Black Chicken, WTF?

Usually throw a few chicken thighs or legs into the rice cooker if I can predict rain far enough in advance to buy some, otherwise it’s some form of canned fish added after cooking.

Tesco-Lotus had a special on both legs and thighs. The bins were picked clean (actually not clean, what with slimy pink water left behind) by the time I went shopping. Wandered over to the prepackaged poultry and saw double bagged small black semi-bird-shaped blobs marked ‘Black Chicken’. WTF?

I’ll try just about anything twice* so in the basket it went. If I didn’t want it maybe the dogs would. Got home, saw the landlady and asked her what I’d purchased. ‘Black chicken’ she said. Uh, yeah. I asked what made it black but she didn’t know. She did say it was a healthy food, good for the stomach.

Opened the bag carefully, expecting a goosh of black liquid. Nope. Hmmm … guess the bird absorbed the liquid and that’s what turned it black. Hacked it into the usual parts, added them to the rice cooker a little later than the usual time because the bird was small. Ding, rice is done. Bird parts come out of first so I can debone while the rice finishes.

The black penetrated the flesh farther than I expected. Cut some more and WTF? It’s black to the bone and the bone is black!** Decided to eat now, Google later.

It doesn’t taste just like chicken. A little gamey, a bit musky, a note like what the inside of a Chinese herb shop smells like, all on top of a background chicken flavor. Far leaner and stringer than any chicken I’ve ever eaten. It was good. And it was black.

Here are the parts I didn’t cook.

Black chicken are born that way, it’s not the result of processing. Read about it in the New York Times Dining and Wine section.

Silkie chickens are best known black chicken but my lunch was a different breed. How could I tell? Easy. Silkies have 5 toes, most chickens have 4.

* Why twice? First time is as much about expectation as the actual experience.

** If that’s not a song title or lyric, it should be.


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