after you place it in the hot pan skin side down.
  2. Have your thyme bundle and smashed garlic cloves ready and all your measured ingredients: Marsala wine, chicken broth and lemon juice. 
  3. Get a skillet large enough to hold the chicken and heat it over medium high heat. Once the skillet is hot add in the olive oil and butter. Let the butter start to turn slightly brown and add in the chicken skin side down. Immediately season what is now the top side with salt and pepper and granulated garlic to taste.
  4. Sear and brown for about 4-5 minutes, turning the heat down to medium. You want nice dark skin color. Flip over and brown the second side for 1 minute. Remove to a waiting plate.
  5. Add in the crushed garlic cloves, stirring around the pan.
  6. Add in the thyme bundle and de-glaze the pan with the Marsala wine. Cook down for a minute or so to reduce the Marsala. Add in the lemon juice.
  7. Turn the heat down to low, add in the chicken and simmer for 40-45 more minutes. The internal temperature of the chicken should be 165° and still be moist and tender.
  8. When the chicken is done remove to a waiting plate. Take out the thyme bundle and the garlic cloves. Add the heavy cream, mixing well to incorporate. You are ready to serve the chicken and the fabulous sauce!

The chicken thighs I purchased are fairly large so one per person is a good estimate. Two per person if someone has a large appetite. Serving with a side vegetable and say mashed potatoes you can still keep the cost of this dinner on the low side. For us the chicken alone (and I figured for four thighs not three) came to approximately $7.16. To save yourself money make sure you take advantage of the thighs at the $1.00 per pound sale price as they freeze well and you can split a family pack into multiple dinners. We got our egg noodles at $1.00 per bag and with the broccoli this entire meal costs $10.35.

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