Let’s start with what the heck is Mema Style? Mema is me – it’s what my grandchildren call me. If you hail from Texas or are a fan of “The Big Bang Theory” and its spin-off “Young Sheldon” then you know what I’m talking about. Mema is Texan for Grandma. In our house, there is a bit more to the whole Mema thing, especially since no one in my family actually hails from Texas.
When my youngest sister became a mother for the first time, she was living in Germany. And so it was that my dad and his wife became known as “Opa” and “Oma”. When my grandson was born a year later, my daughter wanted something “catchy” for her children to call my husband and I. And so it was that we became “Mepa” and “Mema”. It wasn’t until years later that I discovered people from Texas often call their grandmother “Mema”. It’s suppose to be a southern term of endearment, although I’ve never heard it used by non-Texans except in our house. And that explains that . . .
A while back, we had dinner at Olive Garden. I like Olive Garden, although it is a bit pricey for such a casual restaurant setting. One of the things that I really like about Olive Garden is that they are willing to “share” some of their recipes on their website. May as well – it draws people to their site rather than to a copy-cat site. Good for business.
Anyhow, I ordered their Chicken Marsala. It was the first time I can remember that I have been genuinely disappointed with a dish at Olive Garden. Maybe it’s just me and my concept of Chicken Marsala, but it seems to me that when eating Chicken Marsala, one should be able to taste the Marsala wine. Furthermore, the chicken should be absolutely smothered in earthy, succulent mushrooms. That’s just my opinion, for what it’s worth. The dish served up at Olive Garden lacked the distinct sweetness of Marsala Wine and was nearly void of earthy mushrooms.
Since I could not eat all the chicken served to me at Olive Garden, I brought home a doggie bag. I wanted to play around with their rendition of Chicken Marsala before developing a recipe of my own. I added more wine, more mushrooms and just plain more of everything. Wow – much improved – more in keeping with Chicken Marsala as it should be. Armed with their on-line recipe and the tweaking I had done, we now enjoy Chicken Marsala at home on a regular bases. It’s really yummy, good!
When you read the ingredients below, you’ll notice one ingredient that seems a little strange and out of place. I add a little of the brown gravy powdered mix to my sauce for two reasons – it acts as a thickening agent for the sauce and it give a nice flavor to the sauce. You can always skip it if you like.
Chicken Marsala Mema Style
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
3 Tablespoons Flour
1/2 Tablespoons Oregano
Salt to Taste
Pepper to Taste
4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup sliced Portobello or brown mushrooms
½ cup Marsala wine (more to taste)
¼ Cup Chicken Broth
1/2 Tablespoon Brown Gravy Mix (the powder stuff)
Place chicken between two pieces of plastic wrap. Pound with meat hammer until ¼ inch thick.
In a shallow dish combine flour, salt, pepper and oregano. Coat chicken pieces in flour mixture.
In a large skillet, melt butter in olive oil over medium heat. Place chicken in pan and lightly brown on both sides.
Add mushrooms. Pour in wine and chicken broth, cover and simmer chicken 10 minutes, turning once, until chicken is no longer pink and juices run clear.
Taste and adjust sauce as needed – if too sweet, add small amount of Chicken Broth, if not sweet enough, add small amount of Marsala Wine. Remove chicken from the pan and transfer to a rimmed serving platter. Tent and keep warm.
Add Brown Gravy Mix and continue to cook an additional 10 minutes to allow sauce to reduce and thicken. Return chicken to the pan, roll to coat with sauce.
Place chicken on a serving platter, spoon sauce over and around chicken. This dish is delicious served with Italian Roasted Potatoes. (Another recipe to share in the future – I promise!)