City Chicken

Monday 2 December 2019

City Chicken. The delicious chicken dish that really isn't chicken. This fabulously tasty recipe is a Polish American recipe for making something very tasty which was developed during the Depression to help create a delicious supper dish that tasted like chicken, but was made with meats that were not quite as pricey to buy. 

It is a recipe which was first shared with me by my sister many years ago and I have to say it is incredibly delicious!

I was sitting here yesterday morning doing Christmas Cards and I was trying to think of what my first Christmas memories were of myself and my sister.  I am three years older than my sister, and I wasn't exactly very happy when my mom brought her home from the hospital.  I wanted my mom to take the baby back, probably because I was used to being on my own and the baby was taking up far too much of my mothers attention.

For a week the only glimpses of my mother had been through a hospital window when my father had taken me to the hospital to see her. To have her come home finally, only to be accompanied by this small squealing attention getter was not exactly what I had been hoping for. 

I must have been quite spoiled by having had all of both of my parent's attentions for three years to myself.  That's all I can surmise.

It was only when my mother explained that if the baby went she would also have to go as the baby needed someone to take care of it that I relented and decided the baby could stay.  

Little did I know then that my mother had brought home to me the best and most beloved friend that I could have ever had or wanted.

My life has been enriched and richly blessed through the years by this marvelous woman that I am lucky enough to be able to call sister.  Cindy.

I love her so very much.  It was she who taught me how to crochet.  In fact she taught both my mother and myself. I am not sure where she learnt how, but she came home and taught us. 

We spent several hours together one afternoon learning together. It is a skill  that I have always been grateful for.

Through the years we have shared many loves and experiences with each other.  We both love to craft and to create things with our hands.  

Some of my happiest memories are of those we spent together manning craft tables filled with our wares at craft sales . . .  the best part of which was getting to spend a whole day with each other without any children or husbands nipping at our heels.

We both love bird watching and nature. We have often compared notes through the years of different birds we have seen and have sat and watched them together.

I have fond memories of us having discovered an old discarded orchard filled with apples and blackberries and wild raspberries and picking large containers of them so we could make jam.

Everything my sister does is done with great skill and expertise and she is good at all that she does. I have always considered her to be the great baker in our family.

She has always created cakes that rise and pastry that is as light as a cloud. I was always  more of a savory cook.

But one thing was certain, we both loved to create, cook and bake delicious meals and foods for our families to enjoy.  

At a time when smaller families were most common, we both had what was considered somewhat larger, me having five children and she four children. Even my brother had four.  

I think we all just have hearts for family and home.

One thing my sister and I have done a lot of through the years is sharing recipes.  Some of my favourites come from her, like her Portuguese Gumdrop Cake, her Zucchini Casserole, her Stove Top Mac and Cheese 

All delicious, and then there is this one . . . City Chicken, which isn't really chicken at all, but cubes of pork threaded onto wooden skewers, breaded, fried and baked until tender and juicy and incredibly delicious.

It was a recipe she got from her late mother in law, and it was one of her then husband's favorite meals. She shared the recipe with me and it became one of ours.  

These kinds of recipes have always been my favorite kind of recipes. No question about it.

Recipes that are handed down and shared and that become a part and a parcel of the fabric of your family.  

So whilst this tasty dish has nothing to do with Christmas or Christmas memories, or even chicken  . . . .  it has plenty to do with family and the love that most family's have for and share with each other. 

Yield: 4

City Chicken

City Chicken

This is an old, old recipe I got from my sister back in the 1970's. It was a favourite of her in laws. It isn't chicken at all but beautifully tender pieces of pork.


