City Chicken: A Ukranian/Polish Dish

City Chicken

Food can connect us in myriad ways. Like the city chicken recipe I’m sharing today. 

But here’s the twist: city chicken is made with pork, not chicken. 

I did a bit of sleuthing to find out why.  City chicken originated with the Polish and Ukrainian communities who immigrated to the Great Lakes region during the Depression. Cleveland and Pittsburgh were known for city chicken. 

Earlier versions date back to the early 1900’s when Midwest cookbooks and newspapers published recipes for what they called mock chicken. 

Believe it or not, the main meat used was veal or pork since chicken was reserved for special occasions! The chunks of meat were threaded onto skewers to resemble chicken legs.
Today pork is the most economical choice for city chicken, and using pork tenderloin is a no brainer. You could use boneless pork chops, too.

City chicken is a comforting supper and with its Ukrainian and Polish origins, a thoughtful way to honor our brave and displaced Eastern European global neighbors. 

City chicken

The important thing here is not to over bake the skewered, breaded pork once it goes into the oven. 

I used 4” skewers but 6” ones are OK too.

Ingredients

2 pounds pork tenderloin or boneless pork chops, cut into 1-1/2” cubes

6-8 skewers, 4” each

Seasoned salt or regular salt

Freshly ground pepper

3 cups Panko bread crumbs

1 tablespoon Italian seasoning

3/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon onion powder (optional but good)

5 eggs 

1/3 cup milk (I used evaporated but any kind works)

Oil for frying

Instructions

Thread 3 or so cubes of pork onto each skewer. Be sure and leave a bit of space between each piece of meat so that it cooks evenly. 

Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Mix together bread crumbs, Italian seasoning, garlic and onion powder. Set aside in shallow bowl. 

Whisk eggs until blended. Whisk milk into eggs and blend well. Pour into shallow bowl.

Dip each skewer into egg mixture, turning to coat all sides, then roll into crumbs. 

Dip again in egg mixture and crumbs. 

Now you can brown them in 1/2” hot oil right away or cover and refrigerate several hours.

Your goal is to simply get the skewers golden on both sides, which takes a few minutes only.

Preheat oven to 350.

Place skewers on wire rack over a baking sheet. Cover with foil and bake about 20 minutes.

Remove foil and bake 10 minutes so crumb coating can dry and become crisp. 

When done, the pork will register 140-145. You can take it out at 140 and tent it with foil for a few minutes.

Carry-over cooking occurs as it sits and raises the temperature 5 or so degrees.

I served the city chicken on a bed of spinach with a side of boiled buttered potatoes.

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