Silkie Black Chicken

January 11, 2009

I love trying new foods and get very excited when I discover one in a supermarket. When I travel to a new country, I often spend hours wandering the aisles of local markets. And, I'm an ambitious eater, however, every once in awhile I find something that gives me pause, silkie black chicken is one of those items. I've been seeing them in the freezers of Asian markets for years...small, black, vacuum packed, and mysterious. So I did some research and really couldn't find much information on how they taste or how to cook them. I did find a pretty good article about silkies in the New York Times from a couple years ago. Apparently they are prized in Chinese cooking for medicinal properties, specifically for women. Being half-Jewish, I'm a firm believer in the curative powers of chickens and the more I learned about these things the more interested I became....not only do they have black skin, but the bones are black and the meat is gray! So we bought one, and not finding many recipes, I decided to prepare it in an Italian dish call Pollo al Mattone, which I love. Unfortunately, the result was less than appetizing. The meat was tough and the flavor was gamey....with an visual odd aesthetic making the whole thing hard to eat. Overall an interesting, if failed experiment. At some point I will get up the courage to buy another one, but this time I'll follow a more traditional soup recipe.


Silkie Black Chicken on Foodista



_ts of [eatingclub] vancouver's picture

This is the only way we make sikies at home: by braising it in a ginger, soy sauce and sesame liquid.

Thumbbook's picture

Looking at that chicken, others may think it was marinated in some ink or color, Silkies with their furry feathers on, are cute! although I never thought about eating them myself. Goodluck to you when you try to make them again! Hope you get a great recipe for this one!

Betsy Dorfman's picture

I can't remember (must have repressed it) what recipe we used, but we had essentially a repeat of your experience with the silkie. Purchased one with great interest in LA's chinatown, gave it every culinary advantage...Only to find that the grey meat was both unappetizing to look at and a dud to eat. And we basically never met a fowl we didn't like, until then.

Ours started out alive, in the live poultry market, so freshness was not the issue. They are adorable when alive, so perhaps that is the best way to interact with them!

The Duo Dishes's picture

This is the second time we've come across a newbie's attempt to master the silkie. How brave! We've not sure we're up to that challenge yet. We did notice the other person went with a traditional chicken soup, and according to them, it was great. Maybe you'll give it another try soon!

BHestir's picture

Just came home from Chinatown with a Silkie in the bag. Thought I would look for recipes and ran across this discussion. No recipe follows, but perhaps this will guide the adventurous. And let me encourage you to not give up on this lovely little delight. Soup IS the way to go. Slow-cooked until the meat falls off the bone. Garlic, ginger, root vegies, greens. Use your imagination. The chicken soup that someone's gramma used to give them for a cold was almost certainly the whole chicken, because the nutrients found in feet, beaks, and other cartilaginous areas actually do help cure what ails you. When handled in the way the silkie imparts a wonderful rich flavor to the broth and after that you can hardly go wrong. The meat? Well it is grey, and can be stringy. But to my taste, after you have captured the essence in your stew it is a secondary issue.

Barnaby Dorfman's picture

Sounds wonderful! Please share you successes with us and add your recipes to Foodista:

Stephanie's picture

I have to agree with BHestir. I live in Beijing where the silkies are available in every grocery, and they are used here almost exclusively for soups.

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