  • 1 1/2 pounds of pork tenderloin, cut into 1 1/2 inch cubes
  • salt and black pepper to taste
  • 2 free range eggs, beaten lightly in a shallow bowl
  • 180g seasoned dry bread crumbs (1 1/2 cups) in another shallow bowl
  • oil for frying
  • 6 to 8 wooden skewers, about 5 to 6 inches in length, pointed on one end
  • 120ml chicken stock (1/2 cup)


How to cook City Chicken

  1. Preheat the oven to 180*C/350*F/ gas mark 4. Have ready a shallow casserole dish large enough to hold all of your skewers in one layer.
  2. Trim and season the pork cubes with salt and pepper. Thread the pork onto the skewers, leaving a portion of the skewer bare at the end for holding.
  3. Roll the pork skewers into the beaten egg and then roll them into the bread crumbs to coat completely. Set them on a plate as you go along.
  4. Heat about 1/4 inch of oil in a large skillet. Working in batches as required (over-crowding the pan will cause the oil to cool), brown the pork skewers on all sides. Transfer the skewers to the casserole dish when browned. Make sure there is some space between each one. Pour the chicken stock in between the skewers. Cover tightly with foil and bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake for a further 10 minutes to help crisp the breading.
  5. Serve hot with mashed potatoes, gravy and a vegetable on the side.

Did you make this recipe?
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I love simple meals like this.  Just the meat, some gravy, piles of fluffy mash and some peas and carrots on the side.  The only thing missing was my sister. Oh but I wouldn't have given to be able to sit down and enjoy this with her.  Maybe one day  . . .  

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  1. Out of all the images I looked at today for a City Chicken recipe, YOURS was the most appealing! I have copied your recipe and we're going to make it next time we buy a cut of pork. Have you ever made this recipe with a cut other than tenderloin?
    PS I actually came to your site looking at another recipe, Welsh Rarebit, and that picture of CC just absolutely drew me in! You can respond to me via email at bidness44 at hot mail dot com. Thank you!

    1. Ok, it's in the oven right now! :-)

    2. Oh I am on pins and needles. I hope you really enjoy it! I am not sure how I missed your first comment. I have only ever used tenderloin, however I think other meats can be used, including veal! Sorry for the late response!

    3. Okay we made it not with tenderloin but with another cut I think it was Chuck. Shaped it into roughly drumstick shaped pieces big hunks at the top little hunks at the bottom. Kind of pressed them into shape. It was fun ��. In any case it turned out beautifully soft and tender. My husband loved it and he just asked me if I would make it again!

    4. I am so pleased that it was enjoyed! Thank you so much for taking the time to come back and share your experience with us! xo

  2. I grew up eating city chicken that my mother made who learned how to prepare it from my grandmother. There is a history behind city chicken. It was a popular dish during the 1920's Depression Era. It was made from pork because at the time chicken meat was more expensive. Placing the pork cubes on the skewer made it look somewhat like a chicken leg. Thus, getting it's name City Chicken. It was a regional dish made by people living in Ilinois, Michigan, Indiana. Ohio, Western Pennsylvania and western New York state. I have lived in Ohio my entire life. A local store began selling City Chicken in the meat department with the cubed pork already threaded on the 6 inch wood skewers, so I pulled out my grandmother's recipe, which is very similar to yours, and savored the taste I hadn't ecperienced in over 25-30 years. I served it with mashed potatoes, gravy and broccoli on the side. Absolutely scrumptious! Both of our daughters and my husband loved it. Like, yoo, I have wonderful memories of my mother and my childhood when I smell it cooking in the oven. Thank you so much for sharing!

    1. You are so very welcome! Thank you so much for your background on the dish and for sharing your lovely memories! xoxo

  3. Hello me again! Okay we're making another batch right now. Did something a little different this time instead of just salt and pepper I added a little dab of seasoned salt. Will let you know how it turns out! ��

  4. Hi there, here's the verdict on the season salt, yes it was lovely, but don't use regular salt with it, it was a bit of overkill.
    However! we made it again with the pork shoulder cut, and wow wow wow it was again, so so good. The technique of frying then braising results in a very succulent dish.
    It was delicious as leftovers as well. Thanks again for a great recipe!

    1. Its nice to know that the seasoning salt adds another depth of flavor, but yeh, with other salt it would be a bit too much. I am so pleased that you enjoy this recipe so much. I have not made it in a while. Time to rectify that methinks! xo


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