Friday, June 22, 2018

What Is City Chicken? Old Fashioned City Chicken Recipe

If you have never heard of City Chicken then read on!

What is City Chicken? What is the origin of City Chicken?
City Chicken is a Depression-era meal that is not found in cookbooks. Believe it or not, there was a time in history (pre-1940's) when chicken was actually more expensive than pork, veal, or beef. Poultry farms weren't yet industrialized and available everywhere like they are today, so chicken wasn't as accessible as you might think. 

Yup, it's true! Since folks couldn't afford the expensive chicken, they would use pieces of pork, veal, and/or steak, and skewer them onto a bamboo skewer, bread with seasoned breading, and then fry and/or bake. What exactly is City Chicken? It's not chicken at all, but is made from other meats and shaped to look like a drumstick! 

So gather your supplies, whip up a batch of mashed potatoes and gravy, saute some asparagus or fresh green beans, and make your first batch of City Chicken! 

Best City Chicken Recipe

For this recipe you will need:
Bamboo skewers (about 8 inch long)
Shake & Bake Pork flavor
*For the meat, I use about 1 lb of pork and 1 lb of steak, for about 4 people, so you can adjust accordingly:
Lean pork cubes (I use cup up boneless pork chops)
Lean steak cubes
2 large eggs
splash of milk (about 1/4 cup)
Olive Oil & Crisco solid shortening

Gather all ingredients.
1. Soak the bamboo skewers in warm water for a while before you start, at least 30 minutes is good, a few hours is better. While they are soaking, find a casserole dish that will accommodate the length of the skewers for when you bake them in the oven (I usually use a big lasagna pan).

2. Cut pork and steak into bite-sized pieces for skewering.

3. Skewer the pork and steak cubes onto the bamboo skewers, alternating pork and steak. Do not fill the entire skewers end-to-end, instead leave some space at each end. One inch or so is good. This will make them easier to handle.

4. Put Shake & Bake coating into the bag provided (you can also use regular bread crumbs if you prefer. I find the Shake & Bake makes them nice and crispy).

5. In a pie plate or dish large enough to fit the skewers, beat the two eggs with the milk. 

6. Doing one skewer at a time, dip the meat-filled skewer into the egg and milk mixture and coat the meat on the skewer completely.

7. Allow excess egg to drip off of the skewer and then place the skewer in the bag with the breadcrumbs/Shake & Bake and coat the meat completely with the coating, using your hand outside the bag to squeeze the coating onto the meat. Squeezing it on will make the breading stick very well. Remove skewer from bag and set aside on a plate. Repeat steps above until all skewers are filled with meat, dipped in egg mixture, and breaded. 

8. In a large frying pan melt about 1/3 cup of Crisco solid shortening on medium-low heat until melted and hot - you can use half Crisco and half olive oil instead, or whatever frying of that you prefer. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

9. Once shortening/oil is hot, place a few of the breaded meat skewers into the oil and lightly fry to brown the outsides for just a minute or two each. Watch carefully so they don't burn. Use tongs to turn them and once they are brown, remove them and place them on a plate covered with paper towels to drain off the excess oil. 

10. Once all skewers are fried and drained, turn off the oil and remove from heat. Transfer each of the skewers from the paper towels to a lasagna dish or other casserole dish. Cover with foil.

11. Bake in a preheated 350 degree F oven for one hour.

12. Optional: bake for an additional 5 minutes with foil removed to dry out a bit if they look too wet. 

Soak the skewers ahead of time so they won't singe when you fry and bake them

Prepare your egg and breading mixes and set aside

Cube your pork and beef into bite-sized pieces

Skewer the pork and beef, alternating them if you like

These are ready to be dipped in the egg mixture and then breaded

Breaded and ready to be fried up

Fry for a just a minute or two to brown the outsides

Drain the fried skewers on paper towels to blot off extra fat and then place them in a baking dish, cover, and bake for one hour

From oven to table! Golden baked City Chicken. Best city chicken recipe ever!

Serve with a veggie of your choice and mashed potatoes and gravy: perfect comfort food!

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Have you ever eaten City Chicken? 

Have a great week!

Article & images copyright ©Laura Beth Love for Dishfunctional Designs™ 2018
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