Thursday, January 28, 2010

City Chicken

Ah, city chicken. A great meal my mom used to make. This really was mainly a winter dish for us... as it was a great when it's cold type meal. It's relatively simple, and a little different as well which always makes for something great when you're craving variety!

I always love recipes that don't require a ton of ingredients, as that means there's less I have to buy! Chances are, I already have it in my cupboard, you know?

Of course, there's a lot of things in my cupboard.

Anyway, let's go ahead and gather our ingredients up!

Looks pretty simple right?

Now I am sure you have noticed by now... there is no chicken in this picture.

In fact, there is no chicken anywhere in my house at the moment.

"But Elizabeth you said this was City Chicken!"

I also said once that cats will rule the world before I die. That doesn't mean it's automatically true.

What you see here, is pork. More specifically, a pork roast.

Oh trusty Wikipedia, what would I do without you?
The origins of the entrée and its name are not entirely known, but its first references in cookbooks are during the Depression Era in cities such as Pittsburgh, when people took meat scraps and fashioned a makeshift drumstick out of them. It was a working class food item. During this period, pork was cheaper than chicken in many parts of the country, especially for those far from rural poultry farms. Sometimes the meat was ground, and a drumstick-shaped mold was used to form the ground meat around a skewer. Today, better cuts of meat (usually pork loin, beef or veal) are used. In spite of the name, the dish almost never contains chicken.
I feel like I need to use that "The More You Know" graphic over and over.

So go ahead and cut the fat off your pork loin/roast/shoulder/whatever you have on hand.

And start cubing your meat. I like pretty chunky cubes myself!

Place 5 to 6 cubes of meat on each skewer, keep in mind though, you may have to cut your skewers slightly later, so leave a bit on the end. Oh, and a second important note here... soak your skewers!

You will be pan browning these with heated oil, and a soaked skewer will not burn in the pan. That's important y'all!

They look like the shish kabobs that vegetables forgot.

Now you're going to take about 1 to 2 cups of flour, and go ahead and put it in a flatter container. That will make it easier to coat your skewers...

And to this add about 2 Tablespoons of seasoning salt...

And 1 Tablespoon of Black Pepper...

And then you can be like me and decide that 2 Tablespoons isn't enough and use a different, more paprika-y type of Seasoning Salt on top of that.

Because I'm funky like that.

Go ahead now and add 2 Tablespoons of oil to your pan. Feel free to use more if you'd like, just depending on how your pan is set. Mine curves up a bit in the middle so I do end up adding a bit more halfway through cooking every time.

Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain... Uh I mean the washed out hand in the foreground!

Now go ahead and start heating up your oil on medium high. While you are doing this however, get out your favorite dutch oven.

Now, I add 2 beef bullion cubes to this because it's what my mom always did. But you could use beef broth, plain water, or get funky and use some chicken or veggie stock!

Add about 3 cups of water to this.

Go ahead and let those cubes dissolve if you added them, or just set aside the dutch oven. You will be using it soon!

Now go ahead and coat your skewers in your flour mixture...

And start placing them in your pan with the heated oil. You may find that you need to cut your skewers down. Go ahead and do so to whatever size you need.

You want to brown them, get a nice crust on them. Definitely don't burn them or try to cook them all the way through, but get a nice brown on each side...

Until they look just beautiful!

I love you brown crispy skin...

Anyway, once they have browned, go ahead and place your skewers in your pot. Your cubes should be dissolved, go ahead and stir it just to make sure if you're using cubes before putting them in.

Now comes the easy part! Plop these in a 350 degree oven for about 40 to 45 minutes, covered.

This is going to give your meat a chance to cook through, and absorb the beef broth flavor (or whatever stock you use) as well. Mixing of flavors is delicious darn it! It sounds ew but it tastes yum.

You're just going to have to trust me on this one.

These are going to shrink a bit. But it will be delicious!

And if I would have remembered to take the picture right as I would have pulled them out of the oven, you would have seen all 4!

Such is life!

Serve with some mashed potatoes and gravy, or roasted rosemary red potatoes and fresh cut green beans like I did!

Outer skin that tastes like fried chicken...

Inner meat that's moist and delicious...

And who doesn't like eating things off skewers? They make everything more fun!

City Chicken

1.5 lbs Pork Roast, Beef, Veal, or any other meat, but not chicken!
2 cups flour
2 Tablespoons Seasoning Salt
1 Tablespoon Black Pepper
2 Bullion (Beef) Cubes (Optional)
3 Cups Water or Various Stock
2 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil
Bamboo Skewers

Trim the fat off your meat, cut into cubes. Put 5 to 6 cubes on each skewer, set aside.

Mix flour, seasoning salt, and black pepper together. Coat meat on skewers and place into hot oil in a frying pan. Brown on each side.

In a large dutch oven put 3 cups of water/stock and bullion cubes in bottom. Dissolve cubes, place browned skewers into bottom, cover.

Bake 350 degrees for 40 to 45 minutes. Serves 4.


  1. This is the second time I've visited your recipe because it's so much like my Grandma's. She used pork and veal alternately on the skewers. My Dad has asked for a picnic for Father's Day, I can't wait to surprise him with a taste of the old days! Thanks for sharing!

  2. I am so pleased that you like the recipe so much! You'll have to let me know how your dad liked the meal!


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