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Thread: Marsala Wine - dry vs. sweet

  1. #1

    Question Marsala Wine - dry vs. sweet

    I'm trying out a new chicken marsala recipe and went to the store to purchase marsala wine. TJ's had both sweet and dry marsala. I wasn't sure which to pick, and ended up grabbing sweet. Does anyone have experience with using one vs the other?

    Oh, and while we're on the topic of marsala...since the recipe only calls for 1/2 c. of marsala wine, any suggestions on other uses/recipes? Thanks!
    Last edited by sharsd; 03-03-2008 at 03:08 PM.

  2. #2
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    Typically you would use dry in that recipe but I've used sweet instead and thought it was just fine.
    Happiness is not a goal, it is a byproduct. - Eleanor Roosevelt

  3. #3
    I don't like dry wine, so I use the sweet in any recipe that calls for marsala.

    Viva e lascia vivere - - - Live and Let Live

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Debralynn View Post
    I don't like dry wine, so I use the sweet in any recipe that calls for marsala.
    We're the opposite...in fact, my husband and I won't order Chicken Marsala out unless we're told that the Marsala is dry! We once asked a server, he didn't know, he came back from the kitchen and said "The chef says there's only one kind....." We didn't order it there either!

    Any time I've ever had Chicken Marsala made with sweet wine the sauce tasted like pancake syrup!

    This is our favorite Marsala recipe. I've made this with pork and chicken, and I always sub Evaporated Milk for the heavy cream.

    Pork Tenderloin with Dijon Marsala Sauce

    2 pork tenderloins
    4 tablespoons Dijon mustard
    1 tablespoon oil
    2 tablespoons butter
    2 shallots, minced
    1 cup Marsala wine
    1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
    1 cup heavy cream

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat pork tenderloins generously with mustard. Oil a 9x13 inch baking dish.

    Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Arrange tenderloins in pan, and brown the meat. Turn to brown evenly. Transfer meat to prepared baking dish.

    Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes. Turn, and continue cooking for 20 minutes, or until desired doneness.

    Meanwhile, melt butter over medium heat in the same pan used to cook the pork. Cook shallots in butter until soft. Stir in Marsala, mustard, and cream, and cook until volume of liquid is reduced by half.

    Slice pork, and place on a serving dish. Spoon sauce over meat, and serve.
    ~ "The right shoe can change your life...."- Cinderella ~

  5. #5
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    zabiglione, of course! a search will bring up umpteen recipes, but they're pretty much all the same.

  6. #6
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    I've always wondered how replacable Marsala is with other red wines. Though Marsala is more a port, and not a straight-forward red I guess. For example, in chicken marsala, would a Merlot do the trick? I was reading a recipe to this effect last week in the Post and I've always been curious.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...T2008022601533

  7. #7
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    This is a great recipe using marsala. The sauce is good on the pasta but would be fantastic on chicken as well.

    Thimbles with Mushrooms and Artichokes
    Recipe courtesy Giada De Laurentiis

    3 tablespoons olive oil
    1 small onion, finely chopped
    1 pound mushrooms, trimmed, cleaned and finely chopped
    1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus 3/4 teaspoon
    1 cup dry Marsala wine
    1 pound thimble pasta (ditalini) or other small pasta such as elbow
    1/2 pound frozen artichoke hearts, thawed
    3/4 cup grated Parmesan
    1/2 cup cream
    1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
    1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

    Place the olive oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook for 1 minute. Add the mushrooms and 1 teaspoon of the salt. Saute, stirring occasionally, until all the moisture has evaporated and the mushrooms have cooked down, about 10 minutes. Add the Marsala and continue cooking until almost all the wine has evaporated, about 5 minutes.
    Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Stir in remaining salt. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain pasta and add it into the mushrooms, Marsala and onions Add the artichoke hearts, Parmesan and cream and cook until the artichokes are heated through, about 5 minutes. Stir in the parsley and pepper. Transfer to a serving bowl and serve.
    'Behold the rain which descends from heaven upon our vineyards; there it enters the roots of the vines, to be changed into wine; a constant proof that God loves us, and loves to see us happy' - Ben Franklin

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    Love the 'choke heart representation.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by greatcook View Post
    I've always wondered how replacable Marsala is with other red wines. Though Marsala is more a port, and not a straight-forward red I guess. For example, in chicken marsala, would a Merlot do the trick? I was reading a recipe to this effect last week in the Post and I've always been curious.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...T2008022601533
    I definitely wouldn't do it. Totally different flavors.
    Happiness is not a goal, it is a byproduct. - Eleanor Roosevelt

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by greatcook View Post
    I've always wondered how replacable Marsala is with other red wines. Though Marsala is more a port, and not a straight-forward red I guess. For example, in chicken marsala, would a Merlot do the trick? I was reading a recipe to this effect last week in the Post and I've always been curious.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...T2008022601533
    I've tried making chicken marsala with red wine years ago (I can't remember which one) and it was a disaster. My husband and I joke that it was the one and only dish I've ever messed up big time....making chicken marsala with actual marsala last night was a way to redeem myself. I'm pretty sure I didn't use merlot, so maybe its worth a try in the future. It is kind of a pain to buy a whole bottle of marsala wine, though the suggestions in this thread sound delicious. The bottle I bought had three recipes, one of which was chicken marsala calling for sweet marsala. Sea bass marsala calls for dry. So, I suppose I wasn't way off base.

    The Washington Post article you sent is great. It reminds me of how I learned to cook from my mom.

  11. #11
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    I've never made chicken marsala, but downloaded a recipe last week. While I was out running errands, I picked up a bottle of sweet marsala, which is what the recipe I have called for. The store I went into had about 4 different brands. I had only heard of 1 brand, Paul Masson. The others were Sheffield and I can't remember the other 2. What brand do y'all usually use? The guy at the store was as clueless as me about it.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ann1965 View Post
    I've never made chicken marsala, but downloaded a recipe last week. While I was out running errands, I picked up a bottle of sweet marsala, which is what the recipe I have called for. The store I went into had about 4 different brands. I had only heard of 1 brand, Paul Masson. The others were Sheffield and I can't remember the other 2. What brand do y'all usually use? The guy at the store was as clueless as me about it.
    We use Colombo, dry. Our grocery store sells it in sweet as well.
    “the greatest risk of eating is getting run over on the way to buy your food, not from the food itself.”

    Ian Shaw, Is It Safe To Eat?

  13. #13
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    I purchased the Sheffield one, just for sentimental reason (My parents live in a Sheffield, not the one associated with the Marsala, but a Sheffield none the less) LOL
    'Behold the rain which descends from heaven upon our vineyards; there it enters the roots of the vines, to be changed into wine; a constant proof that God loves us, and loves to see us happy' - Ben Franklin

  14. #14
    I used Colombo as well. It was the only brand offered & it was my first marsala purchase so I can't offer a comparison!

  15. #15
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    I currently have Sheffield (both sweet and dry). It's probably what they had at TJ's the day I was shopping. Very strategic choice.
    Happiness is not a goal, it is a byproduct. - Eleanor Roosevelt

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by sharsd View Post

    Oh, and while we're on the topic of marsala...since the recipe only calls for 1/2 c. of marsala wine, any suggestions on other uses/recipes? Thanks!
    Tiramisu. Not low fat, but so wonderful.

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