CHEF JEFF: One Byte At A Time — City Chicken

Chicken is the most popular meat in the United States, more well-liked than beef or pork. That’s according to 2018 statistics compiled by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

But why is it so?

Versatility is probably the No. 1 reason. The U.S. is a very diverse country, so chicken’s mild taste and uniform texture is easily assimilated into many cuisines. But probably just as significant is the health factor. Red meat has been linked to heart disease and diabetes, and people perceive chicken, a white meat, as a healthier option. Chicken is, in fact, lower in saturated fat than beef, which can raise your blood cholesterol and make heart disease worse.

There was a time when a lot of people couldn’t afford chicken. It was much more expensive than beef or pork. This was especially true during the Depression of the 1930s. A dish that was popular pretty much nationwide at the time was made with cubes of veal and pork that were threaded onto a skewer in order to create a fake drumstick. It was called city chicken. The recipe for it won’t be found in the poultry section of any cookbook for obvious reasons.

Today, I’m going to share a recipe for city chicken, although it is nothing like the one mentioned above. That’s because this recipe actually features chicken. I was given this recipe a few years ago by Matt Purpur, a former co-worker of mine at the Grand Forks Herald. It is definitely one to cluck about.

City Chicken
2 pounds boneless chicken, cut into cubes (can substitute pheasant)
½ cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon garlic salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
¼ cup butter, cubed
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 envelop onion soup mix
1 14½-ounce can chicken broth
1 cup water
Combine the flour, garlic salt and pepper on a plate. Roll chicken cubes in flour mixture until coated. In a large skillet over medium heat, brown chicken in butter and oil, turning frequently. Sprinkle with soup mix. Add broth and water. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 1 hour or until meat is done.
Note: If desired, thicken the pan juices. Serve with mashed potatoes.
Yield: Serves 4 to 6.

One thought on “CHEF JEFF: One Byte At A Time — City Chicken”

  • Jennifer Houske February 6, 2019 at 7:35 am

    I was introduced to city chicken, but made with pork when we lived in Florida. I was quite baffled! It was delicious! My neighbor’s mother from Michigan made the dish.


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