City Chicken is something I might not ever have encountered had my family never transferred from my birthplace Illinois. This fantastic main course is crispy and full of flavor. It is said that City Chicken has its roots in Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Michigan, and New York during the Great Depression.
Just in case you have not heard of City Chicken, it is different cubes of meat placed on a skewer and it may resemble a chicken leg. For those who have experienced City Chicken, you just can’t help falling in love with the taste of each bite. In fact, every bite will have your mouth craving another. However, the old preparation of City Chicken via stovetop and oil was messy, and I wanted a better way.
I look for fast gratification, small messes, simple ingredients resulting in City Chicken cooked right. Of course, that means the meat just falls off the wooden skewer. Rather than fry, I use my Instant Pot. Instant Pot City Chicken quickly comes together with simple ingredients and less mess! This simple to recreate recipe is worth its weight in gold. Now it’s time to share the how-to-make Instant Pot City Chicken with you!
What is Instant Pot City Chicken
Different cubed cuts of meat combined and then placed on a skewer may resemble a chicken leg and yield a hearty comfort meal. What you won’t find in the mixture is chicken meat. Instead, most city chicken skewers are made with pork, veal, and beef cubes. That’s the beauty of City Chicken, its a culmination of many types of meat, not just one.
A Chicago Girl’s Reaction to City Chicken
Retracting what I originally said, ” I would never have been introduced to a fantastic main course of City Chicken” would not be true. My parents were from Pittsburgh and transferred to Chicago and back. Gramma Stella, my mom’s mom, prepared City Chicken, however, it was fried. Oil and a frying pan are not my things.
Times have changed. Instead of frying, I took her recipe from the frying pan and transitioned it to an easy, no-spatter mess, with a healthier twist. For those who have experienced City Chicken, you just can’t help fall in love with the taste of each bite. In fact, every bite will have your mouth craving another.
City Chicken cooked right means the meat just falls off the wooden skewer it is absolute bliss right? By my cooking standards, I’ve kept it simple, savory and authentic, without wasting time from pot to plate!
An Easy Meal
You can make Instant Pot City Chicken any night of the week because it is fairly easy to prep making it slightly effortless. Unlike those old days of frying it in oil, and cleaning up the spatter, you do not have ANY of that mess! Since owning an Instant Pot, my love affair with an old favorite has been reignited. No spatter, no real mess, instead, simple ingredients combined in an incredible kitchen appliance. This stainless steel, sleek-looking kitchen appliance is my go-to daily.
Never worry that this won’t turn out moist and delicious just worry about making enough! That’s right, the savory cubes of City Chicken meat will be one of your signature dishes. Since it is so tasty, most will consume more than a portion. Yum. Not only will your Instant Pot City Chicken win over the toughest in-home food critics it will win you over as well. Why? Because cooking in an Instant Pot offers fast gratification through its lightning speed results. After all, the quicker you can create and get it on the table, the faster those compliments of ‘Who is the best chef’ start flying in!
Making Instant Pot City Chicken
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By my cooking standards, I’ve kept it simple, savory and authentic, without wasting time from pot to plate! You can make Instant Pot City Chicken any night of the week because it is fairly easy to prep making it slightly effortless. Unlike those old days of frying it in oil, and cleaning up the spatter, you do not have ANY of that mess!
What I learned long ago is that good City Chicken should be fork-tender, not hard and chewy. Running an oven for long spurts of time is worthless and not a great option when there’s an appliance like an Instant Pot. Make meals faster and easier with less effort and less energy than using the oven. If you have the right ingredients mixed together and the right tools of the trade, it is possible to create really moist and fabulously fork-tender City Chicken.
Instant Pot City Chicken Recipe & Timing
Before I start, let me run through the prep and cook timing, so we are clear on how fast this is going to be. If you buy the meat already on skewers, Zero minutes meat prep. Breading takes about 2 minutes tops! Sauteing fast on each side, about 6 minutes for all. Right now you are just at 8 minutes in prep time. Once you seal the lid, it is an additional 24 minutes, and since you were sauteing, you should not have long to build the pressure. Total prep to cooking time should average around, 35 minutes. (8 Prep + 24 Cooking + 3 for pressure to build).
You can get the recipe at the end of the post, so bookmark, and print it.
What I really believe will happen is that you will love the recipe so much, and it is so easy to make, you will make it a few times and memorize it.
After all, 5 ingredients are nothing to remember, but they truly blend to make an outstanding City Chicken.
Choose your favorite cuts of meat and cube them. Use cuts like pork, veal, beef, etc. You can opt for any cuts of meat that are your favorite. Make sure you have breadcrumbs on hand. Pull out your Instant Pot. Yes, that is pretty much all there is to this. You will NOTE I did not use any egg in my breading. For those that want to use an egg for breading, you can. Simply whisk an egg, and dunk the meat into that first, then the breadcrumb mixture.
Putting it all Together
Skew Meat Cubes – about 3 healthy cubes per skewer. Fill a bowl with the bread crumbs. Next, use tongs and pick up a skewer of meat, turning meat and coating as you turn. The breading takes just minutes, and do make sure to shake off any excess. I use tongs, not fingers, it is quicker and cleaner. *Alternatively, you could use a baggie to bread (do be mindful the skewer could poke a hole in the baggie!) When you are done you will have a platter stacked and waiting to be prepared. Don’t worry the Instant Pot can take this task on easily, you will be doing this in segments. This is the part that takes the most time and really it’s about 5 minutes total to get these all turned and seared, that’s it!
I told you, fast, easy and suddenly, dinner to your plate!
Instant Pot Saute Time
Remove each coated piece to a platter. Continue to coat all skewers and return to the plate. It’s now about to be all about the Instant Pot. Turn Instant Pot On to Saute and put Olive Oil in the liner. Now, transfer about 6 skewers at a time into the Instant Pot. You are going to saute these, sealing in the juices, turn to all 4 sides, just quickly sauteing. Remove the first batch of six and place it on a platter.
Next, and you may need to add more olive oil (add 2 more tablespoons if necessary). Once all the skewers have been seared/sauteed, transfer from the plate and replace all into the Instant Pot. Now it is time to do an ‘S’ formation across the meat with the Gravy Master. Then, add in the water. Turn off the mode from Saute.
Place lid atop Instant Pot. Seal. Last, choose Meat/Stew and use the minutes that show as 24 minutes. That is all you have to do. When the meat is finished cooking, you can choose to use the Natural Release Method. Of course, you can force release with a wet washcloth covering release so steam does not spew everywhere.
Enjoy Your Delicious City Chicken
Enjoy! Fast, fabulous and fork-tender! Now there are a few things I can tell you that will make it easier. You don’t have to use Olive Oil, use your favorite oil, we prefer Olive Oil. Next, do not saturate with more water, more is not better it is just more. The Gravy Master will do its thing and the meat will be super tender and taste amazing. If you prefer to not use skewers, just used cubed meat and do the whole process. I use skewers for portions.
The bread crumbs can be seasoned, plain, or panko, this is all preference. Panko is not your friend when making City Chicken. City Chicken becomes ‘soggier’ after this cooking with it. YUCK. Basically, you are dusting the cubes of meat, not coating, unlike fried chicken. However, as referenced above, you can dunk this into a whisked egg, then breadcrumbing, the taste will alter a bit, but you can do it.
If you’re looking for more unique recipes for your Instant Pot, check out my Instant Pot lasagna recipe!
Print Your Recipe Here
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