What’s Chicken Maryland?

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Chicken Maryland is a regional version of fried chicken from mid-Atlantic coastal America, often served with a creamy gravy sauce and traditional sides like hush puppies and steamed corn. The dish is popular in the East Coast region of Maryland and can vary in preparation and ingredients.

Many people around the world are now familiar with a dish popularly attributed to mid-Atlantic coastal America known as Chicken Maryland. This regional version of fried chicken comes breaded, with a creamy gravy sauce. Often seen as “Chicken Maryland” or “Chicken a la Maryland,” this hearty chicken entree is a favorite with many fried food aficionados.

The way many chefs prepare this one-dish meal, the chicken is pan-fried and covered to seal over the heat, providing a moist and flavorful result. Along with this distinctive technique, the gravy, to which many cooks add a heavy cream, helps set chicken Maryland apart. Some recipes call for a buttermilk marinade or similar milk-based preparations.

Another thing that may feature chicken Maryland on some menus is a variety of sides that are traditionally associated with this dish. Some offerings will be accompanied by hush puppies. Hush puppies are basically fried dough balls that are very popular in Atlantic and Southeastern American cuisine. Other common sides for Maryland chicken include steamed corn, greens or, in some modern cases, macaroni and cheese.

The dish is popular along a rural area unique to the state of Maryland known as the East Coast. Many tourists from all over the world flock to this area to see the wild horses of the region and to enjoy the Atlantic beach areas of this region. The East Coast is a peninsula east of the main Chesapeake Bay area, cut off from the mainland but connected to the northern Mid-Atlantic states by a common land mass, and to southern Virginia by a thirteen-mile bridge tunnel called the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnels. Dishes like this may appear on Eastern Shore restaurant menus as part of the local flavor and culture in this popular vacation destination.

Homemade versions of Maryland chicken vary quite a bit. Some recipes use a richer method of combining quantities of rum or other spirits with a cream of mushroom soup from a can. Others involve more plant elements, classic seasonings like black peppercorns, and garnishes like pimentos. Often the focus is on the method of breading fried chicken in a cracker-egg mixture. Where this menu item is known, it is variously thought of as a version of a historic dish or a simple family recipe.

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