Chicken in Madeira Cream Sauce is a favourite spring recipe that has stood the test of time. Decades! With Madeira and whipping cream it feels like a special treat and I love the sparkling colours of asparagus with red and yellow bell peppers as I’m cooking.
What is Madeira
Madeira is a Portuguese fortified wine made on the Madeira Islands, off the coast of Africa. I’ve never been there but I read they have plenty of options for gluten free travellers.
If you’re keen to try this fortified wine my bottle says Blandy’s Madeira, Duke of Clarence from Funchal, Portugal. I can’t remember when I bought this bottle but I think it’s the only brand I’ve ever bought.
Madeira gives this dish a unique taste that I would say “tastes like Madeira.” A little research and the experts say it has a somewhat nutty flavour and is very acidic. The writing on the label says, “This is the richest style of Maderia, full bodied, rich and soft textured. It is a splendid after dinner drink.”
Now that I’ve done some research I think it’s worth serving a glass of Madeira with my next charcuterie board, and I know exactly who I’ll be tasting it with.
Madeira Cream Sauce won’t be the same without Madeira but if you’ve got a selection of bottles in your kitchen and you like to improvise go for it. Make this recipe using Marsala, dark sherry, port or red vermouth as a substitute and enjoy!
If you want to know more about the safety of alcohol this document is from the Canadian Celiac Association, Alcohol Labelling in Canada.
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It’s All In The First Bite
Even on TV cooking shows professional chefs are frequently criticized for not tasting their finished dish. I too am guilty of this and nowhere is it more apparent than in a dish with whipping cream. Sure, you can add salt and pepper at the table but that first bite should be deliciousness, not disappointing. Please taste your Madeira Cream Sauce and adjust the salt to your taste before serving.
Get The Tools
If you think a wok is only for Asian food you’re wrong. You can cook almost anything in a frying pan or a sauté pan but a wok is perfect for larger dishes. If you make this recipe in a frying pan you may have to cook in batches, which then extends the cooking time. In a wok you’ve got plenty of room to stir your vegetables as well as the finished dish.
I’d love to hear if you tried this dish, if you’ve been to Madeira or if you’re going out to buy it. Let me know in the comments below.
More Recipes – Cooking with Alcohol
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Chicken in Madeira Cream Sauce
- 1 red pepper, cut into large cubes
- 1 yellow pepper, cut into large cubes
- 12 oz asparagus, trimmed and cut diagonally into 2-inch pieces
- 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into large cubes (approximately 1 lb 10 oz)
- 2 Tbsp butter divided
- 2 Tbsp olive oil divided
- ½ cup Madeira (see notes for substitutes)
- ¾ tsp dried thyme
- ½ tsp dried rosemary
- 1 small tomato, diced
- 2 Tbsp lemon juice
- ¾ cup whipping cream
- salt and pepper to taste
- GARNISH – fresh, snipped chives
- Heat 1 Tbsp each of butter and oil on medium-high heat in wok or large sauté pan. Add peppers and stir-fry until crisp-tender, about 4 minutes. Use slotted spoon to transfer to a bowl.
- Add asparagus and stir-fry 5-8 minutes until crisp-tender. Transfer to a bowl with peppers.
- Heat remaining 1 Tbsp each of butter and oil on medium-high heat. Add chicken cubes and stir-fry just until cooked, about 8 minutes. Transfer to bowl with vegetables using a slotted spoon and leaving any juices in the wok.
- Add Madeira, thyme, rosemary and tomato to wok. Heat to boiling and cook until syrupy, 4-5 minutes.
- Add lemon juice and bring to a boil.
- Stir in cream and cook until thickened. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Return chicken and vegetables to the wok and coat with sauce, allowing chicken and vegetables to heat through.
- Transfer to a serving bowl and sprinkle with snipped chives.