Friday, April 8, 2011

Family Recipe Friday - City Chicken

Here is a family favorite! City Chicken actually isn't chicken, but cubes beef, pork and/veal on wooden skewers (to resemble drumsticks). It seems to originated in Western Pennsylvania, but was popular in other areas of the Midwest. Early recipes for City Chicken show up in the 1930's post-Depression Era. Chicken was costly or hard to find, while the other meats (especially pork) were generally cheaper.

My father remembers his grandmother Mem, Elizabeth Linneman Speck Merz, making City Chicken as a child when they lived in Pittsburgh. She made it with pork, veal and beef. My parents have continued to cook this meal today, although they usually only use pork now. Here is the Cubbage version (there was no written recipe):

City Chicken
1" to 1 1/4" cubes of pork loin (and veal or beef) - put 4 on a skewer
dredge in flour
dip in beaten egg
roll in flavored bread crumbs
brown on all sides
put a grate in bottom of a pot and add tiny bit of water
bake at 400F until the meat is done (not sure how long)- just test it with a fork.

I don't have a picture of our City Chicken (I will be sure to take one next time we have it!). Instead, here is a picture of Mem in her kitchen - probably when she lived on Thelma Street in Pittsburgh.

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