“City Chicken” — that’s not chicken. It is cubes of pork and veal alternately threaded on a wooden skewer, breaded, fried to brown, and finished in the oven. There is also a version that uses an equal mix of ground pork and veal which I loved as a kid, but my Dad insisted that REAL city chicken had to be made from the chunks of meat.
In the coal region, city chicken is so popular, it is often offered by caterers as a protein choice when choosing your menu for an event.
In Minersville, (Schuylkill County in Pa) there is an event venue, Hillcrest Hall, that often was the site of weddings and banquets my family found themselves attending in the 60s and 70s. My Dad would be so excited to go to the event there, yet seemed lukewarm to other similar social activities. One day he finally, and sheepishly, admitted he like to go to anything at Hillcrest because they might be serving city chicken as part of the meal!
In many meat departments in stores in PA, you can find the chunks of meat or the mixed ground version already packaged for you including the skewers!
A little history on the dish and the name: During the depression, chicken was more expensive than pork. So pork and veal were substituted for and “passed off” as chicken. The pork and veal are alternated on a wooden skewer such that it resembles a chicken drumstick. I still love city chicken!
City ChickenCourse: Entree, SnacksCuisine: Coal RegionDifficulty: Easy
1/2 lb. pork
1/2 lb. veal
1 egg, beaten with 1 T water
Bread crumbs (seasoned if you want with salt, pepper, seasoning salt) OR add salt/pepper to taste when finishing.
1 c. water (or milk)
- Heat oven to 350F degrees.
- Cut pork and veal into 1″ cubes if necessary. Thread on bamboo or wooden skewers, alternating chunks of pork and veal. (about 4 per skewer).
- Dip the skewered meat in the egg, then the bread crumbs, to coat.
- Saute until browned in a frying pan with 1/4 inch oil.
- Put skewers in a baking pan on a baking rack inside the pan and add the water or milk to pan.
- Cover tightly with foil, and bake about 50 minutes to 1 hour.