A restaurant I used to visit somewhat often had a dish called “Chicken Baltimore” which was a boneless portion of chicken, with cheese baked on top, covered in a creamy sauce with mushrooms and crab meat. I spent an hour trying to search for a recipe online and came up completely empty handed. Before you say “what about this recipe here” let me stop you – Chicken Baltimore is not the same dish as:
- Chicken Chesapeake
- Chicken Maryland
- Baltimore Chicken
- Chesapeake Chicken (which is not the same as Chicken Chesapeake)
- Or any other remotely similar sounding dish I could find
I still wanted to make some at home, though. The chicken part seemed easy – just bake it and throw some cheese on at the end (I can’t remember if it was mozzarella or swiss; either would work). The hard part would be the sauce, which was slightly sweet and slightly tangy, while having a good seafood flavor (mostly from what was probably Old Bay). Searching for a sauce that sounded vaguely similar came up with this which is what I used as a starting point (although I doubled all the proportions).
I also didn’t have any crab meat, and I’m supposed to be avoiding shellfish for dietary reasons right now, so I thought flounder might make a good substitute. Hence why I’m not calling this Chicken Baltimore. In the end I came up with something that, in my mother’s opinion, has most of the right flavors.
Ingredients / Instructions
For the fish:
- One moderately sized filet of a white fish about 1/4 inch thick. I used flounder.
- Preheat the oven to 400F. Coat the fish in olive oil and season with Old Bay.
- Place the fish on a wire rack and bake for 12 minutes in the middle of the oven. Prepare the chicken while baking the fish; you can put the chicken in right after you take the fish out.
- Take out and let rest on a plate while preparing the rest of the meal.
For the base chicken:
- 2 pounds of boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into approx. 1/4 lb. chunks no more than 3/4 inch thick, preferably about 1/2 inch.
- Spread the chunks over a wire rack and season with Old Bay. Place the rack in the middle of the oven preheated to 400F.
- Bake for about 20-25 minutes, until the chicken is done through (might need to vary depending on thickness).
- Cover the chicken in sliced mozzarella or swiss cheese, and place back in the oven for 3-5 more minutes until it melts.
For the sauce:
- After putting the fish in the oven, melt 4 tablespoons of butter in a deep skillet or pan over medium heat.
- Add about 2 tablespoons of minced garlic (maybe less if it’s fresh), half a pound of sliced mushrooms, a tablespoon of coarse black pepper, and minced onions or onion powder to taste.
- Sauté the mushrooms for around 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until they start to shrink.
- Stir in about 2 tablespoons of flour, until a thin roux forms.
- Add about 8 ounces of white wine and a splash of lemon juice. Bring to a light boil. (This is about when the fish should be ready to take out.)
- Add 2 cups of heavy cream (you can use light cream or half and half, but might need to add a little more flour to thicken).
- Reduce heat to low and simmer for 20-25 minutes, about as long as the chicken takes to finish.
- While simmering, stir every 4-6 minutes. After about 10 minutes, start adding small amounts salt or Old Bay until it tastes right. You don’t want it to be very salty, just barely noticeable, since the chicken and fish will have a lot of salt from the Old Bay.
Pasta and vegetables:
- Timing depends on how long your stove takes to boil water. Mine’s pretty slow so I started the water before I even preheated the oven.
- You want your selected pasta to be done cooking a couple minutes after the chicken. I used linguine, but you can use just about anything.
- There are many vegetables that would go well with this, I chose broccoli because I had a steamer bag of it in the freezer. Again you want to time this so it finishes around the same time as everything else (in my case I stuck it in the microwave right after putting the cheese on the chicken).
Putting it all together:
- After putting the cheese on the chicken, the sauce should be about done. Cut the fish into small chunks (about 1/2 inch square) and gently mix into the sauce.
- The pasta should also be done around now, so drain that and return to the pot. Mix in a small amount of sauce so it won’t stick.
- Put a small portion of pasta on the plate and a portion or two of chicken on top of the pasta, then spoon sauce over both until covered. Garnish with a slice or wedge of lemon if you have it, and/or fresh parsley.
- Optionally top with grated or shredded parmesan, mozzarella, or similar cheeses.
- Add your vegetable on the side and serve.
Variations / Adjustments
- Lump crab meat is the obvious substitute that would get you something close to the original dish. Other white fishes like tilapia would also work.
- Tuna might also be something to try, but since it is generally firmer it might be better to add to the sauce while simmering. This would also add more prep time in advance.
- Different white wines and more or less of it, and possibly more or less lemon juice, depending on how sweet or tart you want the mixture. Maybe add a little sugar if the wine is particularly dry.
- I used swiss cheese to top the chicken, but I think most any white cheese would work (and I think the original used mozzarella).
- You could also ditch the chicken entirely and just make the sauce and put it over baked fish filets.
- Use rice instead of pasta.
- Add more mushrooms. I think half a pound is probably good for most people but I love mushrooms.
- If you can’t get or don’t have Old Bay, well what are you doing with your life, but also I guess you could use any seafood seasoning with celery seed in it. You could probably search for “old bay substitute” and find something, but I recommend the real thing.
- If you need to make a smaller amount, halving everything would work, but maybe keep the whole half pound of mushrooms in, and go with about 5-6 ounces of wine.