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Has Anyone Ever Roasted or Fried A Silky Chicken?

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99 Ranch has silky chickens (the ones with the blue-black skin and flesh) on sale this week for $8.00 a bird. I've never cooked a silky before, though I am aware it is eaten in Asian countries a lot more than in North America, until lately when our Asian population has grown. I can ONLY find on-line recipes for (surprise surprise) Asian recipes using it.

My interest in whether it's a good bird for roasting and/or frying is because I'm so sick of buying Tyson, Perdue, etc agribusiness chickens that I can't see straight but I'm also too damned cheap to pay $16 to $24 for a free range organic chicken. Seems to me any silky chickens getting to market have probably never even heard of Tyson and that ilk!

So.... Has anyone ever roasted one of these chickadees? Fried it? How did it turn out? Thanks!

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  1. Here's a link to a black chicken thread that began in 2002 and ended just a few months ago. I prowled around looking at different threads, but don't see any mention of roasting or frying. I actually remember that 2002 thread and thinking "what next??" http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/2892...

    1. I have not but it has to be better than the toxin filled agribusiness birds you have been eating.
      Personali y find 15 dollars cheap for a good healthy bird from whom we get two meals for each of us., less than four bucks a meal.

      1. This is a tough bird - you'd be better of braising or sous-vide rather than roasting or frying.

        3 Replies
        1. re: wattacetti

          It would make an impressive chicky marengo!

          1. re: OCEllen

            Agreed!

          2. re: wattacetti

            I soup them only.

          3. Thanks, everybody! And for the links too. Of the recipes I've found on-line, one of the calls for two chickens and something like FIFTY EIGHT cloves of garlic, and a baguette of French bread... Braise chicken and garlic, then spread the garlic on the bread and slice the chicken... Sounds like a great recipe next time I invite a vampire to dinner...

            The flavor sounds interesting. From another thread, avgolemono is dancing in my head. Granted, a weird color schemed avgolemono, but... Black chicken, I use carrots in mine, and maybe, as long as I'm in an Asian market, I'll pick up some gorgeous (green) bamboo rice, or maybe black rice (or would it clash with the chicken?) or.... or.... or....

            Yup. I think I'm gonna give these birds a try. I am really burned out on agri-chickens! I have an old recipe I created around 30 years ago for chicken breasts with zucchini and oranges that I haven't made in a while. I picked up a bag of frozen skinless boneless chicken breasts... The breast HALVES are the size of a small country ham! How many hormones did that take? So maybe we'll switch to silkies around here. Either that or I'm gonna start trying to convince the neighbors that my dog clucks and raise my own!

            Let's see...
            Rainbow avgolemono
            black chicken and spinach dumplings
            DARK coq au vin, or maybe white wine and call it black and white?
            And maybe bone a couple and sous vide a galantine????

            But I'll start with just a couple to be sure I like them....

            Again, thanks!!!

            1 Reply
            1. re: Caroline1

              just to be clear and not that i am defending big ag in anyway, but birds are not given hormones. their feed contains low-level antibiotics, which accelerates growth. it was an unexpected side effect when they started dosing the birds a few decades ago and now is standard practice.

              canada allows this too. all bets are off if the birds are coming from china.

              the silkies are for braising or soups. they aren't suitable for roasting, baking or frying.

            2. The first time I tried a silky I roasted it. It was awful, even though the flavor was good, because it was so tough. Makes a great chicken soup though. I love the blue bones!

              3 Replies
              1. re: EricMM

                Good to know. Thank you! I'm thinking that the way that I make avgolemono just might work well with a silky. I put the chicken in a snug fitting lidded pot, toss in a rough cut onion and some carrots, then simmer the bird until it is nearly falling off the bone but still together enough to lift out and place in a roasting pan, then tuck it in a really hot oven to crisp the skin while I do the lemon and egg thing with the heavily riced broth. It's the method I picked up from Vaso, my landlady, when I lived in Greece. The rice "porridge" is served as the first course, then the chicken with the carrots tucked around it as the main. The silky flavor sounds fantastic... But how appetizing is crisped blue-grey skin going to look? Damn, I'm so full of food prejudices... Shame on me!

                1. re: Caroline1

                  I'm curious whether you'll be able to crisp it up. We make soups out of the silky's all the time and the one thing I note is that it seems pretty lean, ie minimal fat layer under the skin. Just not sure if you'll be able to crisp it. But please let us know how it turns out!

