A black-skinned chicken? Say it ain’t so. This was my first reaction while shopping at a new Asian market in my neighborhood. I have heard that chickens like this existed, but I have never actually come across one myself. There was no way I was going to leave the store with out one! Although there is something about this chicken that makes me uneasy, I was very curious to find out more about it. I learned that the Silky is a breed of chicken named for its fluffy plumage, which is said to feel like silk, and satin. They are a really cute breed of chicken because of this. It is also unknown exactly where or when these birds first appeared, but the most well documented point of origin is ancient China. Once Silkies became more common in the West, many myths were perpetuated about them. Early Dutch breeders told buyers they were the offspring of chickens and rabbits, while sideshows promoted them as having real mammal fur. But today there are many American farms that breed them, and I guess that’s how it landed on my plate.
So upon returning home and unwrapping the chicken, I saw that the entire chicken was a blueish-black color from head to toe. The meat was grayish-black, and I would be lying to you if I say I didn’t freak out a bit. I mean, it’s not everyday I eat meat that has that color. But being the adventurous cook and foodie that I am, I will not be scared of a bird!
One other thing about this chicken, is that it has very little breast meat and most of it is in the legs. So to use the entire chicken in a dish, I decided to go with a Thai coconut curry sauce in which I could simmer all the bird parts (minus the head and feet). The dish came out really good, the curry was very aromatic and tasty and the bird was almost like regular chicken but gamey. My girlfriend did not take to it, she hated the texture of the skin and could not get past it, haha! Oh well you can’t win them all…
1 whole silky chicken 5-6 pounds, cut up into pieces
3 Tbs coconut or canola oil (divided)
1 six inch stalk of lemongrass (crush the stalk with the side of a knife to release the aromatic oils)
1 small white onion, diced
1 Tbs finely grated fresh ginger (about a 1-inch nub of ginger)
2 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
1 red bell pepper, sliced into thin 2-inch long strips
1 yellow, orange or green bell pepper, sliced into thin 2-inch long strips
1 cup carrots sliced and cut into half moons
3 Tbs Thai red curry paste
1 can (14 ounces) regular coconut milk
3/4 cup chicken stock
1½ cups of trimmed green beans
2 tsp turbinado (raw) sugar or brown sugar
1 Tbs soy sauce
1 Tbs Sambal Oelek, spicy chili paste (optional, add more if you like spicy)
2 tsp rice vinegar
1 tsp salt, or to taste
Season the chicken with salt and pepper, then heat up 2 tablespoons of the oil over medium-high heat. Add the chicken pieces to the pan an sear on all side until they are lightly browned. Remove from the heat and set aside.
In the same skillet add the rest of the oil and heat over a medium high flame. Add the onion and a sprinkle of salt and cook, stirring , until the onion has softened about 5 minutes. Add the ginger and garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds( try not to burn the garlic), while stirring continuously. Add the bell peppers and carrots. Cook until the bell peppers are fork-tender, 3 to 5 more minutes, stirring occasionally. Then add the red curry paste and cook, stirring often, for 3-4 minutes.
Add the coconut milk, stock, chili paste (if using) and sugar, and stir to combine then add lemongrass stalk and seared chicken pieces. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat, for about 10-12 minutes then add the green beans . Reduce heat as necessary to maintain a gentle simmer and cook until the peppers, carrots and beans have softened to your liking, about 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Remove the pot from the heat and season with soy sauce and rice vinegar. Remove the lemongrass stalk and add salt, to taste. Divide curry and chicken into bowls and garnish with chopped cilantro. Can be served with Jasmine rice. Bon Appetit!