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.
My mommakes something that looks like that but she uses minced meat and it tastes great! Anything on skewers taste great..heheh. Your city chicken looks awesome and i am sure i would like this with rice too.
OH – EM – GE !!! I haven’t thought about these tasty skewers in years! They had been completely forgotten and Mom’s recipe isn’t even among my list of recipes to blog about. Her’s weren’t fried but I like that yours are. Thanks for sharing another great recipe and for the reminder.
what an interesting story behind the name!
There is something that looks like this here called shish taook..which is really chicken lol
Thank you for sharing the story and the recipe
Lovely story and the City Chicken looks perfectly delicious!
My Mom made these often when we were growing up in the 1950’s…but she called them “mock chicken legs”. We’re from the Chicago area and this was one of the family favorites. She browned them on all sides, but then she simmered them in mushroom soup, which made a very flavorfull gravy. Thank you for bringing back such wonderful memories!
Thanks Patricia for stopping by and commenting. I love the idea how your mom simmered them in a flavorful gravy. I’m always interested in versions of recipes – and the name is one I’ve never heard before!!