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Black whole chicken?

mrbozo Jun 10, 2008 10:50 AM

I've noticed this on sale in the fresh poultry section of a local Chinese supermarket. What's up with these birds?

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  1. fromagina RE: mrbozo Jun 10, 2008 11:00 AM

    The meat of the black-feathered, blue-skinned Silky chicken is considered to have medicinal and aphrodisiacal qualities. You point out your live chicken of choice and it's butchered right there. The skin really IS blue!

    1. Miss Needle RE: mrbozo Jun 10, 2008 11:00 AM

      They're known as silkie chickens. While the skin and bones are black, they've got white feathers. In Chinese culture, they're known as being good to nourish the blood. So it's given to a lot of women after they've given birth. The meat is really tough and sparse. So people generally make soups and stews out of it as opposed to making something like fried black chicken. It's also about twice the price of regular chickens.

      7 Replies
      1. re: Miss Needle
        fromagina RE: Miss Needle Jun 10, 2008 11:03 AM

        There are also black-feathered ones. I see those most often in S.F. Asian markets. I wonder if the white one is the one given to new mothers. The Silky is a very attentive brooder and mother. I used to use them as my incubator chickens. Even the white ones have blue skin.

        1. re: fromagina
          kobetobiko RE: fromagina Jun 10, 2008 11:08 AM

          The ones with black feathers are not skilly chicken. Miss Needle is correct that the feathers are white and the skin is black (not blue).

          I think you are talking about another kind of chicken.

          1. re: kobetobiko
            fromagina RE: kobetobiko Jun 10, 2008 12:23 PM

            Yep.. not only are there Black Silkies, there are "Blue" Silkies! Some "fancy poultry " breeders call the black strain the Black Szechuan.

            1. re: fromagina
              mrbozo RE: fromagina Jun 10, 2008 12:35 PM

              Interesting stuff. Though the naked birds I saw were larger than 0.2 or 0.25 of "regular" size.

              1. re: mrbozo
                fromagina RE: mrbozo Jun 10, 2008 12:53 PM

                The black one shown in the photo was a regular-sized Szechuan Silkie. I didn't check to see if McMurrays sells the meat size. The ones I see in San Francisco are a bit more than twice the size of the little Silkie bantams I've had. The meat Silkie really isn't that big of a chicken compared to, say, the commercially raised Cornish crosses that will weigh 3 - 4 lbs at 8 weeks! I don't think those black Silkies would weigh more than 1 1/2 lbs and I bet they're older than 8 weeks. Hmmm.. I'm heading up to SF on the 19th.. maybe I'll get one and try it out. I'll report if I do.

          2. re: fromagina
            Miss Needle RE: fromagina Jun 10, 2008 11:09 AM

            Interesting. I haven't heard of the black-feathered ones. But SF Asian markets tend to be a bit more diverse than NY ones.

          3. re: Miss Needle
            kobetobiko RE: Miss Needle Jun 10, 2008 11:06 AM

            Miss Needle is absolutely right. The meat of black chicken is actually more flavorful and if you were to make soup out of black chicken, you can tell the noticeable difference in taste compared to normal chicken. It is believed to have a lot of nutritional values (in the Chinese medicine sense) and is often cooked with Chinese herbal ingredients or ginseng as tonic soups.

          4. mrbozo RE: mrbozo Jun 10, 2008 12:35 PM

            Thanks to all for the informative replies. So, soup is the best option? Has anyone had it and what do you think?

            1. WCchopper RE: mrbozo Jun 10, 2008 08:46 PM

              I was served this black chicken in a ginseng soup in Hong Kong for it's rejuvenating qualities. I'm not sure if it was the chicken or the ginseng that was supposed to help, but it was really good. They pointed out the live chickens in the market and they had long, fluffy white feathers.

              1. ipsedixit RE: mrbozo Jun 10, 2008 09:42 PM

                Makes great soup.

                Imparts a real earthy and woody flavor, that's a bit bitter but also subtlely sweet at the same time.

                Don't eat the meat -- too tough and sinewy.

                As others have said, it's supposed to be medicinal and very nourishing, esp. for nursing mothers.

                Literally translated, in Chinese they are described as "dirt chicken".

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