The term "Chicken Maryland" or "Maryland Chicken" refers to a historic dish associated with the U.S. state of Maryland, but has other meanings from other nations. In its home base, the food dish consists of fried chicken served with a cream gravy.
History and preparation
The primary factor which distinguishes Maryland fried chicken from other Southern fried chicken is that rather than cooking the chicken in several inches of oil or shortening, the chicken is pan-fried in a heavy (traditionally cast-iron) skillet and covered tightly after the initial browning so that the chicken steams as well as fries. Milk or cream is then added to the pan juices to create a white cream gravy, another Maryland characteristic.
Escoffier had a recipe for "Chicken à la Maryland" in his landmark cookbook Ma Cuisine, but there is no canonical version of the recipe. Often the chicken is marinated in a buttermilk marinade. Breading recipes vary in use of egg or buttermilk and the seasoning of the flour; the seasoning of the cream gravy also varies widely, although gravy is a signature aspect of the dish.
The dish known in the UK as Chicken Maryland, popular in the 1960s, consisted of fried chicken (often in breadcrumbs) served with sweetcorn fritters and fried bananas. It is likely that it was derived as an alternative for the American version of the dish.
In England, there is a small chain of stores known as Maryland Chicken, mostly found in Leicestershire. There is no connection between the store name and the traditional dish, however. Their menu consists of normal fried-chicken cuisine, similar to KFC.
Other reported versions include: a fried chicken leg with ham and hush puppies (a batter made with flour, egg, oil, and milk or water, to which corn is added, then deep-fried); batter-fried chicken with hush-puppies and batter-fried bananas and pineapple rings; and bread-crumbed and fried chicken wings & drumsticks with sautéed bananas. Apparently some Southeast-Asian variations exist, such as one with breaded chicken thighs, hush puppies, and gravy, served with deep-fried potato slices, baby carrots, fried tomato halves, and fried bananas. In Argentina and in some neighboring South American countries, Suprema de Pollo Maryland is a pounded thin breast of chicken, breaded and fried, served with creamed corn, peas, bacon (panceta), French fries and a fried banana.
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