This recipe goes back to my childhood and I had to actually do a bit of research to determine where this really originated. It was in my mother’s recipe book, handwritten with a vague listing of ingredient portions and brief notes on preparation. City Chicken…. didn’t sound like a Sicilian dish to me. I was familiar with Spiedini which were skewers of meat or fish she grilled or broiled, similar to shish kabobs.
City Chicken, as I’ve come to learn, came about in the 1930’s when chicken was expensive and hard to come by unless you lived on a farm. Grocery stores packaged up cubes of pork and veal along with the skewers, labeling them City Chicken. Hard to believe that chicken was more expensive than pork or veal during the Depression years, but so they say! And, I further learned that this was specific to the Ohio, Pennsylvania area, so no wonder I’ve never seen packaged City Chicken in my Florida stores! I’ll have to check with my Ohio friends and family to see if they still carry this.
What I do remember of this dish, without having to do any research, is that the meat was so tender, moist from the simmering broth it baked in and flavorful from the mix of pork and veal. It was comfort food, simple and easy.
½ lb. pork, cubed (I used a pork tenderloin)
½ lb. veal, cubed
1 cup bread crumbs, lightly seasoned with kosher salt and pepper
2 eggs beaten
1 – 2 tablespoons olive oil and 1-2 tablespoons butter
½ cup homemade chicken broth or low sodium store bought
Wooden skewers, soaked for ½ hour (about 4-6)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Heat a large skillet with olive oil and butter. Alternate cubes of pork and veal on skewers. Dip in beaten eggs, roll in breadcrumbs. (Repeat for a thicker coating, optional!) Fry skewers turning to brown all sides though not fully cooked through. Place skewers in a 9 x 13 pan, pour in ½ cup chicken broth, cover with foil and bake for about 45 – 60 minutes. Serve hot over wild rice or mashed potatoes.
I love being in the kitchen. Early mornings, soft music, a hot espresso. Easing into the preparation of delicious meals. Glancing through cookbooks, gathering inspiration and planning my day. I look forward to the cycles of the seasons, the pleasures of tasting and savoring and sharing this with those dear to me. Weekends are special to me as my week days are often rushed, but still I create the ambiance, light the candles, set the table and uncork the wine.