City Chicken Recipe

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There’s something so nostalgic and comforting about the savory aroma of breaded meat frying up in the kitchen. If you’re from Pittsburgh or parts of the Midwest, that smell probably takes you right back to childhood and mom’s classic “city chicken” dish.

Despite the name, this regional specialty contains no actual chicken at all! Instead, city chicken is made with tender cubes of pork and veal that get battered, breaded, and fried until deliciously crispy on the outside while staying super juicy inside. A true example of resourceful home cooking at its finest.

You see, back in the day when chicken was pricier in city markets, smart cooks came up with a genius way to stretch their budgets. By cubing inexpensive pork and veal scraps, skewering them onto wooden sticks, breading them up, and frying them golden brown, they could mimic the look and taste of fried chicken drumsticks. An ingenious culinary hack was born!

While chicken is much more affordable now, this nostalgic city chicken recipe has stuck around as a beloved Pittsburgh (and Midwestern) comfort food classic for generations. One bite of those crispy, savory skewers instantly transports you back to the good old days of family dinners and grandma’s kitchen.

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