Braised Cranberry Chicken Marsala

Braised Cranberry Chicken Marsala

I came up with this recipe after I did my preliminary Thanksgiving shopping.  I have a whole bottle of Marsala, which I use for Ina’s Sausage Stuffed Mushrooms.  The recipe only uses a portion of it.  I also bought cranberries last week, not for Thanksgiving, but because remember in my Pretty Things for October?  I’ve been eyeing these sugared cranberries, and I’m going to try them this week.  They’re just so pretty.  I had rosemary already from the White Chocolate Rosemary Cookie Bars.  And of course I always have chicken thighs.  This is just one of those things that, by knowing complementary flavors and trusted cooking methods, you can create your own recipe.  It’s fresh, it’s seasonal, it’s original! 

I know some people have an aversion to chicken on the bone.  I used to pretty much only buy boneless, skinless breasts.  But in reality, they have the least amount of flavor, they’re more expensive, they don’t lend themselves to many cooking methods, and frankly, they’re a little boring.  I do use breasts for a lot of soups and casseroles, but not for dishes where you’re eating a whole piece of chicken.  If you’re eating a standard piece of chicken, a thigh tastes much better. 

cropped-cranberries.jpgOne thing I’ve learned from blogging and cooking for a family is how to manage my time.  As I write this, Beau is napping on a Saturday afternoon, the kids are milling around, and JD is working (though he usually doesn’t work on Saturdays).  I keep a running menu of our upcoming dinners; I’ve been doing this for about 8 or 9 months now.  It really helps.  I know what meats I need to have defrosted ahead of time, and it keeps me from overwhelming myself.  I generally make a true dinner 4 nights a week.  Fridays are pizza, one night a week is leftovers, and one night a week is breakfast (usually scrambled eggs or an egg pie).  One night is generally meatless. (We normally don’t have cake on Monday, but this Monday is Reagan’s birthday.)

this board helps me stay organized

So anyway, back to today.  It’s Saturday.  I decided to go ahead and prep the pumpkin sage baked pasta.  It makes a big mess and takes quite a while to assemble.  But the great thing about it (and what I love about casseroles and lasagna) is that you can make the whole thing a day or 2 in advance.  So tomorrow night, there will be no mess!  I love that. 

After I got Sunday’s dinner done, I moved on to tonight.  About an hour before we eat, I’ll roast some Brussels sprouts and potatoes to go with the chicken. 





Total Time:  3 hours

Serves:  6-8

Difficulty Level:  Intermediate



9 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs

Salt and pepper

Olive oil cooking spray

2 tablespoons of butter

1 onion, medium diced

5 cloves of garlic, minced

3 tablespoons of freshly chopped rosemary

4 tablespoons of flour

1 ¼ cup Marsala wine

4 cups chicken broth or stock

1 cup whole milk

1 2/3 cup fresh cranberries


  1. Season the skin side of the chicken thighs. Spray the inside of a large Dutch oven with olive oil cooking spray.  Over medium high heat, brown the skin side of the chicken thighs in batches (probably 2 batches).  Do not overcrowd the pan.  Set the chicken aside.
  2. Bring the heat down to medium. Add the butter to the pan.  Once it’s melted, add the chopped onions.  Sauté until translucent.   Add the garlic and rosemary and sauté for another 2 minutes, being careful not to burn the garlic.
  3. Add the flour and whisk for about 4 minutes until broken up and it’s thick.
  4. Add the Marsala and chicken stock. Stir while scraping any chicken bits from the bottom of the pan.
  5. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
  6. Add the milk to a large measuring cup (at least a 2 cup measuring cup). Using a small ladle, add one ladle of the hot sauce to the milk at a time until you have an equal amount of milk and sauce.
  7. Add the milk mixture back to the pot. Add the chicken and cranberries to the pot.
  8. Cover, and cook at 325 degrees for 2 ½ hours.
  9. Serve hot with roasted potatoes.

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