Chicken Marsala Meatloaf

    Meatloaf is traditionally slathered with ketchup before baking, but I can’t find any rule etched in stone stipulating the use of this sauce and method. This Italian-inspired version gives meatloaf a makeover. Chicken Marsala Meatloaf lightens the loaf’s caloric and fat values by using ground chicken, but boosts the flavor with plenty of herbs and a savory mushroom sauce to provide umami flavor, which poultry often lacks. The dish is then topped with crispy prosciutto strips to add texture and a pop of salt.

    Chicken Marsala Meatloaf

    1 cup cubed white bread, crusts included
    ¼ cup whole milk or half and half
    4 tablespoons minced parsley, divided
    2 teaspoons minced rosemary, divided
    2 eggs, beaten
    3 teaspoons minced garlic, divided
    2 teaspoons salt, divided
    1 teaspoon black pepper, divided
    1 pound ground white meat chicken
    3 tablespoons butter
    1 pound sliced cremini mushrooms
    1 pound sliced white button mushrooms
    1 small sweet onion, julienned
    2 tablespoons flour
    ½ cup marsala wine
    1½ cups low sodium chicken stock
    3 tablespoons olive oil
    3 to 4 slices prosciutto, cut crosswise into thin ribbons

    Preheat an oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

    In a large bowl, combine the cubes of white bread, milk, 2 tablespoons minced parsley, 1 teaspoon minced rosemary, the beaten eggs, 2 teaspoons minced garlic, 1 teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon black pepper. Whisk or stir this mixture together until the bread absorbs the milk and becomes a paste that’s uniform in color and texture. Crumble in the ground chicken then use your hands to evenly distribute the paste within the chicken. The chicken loaf mixture will be loose and wet, but that will help yield a moist end result.
    Line a sheet pan with parchment paper then fashion the chicken mixture into a loaf shape that is 4 inches wide, 8 inches long, and 2½ to 3 inches high. This meatloaf won’t be as tall as the traditional beef version, but decreasing the height reduces the overall cook time so that the edges of the loaf don’t dry out by the time the interior reaches the proper temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

    Bake the chicken meatloaf for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a thermometer reads 165 degrees Fahrenheit when inserted into the center. Cover the meatloaf with foil and allow it to rest for 5 minutes before cutting into slices.

    While the chicken is cooking, make the sauce:
    In a large saute or saucepan, melt 3 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Add the sliced mushrooms and cook for 15 minutes, or until they release their liquid, it evaporates, and they become brown and crisp. Add the julienned onion and cook for another 4 to 5 minutes until soft. Season with remaining 1 teaspoon of minced rosemary, garlic, and salt, and ½ teaspoon black pepper. Sprinkle the flour on top of the mushroom mixture and mix for 1 minute to fully incorporate and cook off the raw flour taste. Slowly pour in the marsala wine and stir vigorously to integrate, breaking up any lumps that may form. Repeat this process for the chicken stock then bring the sauce to a boil over medium-high heat while stirring slowly. The sauce will become thicker as it reaches a boil. Finish the sauce by stirring in the remaining 2 tablespoons of minced parsley.

    Pour the olive oil into a small nonstick pan and heat it over medium heat. Add the prosciutto ribbons and fry until they are crisp and stiff. Transfer the fried prosciutto strips to paper towels to drain.

    To serve, top a few slices of the chicken meatloaf with the mushroom marsala sauce then sprinkle on a bit of the crunchy prosciutto.

    Kerry Stanton
    Kerry Stanton is a recipe writer, culinary instructor, and restaurant consultant. She writes for Dirty Water Media and the Boston Herald.“I will not settle for anything less than exceptional food at every meal. This doesn’t mean that I demand excessive extravagance or prized ingredients for breakfast, lunch and dinner - I just want well-cooked, properly seasoned food, presented beautifully. I think we all deserve this much.”




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