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Mar 17, 2014 02:30 PM

Bone-in Skin-on Chicken Parm?

Has anyone seen this preparation?

I am always fascinated by amateur cook books - this weekend I came across one put together by a Women's Club of a local Catholic church in a blue-collar Philly neighborhood from the 50s or 60s

It is an interesting mix of Irish, German, and Italian influenced dishes. along with a lot of N. American dump-a-can specials and hot dog casseroles there are several recipes for fresh pasta, ricotta gnocchi and manicotti crepes, sauerbraten, German potato balls, Irish stone cake etc.

In general there seems to be a penchant for fricassee of chicken in tomatoes - (but the term is never used) one recipe in particular has me befuddled

It is a recipe for one of the simplest things "Chicken Parmesan" but involves baking a whole, cut-up, fryer and adding mozzarella and tomato well into the cooking process.

Chicken Parm in my mind is always skinless, generally boneless, breast meat - usually breaded and baked or fried before topping with sauce and cheese.

Was this Mayfair housewife a Chicken Parm renegade? Just too lazy to butcher her chicken? or Did people make Chicken Parm like this before the supreme popularity of readily available BSCB?

It sounds like a hot mess... but then mozzarella melted over crispy chicken skin could be tasty, no?

To me the recipe is almost a parody of Italian-American cooking but the writer has an Italian surname and I am sure it was meant in earnest - people generally contribute something they are proud of to these collections which is why I like them so much.

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  1. Never seen it. Never heard of such a thing. Does sound like a "hot mess ", but if somehow the skin was still crispy, I'd probably eat it.

    1. I've made chicken cacciatore with bone in, skin on thighs , after browning them well. The skin does get mushy in the cacciatore, but it is very tasty! With the addition of cheese it would be a mess but even more tasty!
      Perhaps they hadn't heard of health guidelines!LOL

      1. I've seen and had it - quite good. The cheese and (already heated) tomato sauce are only applied at the very end, with just enough baking or broiling time to melt the cheese.

        2 Replies
        1. re: greygarious

          in this version the chicken parts are actually basted in the tomato sauce about 1/2 way through then the cheese is added towards the very end - it is so odd I may have to try it just for a taste of 1950s Italian-American con-Fusion

        2. I've never had the pleasure (or displeasure) of eating chicken parm that way, but given the era (50-70's) and the fact it is one of the many many church or group recipe books made then ( and many are are still made today) , I am not surprised by it's approach. Especially if from a non-Italian wife or household (or Italian husband with no recollection of any recipe direction) living in a non or small Italian community trying to mimick a recipe decades before the world wide web.

          I inherited from my Mother many many church and civic self compiled cookbooks from the "ladies" of that era and still buy them when found at local garage sales or flea markets for that weirdness value.

          Heck, the compiled recipe book from parents of gradeschool kids I have from the 50's and 60's that were from my sister's is full of items I still find laughable and not very palletable nor a very correct approach compared to today's standards.

          Are they worth a good read every so often to trigger the grey matter? Hellz yes. But still given the era , very common to many households and ya gotta use what ya got mentality for those not in the know.

          Oh how cooking and recipes have changed.

          3 Replies
          1. re: jjjrfoodie

            Those middle-America old style recipes are still VERY popular. They're just not the subject of modern cookbooks, for the most part. (There's a new one by Holly Harden compiling those from Mrs. Sundberg's Kitchen, a column on the website.) They still appear in recipe card collections, women's magazines, websites, blogs, and the self-published civic/church group fundraiser cookbooks. I suspect many more people make and enjoy the casseroles and jello molds and dump cakes than would EVER admit it on CH.

            A friend in WI sent me a 5-volume, spiral-bound,self-published collection of depression-era recipes compiled recently by the "author". They were being sold at a fair, I believe. It's hundreds of pages in varying type that looks like old manual typewritten recipes were scanned directly. I will NEVER use it
            but if anyone who collects this type of thing wants them, you're welcome to them if you reimburse postage. My contact info's on my profile page.

            1. re: greygarious

              I wonder if the Feeding American Project would be interested in your compilation?


              This book interested me specifically because Its socio economic and ethnic makeup is similar to my own background - and because it is a working class area th

              One of the most interesting things to me is that while the recipes are full of Italian, Irish and German influence the "Recipes from Foreign Countries" Section has a Pennsylvania Dutch Meatloaf - about as Americana/Authentic to PA as you can get past a corn mush Venison and Blueberries recipe from the Lenni Lenapi

              1. re: greygarious


                I suspect many more people make and enjoy the casseroles and jello molds and dump cakes than would EVER admit it on CH.


                LOL greygarious.

                I made a small blueberry and crushed pineapple dumpcake for a buddy's good sized craft beer tasting last weekend and they gobbled it up.

                Good casseroles are far from being beneath me, which is why I love to find and keep around those old community or church composed cookbooks.

                My sister probably cooks out of her chuch compiled modern recipe book once or twice a week.

                Still many a canned soup recipe in it, but other recipes have been quite tasty and it's quite easy to see why sopopular for the busy mom with a big family crowd.

            2. I've made a variation on the traditional breaded and fried chicken parm using just *boneless* skin-on chicken breasts with no breading, pan fried. They came out really good, and were a nice alternative. I even threw in some mushrooms when sauteing and browning the chicken, to guild the lily, before topping it all with sauce and cheese and putting it under the broiler to brown.

              Leaving the bone in would make it a hassle to eat, imo.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Atomic76

                That's pretty much the way my Sicilian grandmother made it when cooking for only a few people (two or three). For bigger crowds, it was the breaded chicken (or veal) cutlets casseroled with tomato sauce and cheese. Both delicious!