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City Chicken?

lupaglupa Jun 13, 2011 09:54 AM

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!

  1. b
    BadRabbitAU Jun 13, 2011 10:29 AM

    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
      n
      nemo Jun 13, 2011 10:52 AM

      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
        lupaglupa Jun 14, 2011 07:29 AM

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

        1. re: lupaglupa
          c
          Cathy Jun 14, 2011 07:36 AM

          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
            m
            Maryld Jun 14, 2011 08:19 AM

            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. j
        juli5122 Jun 14, 2011 07:34 AM

        This recipe is from the Fanny Farmer cookbook. Always wanted to try it, just never have.
        http://books.google.com/books?id=oioeRpagr_kC&pg=PA198&lpg=PA198&dq=City+Chicken+Fanny+Farmer+recipe&source=bl&ots=nR-akMK8YU&sig=XkTPn8Zu56IAjV4m23OzL2nj07A&hl=en&ei=JnH3TfGPGsmftgfV_PSqCg&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=3&ved=0CCcQ6AEwAg#v=onepage&q&f=false

        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. c
          Cathy Jun 14, 2011 08:41 AM

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

           
           
           
          1 Reply
          1. re: Cathy
            lupaglupa Jun 14, 2011 06:35 PM

            Those look really good!

          2. j
            jjjrfoodie Jun 14, 2011 09:02 AM

            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. The Professor Jun 14, 2011 06:57 PM

              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.

              1. woodleyparkhound Jun 14, 2011 07:23 PM

                I had it fairly regularly growing up - always bought from the butcher on skewers (southern OH). I seem to remember that it was pan-fried... don't remember any braising. I thought it was OK but I wasn't thrilled with it. My mom's best friend, whom we called our "aunt" used to love it and would bring it over with some regularity.

                1. g
                  gimlis1mum Jun 14, 2011 07:53 PM

                  I grew up in Pittsburgh and we had this a lot as kids...I think it it was always veal (it came pre-skewered), but my mom never bothered with the egg-and-breadcrumb coating part, she just fried it up in a pan. How I wish she had! It was rather bland the way she made it.

                  1. h
                    HBGigi Jun 15, 2011 08:09 AM

                    We had it at home during the 40's and I used to make it often in the 50's and 60's. The only reason I stopped making it is because it's hard to find the veal and the pork is just too dry nowdays. Our family has always loved it nd we are from the Pacific NW.

                    1. todao Jun 15, 2011 08:20 AM

                      http://www.post-gazette.com/food/2000...

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