This past Halloween, we were lucky enough to be given a few Silkie chickens. For those unfamiliar with the Silkie, it is a breed that has roots in ancient China and is known for it’s fluffy plumage (which is said to feel like silk) and it’s black skin and meat.
Asian cuisines consider Silkie meat a gourmet food. The Chinese especially value the breed, and it’s a common ingredient in Japanese, Cambodian, Vietnamese and Korean and Malaysian dishes. In the 7th century, Chinese medicine believed that cooking chicken soup made with Silkie meat could cure a plethora of ills. A few fusion restaurants in cook it as a part of traditional American and French cuisine.
I have to say, processing such a small bird (they run 1 to 2 pounds) was a challenge, mentally and physically. The result was nothing short of delicious and we hope to make the Silkie available every Fall for whatever you celebrate. Many thanks to the McMeen family for letting some of their roosters go! The recipe I used is below and is adapted from a Peter Klein recipe:
Black Skinned Silkie With Coconut Sauce
- 1 1 1/2 -pound black-skinnedchicken, head and feet discarded, cleaned, rinsed and quartered
- 4 cups light chicken stock
- 1 cup Chinese rice wine (I used a creamy saki)
- 1 inch-long piece of ginger, peeled and sliced
- 1 small onion, peeled and quartered
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
- 1 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon minced ginger
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon Thai red curry paste
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 13 1/2-ounce can coconut milk
- 1 zucchini, trimmed, peeled, and cut into long julienne (I used eggplant for an all black theme)
- 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
- ¼ cup chopped fresh basil leaves
- In a small heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine chicken, stock, wine, ginger, onion, garlic, five-spice powder, and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook, covered, until chicken is very tender, 1 to 1 and 1/2 hours. Remove chicken and set aside. Strain and reserve 1/2 cup of cooking liquid.
- Place a heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat, and add oil. When hot, add ginger and garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in curry paste, tomato paste and coconut milk. Add chicken, reserved cooking liquid and a pinch of salt.
- Cover and bring to a gentle simmer. Add zucchini and simmer just until cooked, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in lime juice and transfer to a serving dish. Garnish with chopped basil, and serve.