Chicken marylands: such an under-utilised cut of chicken! Cheap, juicy, flavourful, hard to stuff up. It’s like roast chicken, without the mess of carving. Slather in herb & garlic butter, bake until golden, then serve with potato gratin or creamy mash with garlic sautéed green beans for the perfect meal!
Chicken marylands (aka chicken leg quarters)
Chicken maryland is a massively underrated economical cut of chicken. I tell people it’s like roasting up a whole chicken – without dealing with the mess of bones and juices from carving up a whole chicken! A substantial piece of meat with plenty of golden skin, juicier* than drumsticks and thighs, and super flavourful.
It’s nearly impossible to mess up since you don’t have to worry about precise roasting time to prevent dry, bland breast. Because this cut doesn’t include chicken breast! Why aren’t we cooking chicken marylands all the time??!!
* Why it’s juicier – because it’s a larger single piece of bone-in meat. Which means less juice-escaping-crevices by meat weight = juicier meat.
What is a chicken maryland – to you?
As it turns out, chicken marylands means different things in different countries. Here in Australia, it refers to a cut which is a chicken leg with the thigh attached, pictured below. It’s called whole chicken leg quarters in the States and just chicken legs in the UK. I know it’s confusing, but at least the cut is easily identifiable!
In the States, “Chicken Maryland” or “Maryland Chicken” refers to a dish originating from the state of Maryland comprised of fried chicken with creamy gravy. This immediately got added to my ever-growing List of Things To Make.
In the UK, “Chicken Maryland” refers to a retro Chinese fried chicken dish served with a banana fritter, corn fritter and bacon.
This did not get added to my List of Things To Make! 😂
PS I put this little table together just to clear up the confusion in my head. Though it might be useful to you too. 🙂
|Chicken cut names||Australia||US||UK|
|Chicken maryland |
(leg + thigh attached – today’s recipe)
|Chicken maryland||Chicken leg quarters||Chicken legs|
|Chicken drumsticks |
(ie no thigh attached)
|Chicken leg or drumsticks||Chicken leg or drumsticks||Chicken drumsticks|
Ingredients you need
Today, we’re roasting this chicken slathered in a herb and garlic butter. Here’s what you need for the butter – see above for the photo and talk about the chicken marylands!
Herb & garlic butter
Thyme and rosemary – Fresh is best, for maximum flavour impact. However, dried will work as a substitute.
Garlic – Fresh and only fresh! Jarred stuff just doesn’t compare – it’s sour and doesn’t have real garlic flavour.
Unsalted butter – I prefer using unsalted so I can control the amount of salt. However, if you only have salted it will work too, just halve the salt.
White wine – Serves a triple purpose: keeps the underside of the chicken moist as it roasts, infuses flavour into the flesh, and makes the juices in the roasting pan so tasty it’s like liquid gold. All that flavour from the herb & garlic butter mingling with the chicken juices plus the white wine = sauce perfection!
Substitute with chicken stock/broth, low sodium or just a splash of water (you’ll end up with less sauce but don’t worry, there’s plenty of flavour in the chicken itself!).
How to make Herb & Garlic Butter Chicken Marylands
This recipe calls for the herb & garlic butter to be slathered under the skin. Don’t worry, it’s not hard – access is easy with this cut of chicken! Also, while I’ve used marylands here, this recipe would be terrific made with bone-in thighs (use 8).
Mix softened butter with garlic, herbs and salt. Use a garlic press or microplane to finely grate the garlic and make it “juicy” so it mixes through the butter, for better garlic flavour. (If you don’t have one, very finely chop it).
Loosen the skin using a tablespoon. The spoon hugs the curves of the chicken flesh so it won’t pierce the skin. Access the skin from the straight edge of the thigh, as pictured above, and move the spoon around to create butter pockets (including on the drumstick).
Slather butter under the skin. It’s easy, I promise – lift skin, stuff butter under then spread by pressing/pushing on the skin. No need to be exact here, the butter melts and runs everywhere anyway. Even if you spread a wad in the middle that’ll do the trick.
How much butter where – Put about 75% of the butter under the skin. Then only a small amount (~5% ) on the flesh (underside), then the remainder on the skin. Why? Because the flesh side is going to get tons of flavour from roasting in the wine and the butter/chicken juices run-off. It doesn’t need extra butter help!
Roast for 50 minutes – Put the chicken in a baking dish skin side up. Pour the wine around then roast for 50 minutes.
Start off high at 220°C/425°F (200°C fan) for 10 minutes to get the skin browning, then on a slightly lower 200°C /400°F (180°C fan) for 40 minutes or until the skin is golden and the chicken is cooked.
Baste twice at the 30 minute and 40 minute mark (ie spoon pan juices over the chicken skin).
Rest for 5 minutes before serving, using the juices in the roasting pan as the sauce. That stuff is pure gold!!
Close up of said golden roasting juices:
What to serve on the side
I served this with roasted vegetables and a rocket/arugula tossed with my Everyday Dressing. If I was making for company, I would opt for a potato gratin (make it in advance then reheat it while the chicken is roasting – allow an extra 10 minutes for the chicken roasting time) or Lemon Potato Salad (served warm) for something a little fresher.
I can also see a pile of Sautéed Green Beans with Garlic with Creamy Buttery Mashed Potato on the side. Or for a simple option, just steam vegetables of choice (peas, carrots, broccoli) then toss with French Dressing and serve with a hunk of bread on the side (for plate mopping).
Love to know what you’d serve this with for company. I’m having a dinner party this weekend – I was going to do a Mexican Fiesta but I’m expecting some not-so-subtle requests for today’s dish instead! – Nagi x
Watch how to make it
Herb & Garlic Butter Chicken Marylands (chicken leg quarters)
- 4 pieces (~1.5 kg/3 lb) chicken marylands (US: leg quarters) or 8 bone-in, skin-on thighs (Note 1)
- 1/2 tsp cooking/kosher salt
- 1/3 cup chardonnay or other dry white wine (sub low-sodium chicken stock/broth)
Herb & garlic butter:
- 100g/7 tbsp unsalted butter , softened
- 4 garlic cloves , minced using a garlic press (Note 2)
- 2 tsp fresh rosemary leaves , finely chopped (Note 3 for dried)
- 2 tsp thyme leaves , finely chopped (Note 3 for dried)
- 3/4 tsp cooking/kosher salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- Preheat oven to 220°C/425°F (200°C fan).
- Mix Herb & Garlic Butter ingredients until combined.
- Butter chicken – Use an upside down tablespoon to loosen the chicken skin from the flesh on the thigh and most of the leg (Note 4). Smear 80% of the butter under the skin, just a small amount (~5%) on the underside (flesh side) then the remainder on top of the skin. (The flesh side gets lots of flavour from the pan juices).
- Put chicken in roasting pan, skin side up. Sprinkle skin with the 1/2 tsp salt. Pour wine around chicken.
- Roast 50 minutes – Roast 10 minutes to get the skin going. Then reduce the heat to 200°C /400°F (180°C fan) and roast for a further 40 minutes, basting every 10 minutes from the 20 minute mark onwards.
- Rest & serve – Remove from oven. Rest 10 minutes then serve with the garlic-herb-butter pan juices as the sauce!
Life of Dozer
Passed out from exhaustion after snuffling around unsuccessfully in someone’s backpack for treats. (Or….perhaps not unsuccessful!)