Chicken Maryland

Always willing to sample the essential flavours of the places he visits, James Bond happily consumes a plate of fried chicken Maryland at New York’s Ma Frazier’s in Live and Let Die (1954). Well, it is the national dish, according to Felix Leiter.

For many years, I pictured James Bond picking up pieces of breadcrumbed chicken, Kentucky Fried Chicken-style. In fact, according to cookbooks contemporary with, or earlier than, Bond’s American adventure, the chicken pieces in the dish weren’t originally coated in breadcrumbs but flour only and were accompanied by a cream sauce. Naturally, then, I’ve looked to those older cookbooks for inspiration for my recipe, in this case The American Cook Book, published in 1901.

Serves 3–4

  • 1 chicken, cut into eight pieces (two legs, two thighs and two portions per breast)
  • Plain flour, seasoned
  • 250ml double cream
  • 1 tbsp parsley, coarsely chopped
  • 1 tbsp marjoram, finely chopped
  • Salt and black pepper
  • Vegetable oil for frying

Heat the oil in a deep, frying pan or wide saucepan, using enough oil to generously cover the base of the pan. Coat the chicken pieces in flour, shaking off any excess. Lay the pieces in the pan (skin-side down initially) and fry over a fairly gentle heat for approximately 25 minutes, turning occasionally, until cooked and golden brown. (If the juices run pink when the meat is pricked, continue cooking until the juices are clear.)

Take the pan off the heat. Transfer the chicken pieces to a serving dish with absorbent paper on the base and keep warm. Remove all but a tablespoon of the juices in the pan. Pour in the cream, stir, then return the pan to the heat. Add the parsley and marjoram and a good pinch of salt and pepper. Heat the sauce through, then pour into a jug.

Serve the chicken with bacon and sweetcorn and a generous helping of the sauce.

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