Sunday, November 12, 2017

Detroit Style City Chicken



City Chicken is a Polish dish that we had at virtually every holiday meal when I was a kid.  I have made it several times as an adult, using recipes I found on the internet, but I'm pretty sure my mother and grandmother never used Italian seasoned breadcrumbs or, God forbid, panko.    My memory is saltine cracker crumbs.   Also, my mother seasoned all pork and chicken with paprika...it was her recipe secret weapon, along with Lipton French Onion Soup mix.   Traditionally, city chicken is made with equal parts pork and veal, which was cheaper than chicken when thrifty Hamtramck ladies made it, but veal was expensive in the 1970s so my mother rarely used it.   So yesterday, as a request from a friend who was looking for a recipe for city chicken, I set out to make it like my mom would have made it.   I did skip the French Onion soup mix; instead I went for chicken stock.  My mom used French Onion Soup mix in virtually every recipe she made....from meatloaf to stuffed cabbage to chip dip when the ladies came over for a card party. 

Detroit Style City Chicken
Makes 8 sticks

3 lb pork loin, cut into 1 inch pieces (or equal parts pork and veal)
1 t. salt
1 1/2 t. onion powder
1 1/2 t garlic powder
1 1/2 t sweet paprika
2 c. vegetable oil
2 eggs
2 T milk
1 c. flour
1 c. saltine cracker crumbs (put 28 crackers in a ziplock bag and smash them with a rolling pin)
1 can chicken broth


Mix salt, onion powder, garlic powder and paprika in a large bowl.  Add meat and toss to coat thoroughly.   Thread meat onto 8 6 inch skewers.   Preheat oven to 325 F.   In a large Dutch oven, heat oil to 350 F.   While oil and oven is heating, bread meat.   Beat eggs and milk in a shallow bowl.   In a second bowl, pour flour, and a 3rd bowl, the cracker crumbs.  Dip meat sticks in flour, then egg, then breadcrumbs.

Once all meat is coated, brown in hot oil until golden.   Then place the skewers in a roasting pan like this


If you don't have one of these just like Babcia, you can use a 13x9 pan covered tightly with aluminum foil.  Pour half the can in chicken broth in the bottom, and bake in the oven for an hour.   Use the pan drippings mixed with a bit of flour and the remainder of your broth to make a pan gravy.    To quote Sharon Stachurski, Aux. President of the Polish Century Club in Sterling Heights, in her version of the recipe, "I usually plan on 1 for women and 2 for men…. I usually make a few extra just in case. Leftovers can be frozen for several months and reheated.   When making city chicken, I think it is better to make a large quantity and freeze some since they are so much work and mess to begin with…."  so maybe you want to make extra? Check out some other of their great Polish recipes here.

I think I will make this for Christmas.   Smaczne!  

Tuesday, November 07, 2017

Delicious Glazed Nuts



It has been over 4 years since the original Selma Cafe closed.....quintessentially Ann Arbor, it was how I spent most ever Friday morning for 4 years...eating breakfast with strangers.   I made many friends at Selma, still eat breakfast on Fridays with a handful of special ones, and it was how I got the recipe for these spiced nuts.    One of the guest chefs (and often expediter) Dan Vernia was the chef for a while at an Ann Arbor restaurant called the Raven's Club, and I tasted these great nuts on a charcuterie plate he served me there once.   Sadly, it's no longer on the menu, and he no longer works there, but he gave me the recipe.

Pecan/Nut Coating

1 t. salt
1/2 t. black pepper
1 t. Cholula hot sauce
1/2 t. cumin
1/4 t. cayenne
1/2 t. smoked paprika
1/4 t. thyme
1/3 c brown sugar
2 T. water
4 c. nuts

Preheat oven to 350F.  Cover a cookie sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray.

Add all ingredients except nuts to a saute pan and heat until the sugar dissolved and mixture is bubbling and reduced until thick.   Add nuts and mix.   Pour nuts onto the cookie sheet and spread out evenly.   Bake for 5-10 minutes until lightly browned.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Corn Grits Corn Bread


There is winter in the air here this weekend.   It's been chilly...the last of the leaves are coming down, as is their custom, right before Halloween.   I enjoy my "empty test", but I really miss my cherubs this time of year.   When they were little, it was all costumes and candy.  When they were older, it was marching band and football and drama club.   Now, it's just my husband and I....but I still like to carve a pumpkin....


 My hubby went out to do some hunting, so I stayed in to make some chili and some cornbread.  I have some fantastic grits from Kentucky I got on a business trip and I wondered if they could be used in cornbread....the answer is they can!   This is how I did it...

Corn Grits Corn Bread

1/2 cup milk
1 Tablespoon vinegar
2 T butter
1/4 cup cornmeal
1/4 cup stone ground grits
1/2 cup flour
1 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 egg
1/4 cup vegetable oil

Optional: 3 T chopped peppers, hot or sweet

Mix milk and vinegar, set aside until thickened.  Place butter in  8 inch cast iron skillet in an oven set to 425F to preheat.  Mix all dry ingredients in a bow with a whisk, in another bowl, mix  egg, veg oil and milk mixture.  Pour wet ingredients into dry and mix until combined.   Add peppers and stir.  Pour into hot skillet and bake for 15 minutes.