A dish that originated during the Great Depression, Polish City Chicken never contains any chicken! This skewered meat dish is a good comfort food choice and also works great as an appetizer!
I had NEVER even heard of city chicken until I went on a food tour in NYC. I was introduced to this “traditional Polish dish” in the USA and quite frankly as a native Pole my first reaction was: “What on earth is this thing?!”
Polish City Chicken is not a dish you’ll ever get to taste in Poland. Polish people in Poland won’t even know what is it, as it’s 100% an American invention, supposedly invented by creative Polish immigrants.
What is Polish City Chicken?
This dish is also known as ‘fake chicken’ or ‘mock chicken legs‘ as it doesn’t contain any chicken. During the Great Depression chicken was more expensive than other meats. So the Poles of Pittsburgh decided to put veal or pork on skewers, and bread and fry them, so it would resemble chicken legs which they couldn’t afford.
If you have a Polish grandma or other relatives that are second or third-generation Americans from Poland they’ll surely know the city chicken.
One could also say that it’s a different, non-flat version of traditional Kotlet Schabowy from Poland.
City Chicken Recipe Pointers
- The best city chicken is made of 2 cubes of each pork and veal on one skewer.
- Cubes should be about 1.5-2 inches long.
- Pork tenderloins are the tastiest option.
- If you don’t like or want to fry the skewers you could also bake them in the oven.
- Do not use olive oil for frying, but use any vegetable oil that keeps well at higher temperatures.
- Serve the city chicken with gravy and a traditional Polish cucumber salad called Mizeria.
FAQs about City Chicken
City chicken does not require any dip to go with it. But if you want to, you can serve the city chicken with ranch dressing, mayo, or any barbecue sauces.
City chicken is often served with gravy and slices of bread. It also goes well with this traditional Polish dish called Mizeria (Polish cucumber salad). If you want to try something totally different, you can also serve it with a nice creamy pasta or these kopytka dumplings.
To cook the city chicken, fry it in the oil or heat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
The traditional Polish-American recipe contains about 50% veal and 50% pork. But if you want, you can use only boneless veal or only boneless pork pieces.
To make the Polish city chicken gluten-free, use almond meal, cornflour, or rice flour instead of bread crumbs.
Polish City Chicken is also called City Chicken, Polish Chicken, Fake Chicken, or Mock Chicken.
- 1 1/2 pound pork shoulder meat, cut into 1 1/2 inch cubes
- 1 1/2 pound veal stew meat
- salt and pepper for seasoning
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 2 cups dry bread crumbs
- 12 to 15 wooden skewer sticks
- Oil for cooking
- Place the pieces of pork and veal on the wooden skewers.
- Dip the skewers in egg and then seasoned bread crumbs. (some recipes also call for dipping in flour before dipping in egg.
- Then brown them in a cast-iron skillet for a few minutes, then take off gas.
- Pour the 1/2 cup water or chicken broth into the dish. Cover tightly with foil.
- Bake them until they are fully cooked - 325F for 25 min, uncovered for 5 min at the end.
If you don't like fried things, you can skip frying and bake it straight away. Make sure the dish is fully covered, otherwise breadcrumbs will burn.