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Polish City Chicken: A Dish You Won’t Find in Poland

Polish City Chicken: A Dish You Won’t Find in Poland

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

What dips should I serve the city chicken with?

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.

What do I serve with the city chicken?

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.

What temperature do I fry or bake the city chicken at?

To cook the city chicken, fry it in the oil or heat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.

Do I have to use both veal and pork in the city chicken recipe?

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.

Can I make this recipe gluten free?

To make the Polish city chicken gluten-free, use almond meal, cornflour, or rice flour instead of bread crumbs.

What are the other names of Polish City Chicken?

Polish City Chicken is also called City Chicken, Polish Chicken, Fake Chicken, or Mock Chicken.

Polish City Chicken Recipe

Polish City Chicken Recipe

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!

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Additional Time 5 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

    1. Place the pieces of pork and veal on the wooden skewers.
    2. Dip the skewers in egg and then seasoned bread crumbs. (some recipes also call for dipping in flour before dipping in egg.
    3. Then brown them in a cast-iron skillet for a few minutes, then take off gas.
    4. Pour the 1/2 cup water or chicken broth into the dish. Cover tightly with foil.
    5. Bake them until they are fully cooked - 325F for 25 min, uncovered for 5 min at the end.

Notes

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.

Josephine Silvassy

Monday 8th of March 2021

I am polish we always had city Chicken. When I lived in Michigan they sold it already made up on screws. Loved it that's the hardest part. You can't find veal everywhere. They didnt have any in Florida. Now we live in Georgia, they sell veal here. I just showed my daughter who is 51 how to make it. I love it mouth is watering now. Try this recipe it is so good. I usually make so many that the first day we have it just baked out of the oven the second day i make gravy to have with it. Yes I make at least 20.

Pete Nodianos

Monday 8th of March 2021

Oh my, as a retired caterer, I've made several thousands of those delicious little gems. Every one of the (extra add ins) work to make people salivate at the mention of having family and friends enjoy some good old fashioned hunkey food. Thanks for the delicious memories. And thank ALL of the baba's that are still with us for passing this western pennsylvania treat on us to serve today

Georgia

Monday 8th of March 2021

What is duck blood soup?

annainthekitchen

Monday 8th of March 2021

Check out this post - https://annainthekitchen.com/weird-polish-foods/ . I explain it there. It's a soup made of duck's blood, basically.

Pennye Benda

Friday 5th of March 2021

My great-grandparents were from Poland and my grandma was born in Detroit. I grew up loving pieroges and city chickens and have passed the hand written recipes down to my girls, who are the 5th generation to love these. Somewhere along the way, my grandma or mom started to sprinkle a package of Lipton onion soup mix over the skewered meat before putting them in the oven. They are beyond delicious and the ultimate comfort food!

Maureen

Friday 5th of March 2021

I grew up on City chicken since my hometown was a steel town in Ohio with many European ethnic folks and I love European food. But my recipe is from a particular 1965 better Home and gardens cookbook with the red and white cover, and my book is literally falling apart, duct tape together. and on page 256 there was a recipe for city chicken that I always used to make when my husband was alive. But I'm going to start making it for me now it does use a teaspoon of paprika also three quarters of a teaspoon of poultry seasoning which makes it so delicious. After it's browned in a frying pan in vegetable oil, put it in a baking bowl mix one bouillon cube with 3/4 cup of hot water poured over the meat and it makes the most phenomenal juice, not a lot of it but the most phenomenal juice to pour over your City chicken. Just reading this blog has made me hungry for City chicken. I always mixed the veal and pork but will buy pork I think this time since I don't eat red meat anymore. Bake in the oven at 350 for 1 hour

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