Traditional Maryland Fried Chicken, Cream Gravy

While the exact origin of Maryland Fried Chicken isn’t known for certain, a dish by this name did show up on the menu of New York’s Grand Union Hotel as early as 1878..

Traditional Maryland Fried Chicken
Traditional Maryland Fried Chicken

Serves 2-4 depending on appetite and accompaniments

1 whole pastured frying chicken, cut up
3 cups fresh whole milk plus the juice of 1 fresh lemon

2 cups sprouted wheat flour
1 tablespoon freshly-ground pepper
1 tablespoon sea salt
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon each dried thyme, oregano and basil

4 oz ghee or clarified, pastured butter
1/2 small white onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced

1 cup fresh cream
1 cup chicken stock

fresh parsley, chopped

Wash chicken and place in a non-reactive bowl.  Pour in enough milk to cover then refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight.

Combine flour, pepper, salt, paprika and dried herbs in a bowl.  Lift a piece of chicken with one hand, let the milk run off, then place into the flour mixture.  Use the other hand to coat the chicken and place onto a plate.  Repeat until all the chicken has been lightly but thoroughly dredged.

Heat the butter in a high-walled iron skillet over medium heat to about 325-330 degrees (this is why you need a fat such as clarified butter with a high smoke-point), then carefully place the chicken in the pan, working in batches if necessary.  Don’t crowd the pan too much.  Turning as little as possible, cook until well browned on all sides.  Transfer chicken to a heat-proof dish and finish in a 275 degree oven while you make the gravy (assuming another 15 minutes or so).

Add the onion and garlic to the pan that the chicken was cooked in and fry until golden.  Scrape up the brown bits with the side of a wooden spoon, then whisk in enough of the remaining seasoned flour to form a thick paste (roux).  Stirring continuously, cook until the flour is no longer raw, about 5 minutes.  Remove from heat.

Meanwhile, heat cream and chicken stock just to the boiling point.  Whisk in roux and cook until gravy has thickened.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

The chicken may be served with the gravy over the top or on the side, as you prefer.

This post is part of The Nourishing Gourmet’s Pennywise Thursday

15 thoughts on “Traditional Maryland Fried Chicken, Cream Gravy

  1. WOW! That looks amazing. I am so doing this for my husband. He used to love KFC (I know!), and recently ate some (I know!). I asked him how it was, and he said “It’s ok”, with a very disappointed tone to his voice. :) I love fried chicken too, but have never been very good at cooking it.

    I received 12 pastured chickens from my Amish farm today… one of them is becoming fried chicken! Thanks Ren.

      1. I don’t fry chicken at home anymore since a Popeye’s is not quite a mile from my house. Since they did it better than me without the mess, why bother? And yes, there’s something about Popeye’s that I can’t resist every other month. This recipe may have me frying chicken again in my well seasoned, but neglected 12 inch cast iron skillet.

        Thanks Ren!

  2. Yum! Joe loves fried chicken but like Jen I’m not very good at making it. I’ve tried a couple of times and it turns out ‘okay’ but nothing special. I never can figure out how much to cook it. It either comes out like chicken jerky or raw at the bone. You have any tips for that?

    1. Its a matter of temperature over time. The goal is to have the chicken to reach an internal temperature of about 160 degrees without burning the outside, or holding it above 160 so long that it gets dry and/or tough. In the case of cut-up chicken, this generally takes from 25-35 minutes, depending on the size of the chicken and the cooking medium/temperature.

      In the particular case of Maryland Fried Chicken, keep the butter to no more than about 335 degrees. After cooking until well browned (around 10 minutes per side, 20 minutes total), the chicken should be at around 145-150 degrees. Another 10-15 minutes in a 250 degree oven should put it close to the optimal 160 degrees.

      It gets to be second nature over the years, but you can get a jump on that by using a $10 instant-read thermometer ;-)

  3. This is a delicious, foolproof recipe! I made this last night for dinner and it came out so well. Both the hubby and I were extremely impressed. And it was my first time EVER making fried chicken. I even thought that I’d burned the gravy (so many blackened bits in the pan) but the final result was beyond delicious. Thanks for the careful explanation!! I made it with your purple mashed potatoes and some green beans with bacon. Fabulous.

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