Turkey Cutlets with Marsala

Two turkey cutlets with Marsala sauce in a skillet on a wooden table.

A classic, both in Elizabeth David’s day as well as today, turkey marsala isn’t at all outdated, just overlooked. It just tends to be overlooked, despite a satiating richness that belies its simplicity. It takes just 15 minutes to pull together and can easily be committed to memory—nifty traits that, let’s face it, ought never go out of style. As if that weren’t sufficient to woo you, the flavors are amenable to any season. During cooler times of year, consider a side of rice or barley. Or maybe mushrooms sautéed in butter with fresh herbs. Come spring, boiled new potatoes and some chicories or spring greens tossed with olive oil and lemon seems more than sufficient.–Renee Schettler Rossi

LC Exact Amounts [Warning! Spoiler Alert!] Note

You’ll find two approaches to this same recipe below. The one that appears at the end of this note is written rather loosely, in essay form, as Elizabeth David would want. Her wording is as spare as the ingredient list, mindful of not boring the home cook with the drudgery of specific temperatures or timing. We find it charming, albeit not altogether practical for those who prefer unerring precision. So we rewrote the recipe a second way, which you’ll probably find to be more familiar, that  includes those essential details. Choose whichever version you please. Her original comes first, so as not to spoil things for those who like to engage their sense. Whichever you choose, we encourage you to follow not just the words, but your instincts.

Start with 4 to 6 turkey cutlets or cut 2 boneless turkey breast halves (about 1 1/4 pounds each) crosswise into 6 to 8 thick cutlets. Flatten them out a little on a wooden board, season them with salt and pepper, and dust them very lightly with flour. Melt a generous amount of butter in a frying pan (if they are all to be done at once you will probably need to keep two pans going at the same time) over medium to medium-high heat. Cook the fillets on both sides, gently, for the butter must not blacken or burn. When they are nearly done, which is to say, after about 2 minutes a side, pour over them first about 1/4 cup of Marsala, and after it has bubbled and amalgamated with the butter, pour over the same quantity of chicken or turkey stock. Cook in the open pan for another 2 or 3 minutes.

Turkey Cutlets with Marsala

  • Quick Glance
  • (2)
  • 10 M
  • 15 M
  • Serves 4 to 8
5/5 - 2 reviews
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Ingredients


Directions

Flatten the cutlets or the turkey breast halves a little on a wooden board by placing them between sheets of parchment paper or plastic wrap and bashing them with a rolling pin or the bottom of a heavy skillet. Season the turkey on both sides with salt and pepper and dust them very lightly with the flour.

Melt the butter in a frying pan over medium-high heat. (If the cutlets are all to be done at once, you will probably need to keep two pans going at the same time, dividing the ingredients between them. Otherwise, work in batches, wiping out the pan and using additional butter for the second batch.) Tilt the pan to coat the bottom of the skillet with butter. Reduce the heat to medium, add the turkey, and cook until golden, about 2 minutes per side, being mindful of the temperature so that the butter does not blacken or burn.

When the turkey is nearly done, pour the Marsala over the top. After it has bubbled and melded with the butter for a few seconds, pour over the chicken stock or broth. Cook for another 2 or 3 minutes while the liquid reduces slightly. Transfer the turkey to plates and spoon the sauce over the top.

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Recipe Testers' Reviews

I don’t know if I’ve ever before had such an easy, super-fast, moist, and flavorful turkey dish. I never make chicken or turkey marsala because my husband doesn’t usually like it—but he loved this one. The key is in the cooking time. I added a little bit of olive oil to my butter to keep it from burning, then I set my kitchen timer for 6 minutes. After 1 minute and 45 seconds in the pan, I turned the cutlets. I waited 1 minute and 30 seconds more, then added the wine. I added the broth about 15 seconds later. I let them cook for about another 2 minutes before transferring the cutlets to each plate—just before the 6-minute timer went off. I wasn’t expecting my family to love this, so I’d made twice baked potatoes and green beans with almonds, as well. The only leftovers from the meal were the sides. This is a great easy recipe for any level of cook.

Wow—this one was a surprise. It was easy and fast to make. A perfect meal for a weeknight dinner. Even better, you can start ahead of time by adding the salt, pepper and the flour earlier. We all loved the sweet taste, the extremely moist turkey, and the almost-creamy sauce. I used practically a whole stick of butter and, after adding the marsala and stock, let it stand in medium-low heat for about 7 minutes. I believe adding capers next time would blend beautifully with the rest of the flavors.

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Comments

  1. Found your recipe when looking for something interesting to do with turkey cutlets. Unfortunately I didn’t have marsala or chicken broth…

    I improvised with a sweet dessert wine (malvasia) to which I added a little blood orange juice, fig syrup, Tabasco and black pepper.

    Luckily I had some packets of turkey broth concentrate (Savory choice brand) so I was happy about that.

    One other difference, however: I decided to cook the cutlets and set them aside so I could do the sauce on its own and see how much there’d be (I knew there’d be leftovers so I needed to make more for the next night). Kept the cutlets warm, and ladled the sauce over, at serving time.

    For a side, I made Brussels sprouts with bacon and craisins (just realized I forgot the balsamic vinegar!).

    Anyway, it all came together nicely and I was very pleased.

    Thank you for the inspiration!

    1. Love the McGyvering, Valerie! And I can see imagine the fig syrup with the Tabasco. Brilliant improvising. Am so pleased that this recipe provided you with a foundation to create something of your own!

  2. I was looking here for a recipe for chicken Marsala, and found this. It looks like a very quick & easy recipe, but I had time on my hands, and plenty of ingredients around, so I embellished! I had boneless breast of chicken (no turkey) in the fridge. Since the recipe was a little loose, I used it as my base and changed it up a bit. I started out with the butter in the pan, but I like a mixture of both butter and some olive oil, so that’s what I used. I sautéed a chopped shallot in the butter/olive oil. Then pounded out 4 chicken breasts, dipped them into the flour with some salt and pepper, and then browned them on both sides, in the same pan. Next, I removed the chicken to a plate and then sautéed about a cup and a half of sliced mushrooms. To that, I tossed in a handful of rinsed capers (my husband loves capers!). I needed to add more butter & olive oil, and added some of that leftover flour to the pan sauces to thicken it up a bit. I had some homemade chicken broth, adding in until I got the desired consistency. Finally, stirred in about 3/4 cup of Marsala wine, then added the chicken back into the sauce to warm it all up. I served this with some hot noodles and steamed yellow squash.
    It was delicious! I had been sick and had not cooked for several days, but now I was feeling better & craving a good normal meal, and was happy to be able to stand at the stove, which is why I added more, rather than less to this recipe.

    Judging from the other reviews, it looks like the recipe as is with the turkey comes out tender and moist in no time at all. We don’t always have a lot of time to cook! This is a great recipe to follow as is, or add in, and to me, that’s what cooking is all about.

    Turkey Marsala with mushrooms and parsley on top over noodles with sliced cucumber on the side

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