Shirley Jones’ City Chicken

I am very lucky to have Mr Rathbone in my life.  He’s really good at proofreading.  On Sunday, he was in bed with the Cooking With Columbo proof copy, and I was in the kitchen making City Chicken.  Living the dream!

I really love this “Meat on a Stick” and I had about half of the veal, beef and pork that I’d bought first time around in the freezer.  It was already cut into chunks so it was a pretty quick and easy dinner to rustle up.

I made 7 sticks of meat and Mr R really liked them, saying “this is the least greasy shish kebab I’ve ever had.”  Kabob to my American chums!

This recipe is in the Columbo cookbook. Shirley wasn’t in Columbo but her hubby Jack Cassidy was, so this is the suggested recipe for the episode Now You See Him. This recipe appeared in the Johna Blinn Celebrity Cookbook column, with two other Jack Cassidy favourites,  Rainbow Trout in a Pouch and Quickie Green Bean Casserole. Both of which are great.  Always good eating round at Jack and Shirley’s place I reckon.

Shirley Jones’ City Chicken

1 lb veal
1 lb beef, lean
1 lb pork loin
1 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper
1 egg, beaten
1.5 teaspoons milk or water
1/2 cup fine breadcrumbs (or cracker crumbs)
1/4 cup sweet butter (or margarine)
1 tablespoon minced onion
Few tablespoons of water or beef broth

Cut meat into 1.5 inch cubes. Sprinkle with salt and freshly ground pepper. Arrange beef, veal and pork on 6 skewers. Press pieces of meat closely together, forming the shape of a drumstick.

Dip sticks into mixture of beaten egg and milk (or water); then roll in breadcrumbs (or cracker crumbs). Brown drumsticks on all sides in melted butter (or margarine); remove to baking dish. Lightly saute minced onion in pan drippings. Add water (or beef broth) to cleanse skillet / frying pan. Pour over drumsticks in baking dish.

Cover, place in preheated 325 degrees F oven, 160 degrees C, until meat is tender (about 1 hour).

Serve with baked potatoes and broccoli with butter sauce.

Last time I made it, I halved the recipe and I almost used all of the 1/2 cup of breadcrumbs.  So if you are making the full recipe I would suggest having double the amount of breadcrumbs around the place just in case.  I used about 200ml of beef stock the second time I made it (again, with half of the quantities above).

I really, really like City Chicken – it’s mad, but good!

6 Responses to Shirley Jones’ City Chicken

  1. yinzerella 30 Jan, 2018 at 9:17 pm #

    City Chicken is totally a Western PA thing. She’s from Charleroi right outside of Pittsburgh.

    • Jenny 31 Jan, 2018 at 7:43 am #

      I see via the wonders of Google that in her autobiography Shirley writes about her mum saying, “She was a good cook, and her signature recipe was City Chicken—chicken, beef, and veal meatballs on a skewer, coated in bread crumbs, then put in the oven with vegetables.” Mmmmmmmm!!!

  2. Jenny 1 Feb, 2018 at 6:21 pm #

    Greg, this is the best thing I’ve ever seen. You know I’m going to have to buy one don’t you?


    • Greg 2 Feb, 2018 at 2:19 pm #

      It’s culinary history! In the US during the World Wars (and even before that, in The Great Depression), Chicken was more expensive than beef, pork, lamb, etc… On the farm, you raised your own of course…but in the city, it was a luxury. So “City Chicken” and “Mock Chicken” was born…and those little molds became popular. YOUR meat kabobs would be soooo adorable!

  3. Jenny 3 Feb, 2018 at 10:43 am #

    I have told Mr Rathbone that all I would like for my birthday this year is a City Chicken mold. Expect many a weirdly shaped meatball December onwards!

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