                  1. re: FattyDumplin

                    do you eat the meat? or just use the birds as a broth ingredient?

              2. <Seems to me any silky chickens getting to market have probably never even heard of Tyson and that ilk!>

                True because they're probably from China. I'm not sure which is better.

                4 Replies
                1. re: seamunky

                  Check the label. My local Asian market (far away from you, though) carries silkies from Canada.

                  1. re: seamunky

                    Not to worry! I just called 99 Ranch Market, my local branch of that huge Asian market chain, and asked the butcher about the country of origin for their silky chickens, China or Canada? The butcher's reply was, "Canada! Don't worry about such food items being from China. We only stock fresh proteins from responsible sources." Soooooo, silkies for me...! '-)

                    1. re: Caroline1

                      Nice! You've inspired me to inquire at my local asian market.

                      1. re: seamunky

                        Here's where you can buy a live or freshly killed domestically raised silkie in San Francisco,
                        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/915128

                  2. Silkies are for making soup, and typically the meat is not eaten. Your results from roasting or frying will be pretty similar to trying to roast a spent laying hen stewing chicken. And Canadian silkies usually run about 2 pounds or so, and less than 3 pounds. They're pretty boney. If you want one of the Chinese breeds raised domestically to roast or fry, then get Loong Kong, Vikon, or yellow-crowned chicken, if your store carries them. And be forewarned that none of those are raised to have a lot of breast meat.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: Melanie Wong

                      Melanie, you have lighted a torch of hope in my breast! I am soooooooooooo sick of chickens with giant breasts that make a Butterball turkey look wimpy! On ad whim I bought a pack of IQF Tyson skinless/boneless chicken breasts at Sam's club. When I opened the pack, I was shocked! One half of a chicken breast that is ten inches long and weighs more than a half pound is NOT a delicious and natural thing! LOL! I cannot imagine trying to pound one of those monstrosities down into a pallard! My arm would drop off! And then there are the two little tubs of "chicken livers" I bought with the intention of making pate... They were HUGE! Not a good sign if you want to limit chemicals and "agr5ibusiness" from your diet!

                      So you have given me hope, Melanie! I'll ask my butcher at 99 Ranch if they have any Loong Kong, or Vikon chickens on hand. BIG thanks!

                      1. re: Caroline1

                        Here's more about Vikon chicken. It's a Cornish and Plymouth White Rock cross.
                        http://www.arktimes.com/ArkansasBlog/...

                        Loong Kong chicken
                        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/35225

                        1. re: Melanie Wong

                          Thank you!

                    2. So.. 4 months later, what's the verdict? Did you try actually roasting the chicken? How did it tun out?

                      17 Replies
                      1. re: VitoHGrind

                        Ooooops! I just discovered your question! I guess silky chickens on sale is a big deal here in Plano because by the time I got to the store they were sold out! Since then I've done more research on line and there is a HUGE void of fried silky chicken recipes out there, so I've pretty much abandoned the idea. It seems logical to me that given the great creativity of millennia of fabulous Chinese cooks, if there was a way to make delicious fried or roasted silky chicken there would be lots of recipes up for grabs. It appears that silky chickens of any age have much in common with much older chickens of other breeds. It seems they are best stewed. Should the silkies ever go on sale again and there are still some available by the time I get to the store, I may give silkie chicken and dumplings a shot. We'll see... I'm mildly curious about any marked flavor difference, but it's not at the top of my bucket list by a long shot. '-)

                        1. re: Caroline1

                          I raised a few once along with some other breeds.
                          The silkies had to be braised to death and even then the meat was so stringy it wasn't edible.
                          Silkies in Asia are raised more for medicinal reasons than for every day eating.

                          1. re: Puffin3

                            I once asked a Chinese guy about how they prepare the silky.It's considered medicinal, and made into soup. The soup is reduced until it is really thick. The silky is discarded, and the soup sipped in small bowls.

                            1. re: Puffin3

                              I just had some in Beijing... The soup was absolutely delicious... the silky cut up roughly in the soup right through the bones and what little meat the bird had was dry (everyone I know who has tried it has told me its dry). The soup broth however was one of the best Ive ever had.

                              I asked a lot of locals where to get it and they all laughed and said its usually just for pregnant women.

                              1. re: Puffin3

                                This is what it looks like in soup.

