Photo: Shubert Ciencia, Flickr
A little black dress is always the go-to for high style. But a black chicken? It worked for chef Rick Moonen, who made it into a mousse for his stint on Top Chef Masters. Far from the pale yellowish tinge of its plain old chicken sisters, the Silkie may have fluffy pale feathers but its bones and flesh are the shade of onyx (it has a genetic combination that causes the color, as a result of melanin), and has a rich, gamey flavor to match. Some cooks say there's literally no flavor difference between traditional and black chickens. You'll have to judge for yourself. Will it look a little off-putting in your chicken divan? Of course it will. But it's almost Halloween after all, and, something about this chicken says macabre.
According to the Chinese, who have for millennia eaten black chicken (which in China is called wu gu ji, or black-boned chicken), putting the dark poultry into a stew or soup may be just the thing to cure a cold,cramps, or a headache. Some people have called it an anti-oxidant powerhouse -- a true superfood. But don't look for Silkies at your local Piggly Wiggly market. Urban Asian markets are where you'll find these midnight-colored chickens, but it's worth the search. As a very wise man once said, black is beautiful.