Have you heard of city chicken? Maybe because it’s a regional dish (Pittsburgh friends, have you had this?), but when I heard the dish mentioned in the film Julie & Julia (back in 2009) by The Joy of Cooking author, Irma S. Rombauer, I assumed it was, well, chicken.
But, to my surprise, Wikipedia informed me that city chicken (also known as mock drumsticks or mock chicken) is actually made from pork posing as chicken.
It is a depression-era recipe birthed out of thrifty necessity (pork was much cheaper than chicken in most cities, hence the name) and a fascination with the (at the time) fancy, upper class, restaurant fried chicken.
Pork cubes and scraps were molded together around a skewer to form a “drumstick” shape, breaded and fried (or baked), and served with gravy.
Vegan recipes constantly try to replicate traditional meat dishes, so what better recipe to go vegan than an already “mock” dish? So, here for your cooking (and comfort eating) pleasure is Vegan City “Chicken” with Mushroom Gravy. Bon appétit!
Vegan City “Chicken”
- 1 lb. seitan
- Dash of pepper
- 4 six-inch wooden skewers
- 1 garlic clove, halved
- 1/4 cup olive oil
Pierce seitan onto skewers to form a “drumstick”, and season with pepper. Rub the bottom of an enameled cast iron pot or pan with the cut side of a clove of garlic. Reserve garlic for later use.
Heat 1/4 cup olive oil over medium high heat. When the oil is hot but not smoking, add the skewers to the oil and allow to brown until golden and crispy on all four sides, about 1 minute per side.
Remove from pan and set aside.
Vegan Mushroom Gravy
- 8 ounces mushrooms
- 1 cup chopped white onion
- 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup Merlot wine
- 3 1/2 cups low sodium vegetable broth
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons whole wheat
- 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
In a large skillet over medium-high heat, bring 1/2 cup broth to a simmer. Add onion and garlic and cook for about 4 minutes or until onion is translucent. Stir in mushrooms, rosemary and thyme and continue to cook about 2 minutes or until mushrooms release their liquid and start to become tender.
Add wine and cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in remaining 3 cups broth and bring to a simmer.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together tamari, yeast and flour to form a thick paste. Add mixture to skillet about 1 teaspoon at a time, whisking constantly to make sure paste dissolves. Bring to a boil and boil 1 minute, stirring constantly.
Stir in pepper and serve immediately over prepared city “chicken”. Garnish with fresh rosemary, and enoy!