Marylands - duck ones

"a cut of chicken including part of the spine and the whole leg, as used for chicken Maryland. [from Maryland, U.S.A.]

Macquarie Dictionary, 2nd revised edition 1981"


Before I get into this post, first a huge apology to the other Rosemary who, ages ago, asked me for some recipes for duck marylands. I honestly hadn't forgotten but just got constantly diverted.


Then, as I was reading through my latest cookbook acquisition - Christine Manfield's Indian Cooking Class, I came across two very delicious looking recipes for duck marylands and so I was spurred into very late action.


The two recipes I found there - Indian of course - are: Yoghurt baked duck and Tomato duck curry

So perhaps not where you were expecting me to start - in India - but what it did do was make me ponder on how common - or not perhaps - duck maryland dishes - or duck legs as the world seems to want to describe them - are in the world.


But before I get on to what I found, a word about the name - marylands. Obviously it has something to do with Maryland in the USA, but why? Well there is a dish called Chicken Maryland, or Chicken à la Maryland as it is sometimes known. And of course, there are all sorts of iterations of this dish - two of which are shown below. The first from Wikipedia, and the second from The Spruce Eats.


According to Wikipedia:


"In its home base, the food dish consists of fried chicken served with a cream gravy. It is traditionally garnished with bananas, which were historically one of Baltimore’s leading imports."


with The Spruce Eats, further explaining the bananas thus:


"Although bananas might seem like an odd addition, this tropical fruit was considered a luxury and its expensive price made it a commodity not all households could afford. Thus, serving chicken with bananas on the side was a symbol of status."


Then in 1934 Escoffier weighed in:


"Escoffier’s version has the chicken pieces fried in clarified butter in a pan, not baked in an oven, and he serves them with “a béchamel sauce to which a little grated horseradish may be added or tomato sauce,” surrounded by sweet corn fritters, potato croquettes, bacon, and banana." The Old Foodie


Frankly not a dish I would be tempted by really. I don't like cooked bananas much and pouring gravy over crispy things is also not really my thing. But anyway It was interesting. Mind you it has no relationship to what we know as marylands here in Australia and none of the American or British dictionaries seem to recognise it at all. It's a purely Australian thing. But why, oh why are they called Marylands, since the American dish of Chicken Maryland seems not to be for a specific bit of the chicken? Nobody has the answer. Apparently it is only here in Australia that we call the leg and thigh together a Maryland, and I honestly don't think we have a particular dish called Chicken Maryland. It's a mystery. Moreover chicken Marylands are disappearing from the supermarket shelves.


But back to duck Marylands. Duck is a meat that is consumed all over the world, with France and China standing out as the main eaters of duck to me. But I don't claim to be an expert on this and indeed I have found recipes from elsewhere too. Duck is a very fatty bird and so you need to be careful how it is cooked. Mind you the days of very fatty birds are probably receding as the industry keeps up with customer needs. Ditto for the size of the actual ducks. I remember the first duck I cooked - possibly for our first Christmas together - there was barely enough meat on it for the two of us. There certainly weren't any leftovers for sandwiches the next day. Which I guess is why we can now buy bits of the bird as well as whole ones. And Marylands are bits - but different to breast, which often seems to end up sliced and succulent looking in some delectable fruity sauce, whilst Marylands tend to be crispy and glazed. But let's see what I found.


Considering we seem to be the only country in the world to call this particular bit of the duck a Maryland, let's start with Australia and the Women's Weekly who do Slow roasted duck Maryland a comparatively plain offering, but not boring - there are morello cherries in there for a start.


On to the French. If you visit the centre and south west of France you will be familiar with duck. It's everywhere, on every menu. If you buy a terrine in the hypermarket, you will find the majority are made with duck. And yet, I'm not sure I have ever seen vast flocks of ducks, so I fear they may well be raised in packed cages like chickens. Anyway - from French/Australian Guillaume Brahimi comes Duck leg confit with Brussels sprouts and speck - well you've got to have confit don't you? Also on every French restaurant menu. His fellow French/Australian Gabriel Gaté uses prunes - also very French - in his Cuisse de canard aux pruneaux and then there is Cassoulet à la maison from the British Galvin Brothers. Another classic duck dish although, of course there are also other meats in this dish which you wouldn't make unless you are cooking for a crowd. Then there's Braised duck leg, braised red cabbage, green peppercorn sauce, caramelised apples from British chef Andy Walters, but it has a distincly French feel about it. Of these four I think I'd go for the prunes.

The crispy, the glazed and the Chinese are represented here by non-Chinese cooks. I did check with some but their recipes were mostly for either the whole bird or for breasts. But it just demonstrates how the world - and Australia in particular - has been influenced by Chinese techniques and flavours - well Asian generally - in the last hundred years or so. My offerings are: Crispy spiced braised duck from Donna Hay; Orange and cardamom duck legs with rice pilau from Gourmet Traveller; a recipe called Glazed duck with star anise, ginger and orange in The Great Australian Cookbook from Mark Gleeson of the Adelaide Market. Alas there is no recipe online, but I include it in case you have the book. Twice cooked sticky duck from Barney Desmazery on the BBC Good Food website; Nigel Slater's Japanese offering Duck with udon; Chinese style braised duck legs with crispy potatoes from delicious.; and Crispy duck with rye pancakes from Yotam Ottolenghi who is, of course, Middle-Eastern but is here channelling Peking Duck.

And those all look pretty good.

The Middle-East does do duck I know but honestly I could not find much. I knew of the Persian dish Fesanjan, but most of those recipes seem to involve a whole duck - pomegranates and walnut are the thing here. However, I did find on the SBS website Duck with pomegranate from Somer Sivrioglu, which sounds a bit Romanian to me. It has the pomegranate but not the walnuts. But it does look pretty good.


I don't think the Italians are really into duck, and the Germans and East Europeans would probably serve it with sauerkraut somehow.


Finally an outlier from British chef Thomasina Miers, to whom I am warming a great deal from her recipes in The Guardian. This one has a Mexican twist - Duck legs with silky rich Veracruzan sauce. So maybe the Latin Americans do duck too. What about the Africans I wonder?


So Rosemary I hope there is something to tempt and satisfy there. I did consult my old faithfuls from the past, but back then you had to buy a whole duck and so their recipes were for the whole bird. I think I might be starting with Christine Manfield's Yoghurt baked chicken.


I really still can't come to grips with why we call the drumstick and the thigh a Maryland though. And with a capital M or a lower case m? I think I have used both somewhat indiscriminately.


POSTSCRIPT

Just one of those little coincidence things. In the latest edition of the Coles Magazine is this dish - Coronation chicken salad. What are the odds that such a retro dish should turn up just after I have been talking about it on my blog. This version is a quick fix that uses a supermarket roast chicken, but it's updated a bit, in that the sauce is made from yoghurt and curry powder and there is mango, capsicum and avocado in the salad mix - all three rather more modern than the original dried apricots. Rather healthier too. So times change. Interesting. Coronation chicken is obviously becoming a thing again.

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