                                 
                                 
                                 
                                 
                              2. re: Caroline1

                                Thanks for getting back! Well, it seems I too will have to let the dream die or at the least be shelved for a while.

                                Thanks to kpax for the pics. It does look like a very hearty and delicious soup.

                                1. re: VitoHGrind

                                  It's common in China to force feed the bird all sorts of medicinal herbs etc for a week or so until it's basically dying of starvation. Then the whole bird guts and all are simmered to make the broth. The 'insides' are opened and mixed in the broth.
                                  Yum yum!

                                  1. re: Puffin3

                                    Doesn't sound like something that would entice me to beg for second helpings, let alone firsts, but I am wondering about the flavor of the chicken itself. Seems to me that to get delicious chicken broth you have to start with delicious chicken! But obviously boiling and/or braising and/or frying turns it into tough stringy rope. Had that happen once with a large bison roast. So now I'm wondering what a little sous vide magic might do...? If I can use sous vide to turn brisket into amazingly tender medium-rare steak what kind of magic could it perform with a silky chicken??? hmmmm... Maybe next time I see silkies on sale at 99Ranch I'll give it a shot...

                                    1. re: Caroline1

                                      brisket is fatty and full of collagen. silkies are small and very lean.

                                      am unsure why you seem determined to defy techniques 100s of generations of chinese cooks happily embrace? if it was delicious fried/roasted/baked, they would serve it that way. the brothy soup is made and most often the meat is discarded because it's stringy and unpalatable.

                                      1. re: hotoynoodle

                                        Exactly. The meat is fed to the cats.

                                        1. re: hotoynoodle

                                          Yup.

                                          The meat, while it tastes like chicken, doesn't taste exactly like chicken. It's kind of... sour and gamey, for lack of a better way to describe it. It's not the kind of flavour I'd go back for seconds on. Really.

                                          1. re: hotoynoodle

                                            hmmm... Most curious. Some here have claimed the broth was delicious, and by their report they HAVE eaten it. As to why I may be "determined to defy techniques of 100s of generations of Chinese cooks happily embrace" PLEASE tell me how many of those cooks practiced souse vide cooking?????

                                            I rest my case! '-)

                                            Besides, when they are on sale they run about $7.00 a pop. If that is all the money I will waste on food the rest of my life, that will be a freaking miracle!!!

                                            1. re: Caroline1

                                              Sous vide does not toughen because temps are kept low and cooked slowly. You may recall the very succulent texture of Cantonese poached chickens that are alternated between hot water (below boiling temperature) and cold to slow down the cooking and condition the texture of the skin . . . not that different. I routinely cook my stocks overnight set below boiling temperature or cook them by the Chinese double-boil method which is also very gentle on textures. I can assure you that black chicken flesh is still stringy even when handled in the gentlest of manners. I'm one who routinely tosses the meat that has been used to make chicken soup, after infusing all the flavor into the stock, and then I poach a second fresh (non-silky) chicken in the stock if I want some meat in soup.

                                              1. re: Melanie Wong

                                                Good to know. Thanks, Melanie.

                                                1. re: Caroline1

                                                  Contrary to most of these post there are some authetic chinese restaurants in Beijing that serve just the meat and they serve it cold and it (like all other accounts here) apparently isnt great and is quite dry. My friend wrote about it a few weeks before I tried it which is why I went out searching for it. The link to his blog where there is a pic and description is http://masticationmonologues.com/2014...

                                                  In Beijing I noticed that silky meat is slightly more expensive than regular chicken meat at the grocery store.

                                                  1. re: Caroline1

                                                    For what its worth, I sometimes eat the meat from these black chickens after its been boiled for soup. It's not great, but it's not terrible either. I do usually salt it or add soy sauce / sesame oil as the meat doesn't have much flavor. That being said, I actually don't mind the texture so much, which as others have noted is largely devoid of fat, kind of stringy and chewy. But I'm also one who doesn't generally prefer fattier cuts. If you're interested, there is another type of chicken also often used for soups, which I know as old mother hens. They tend to be even more chewy and again very light on fat. But I love boiling these for soup and then gnawing on the meat / skin / bones. I think ti mgiht actually be more interesting to try than the silkie. Good luck!

                                                2. re: Caroline1

                                                  Then go ahead and SV a silky. Then come back and tell us how succulent and delicious the bird was. LOLOL!
                                                  The birds/broth are used as 'medicine' in China.