There are two ingredients at work in this dish, the dried porcini mushrooms and the Marsala wine, that invest the chicken with complex flavors and aromas of exceptional depth and earthiness.
In dried porcini we have not just a conveniently packaged alternative to the fresh mushroom, but an inimitable ingredient with its own separate repertory of applications. You are no longer using it as a mushroom, but as the aromatic forest essence of that mushroom. The difference between fresh and dried porcini may be compared to the difference between a bouquet of fresh flowers and the potent concentrate of their fragrance in a vial of perfume.
Marsala too is a product of a special process through which certain properties of the wine are concentrated and altered by aging and blending. Vanilla, spice, smoke, and caramel are some of the scents it can manifest. There are many classifications for Marsala, depending on the specific production method that was used. For all cooking purposes, look for the word secco, which means dry, although it is still slightly sweet. It will be even better if you find the additional qualifying words superiore and ambra.
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