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City Chicken?

I'm looking at recipes for "mock food" for a dinner with a theme to complement a spy book (more about that in this thread http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/789801 ). I came across a few mentions of "City Chicken" - a dish which uses pork or veal as a substitute for chicken. Does anyone know this dish? Any feedback on how it tastes/looks and how to cook it would be great!

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  1. It's a really simple dish. Usually, you just fry breaded cubes of pork in butter and then braise them in broth or milk or a combination of both. I've also seen it served on skewers breaded and fried with the gravy on the side.

    4 Replies
    1. re: BadRabbitAU

      To me, city chicken is alternating about 2" cubes of pork and veal on a wooden skewer, S&P, floured, browned, then braised in the oven. One used to be able to get them already assembled from the butcher. Then grocery stores sold them in packs of cubed meat and skewers to be assembled at home. I haven't seen them in years. Might be a US regional thing.

      The skewers were quite sturdy, almost as thick as a pencil, pointed at one end for easy threading. I think I made them once using Japanese chopsticks.

      I always thought the term came about because city folks didn't have chickens running around in their backyards, so instead of roasted or fried chicken for Sunday dinner, they'd have a chicken leg looking skewer from the butcher.

      Have a look at these links.

      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/307239

      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/767410

      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/500146

      1. re: nemo

        Thanks! From what I've read this seems to be a Pennsylvania dish, not seen elsewhere.

        1. re: lupaglupa

          I grew up in Detroit and the skewers of City Chicken are still sold there. My mom buys it regularly. It's also on menus in the Polish restaurants there.

          I also found a Butcher Shop in San Diego selling City Chicken.

          I believe that City Chicken was served during the Depression (in the mock chicken leg shape) because people kept their chickens alive so as to have eggs and therefore some sort of food daily. Alternating cubes of pork and veal.

          1. re: lupaglupa

            My mother used to serve this frequently when I was a kid in the Cleveland suburbs. She
            bought it at our local supermarket. Frankly, I hated it and would only nibble at it under protest. Who knows? Today I might enjoy it.

      2. This recipe is from the Fanny Farmer cookbook. Always wanted to try it, just never have.
        http://books.google.com/books?id=oioe...

        Do you have dessert? Mock Apple Pie is fun

        Ritz Mock Apple Pie

        The classic pie, featuring Ritz crackers baked in a golden crust,
        is perfect for the holidays.

        Pastry for two-crust 9-inch pie
        36 RITZ Crackers, coarsely broken (about 1 3/4 cups crumbs)
        1 3/4 cups water
        2 cups sugar
        2 teaspoons cream of tartar
        2 tablespoons lemon juice
        Grated peel of one lemon
        2 tablespoons margarine or butter
        1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

        1. Roll out half the pastry and line a 9-inch pie plate. Place
        cracker crumbs in prepared crust; set aside.

        2. Heat water, sugar and cream of tartar to a boil in saucepan
        over high heat; simmer for 15 minutes. Add lemon juice and peel;
        cool.

        3. Pour syrup over cracker crumbs. Dot with margarine or butter;
        sprinkle with cinnamon. Roll out remaining pastry; place over pie.
        Trim, seal and flute edges. Slit top crust to allow steam to escape.

        4. Bake at 425 F for 30 to 35 minutes or until crust is crisp
        and golden. Cool completely.

        Makes 10 servings

        NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION per serving
        413 calories, 3 g protein, 63 g carbohydrate, 17 g total fat,
        3 g saturated fat, 339 mg sodium, 0 g dietary fiber.

        Preparation Time: 45 mins.
        Cook Time: 30 mins.
        Cooling Time: 3 hrs.
        Total Time: 4 hrs. 15 mins.

        _____________________________________________________________

        This recipe courtesy of Back of the Box Recipes.
        www.backofthebox.com Home Page

        This recipe created by Nabisco.

        1. Here are some photos. Dip in egg then flour, egg and finally crushed Saltines with spices. Fry then bake.

           
           
           
          1 Reply
          1. Available at most if not all local supermarkets in any major city in Ohio.

            Never seen in most restaurants I've found.

            I grew up on them eating them one a week. Seasoned, rolled in flour, then beaten egg wash dip and then finally bread crumbs. Pan fry on all sides in oil til brown and finish in the oven Sides of mashed potatoes, gravy and fresh peas were de rigueur in my household.

            So simple that these days it's almost unacceptable.

            1. I had this dish at various relatives houses when I was growing up, but it was always a fried treat...never had it braised though I have no doubt that would be succulent as well
              The braise would certainly make for tender meat (I LOVE braised pork).

              My mom used to make 'city chicken' a few times a year...cubes of pork (usually cut from a not too lean shoulder) on a wooden skewer, fairly simply seasoned (she always just used Lawry's Seasoned Salt), then dipped in egg, coated with breadcrumbs, and fried.
              Great stuff.