Sunday, May 9, 2010

The End of the Silkie Chicken

Fully feathered, the silkie chicken is the Mae West of birds. Seemingly plump in all the right places, with a comely posterior and platinum charm, she looks like something you’d want to take to bed, a cute and cuddly barnyard siren.

Stripped of her plumage, however, the silkie is a whole ‘nother creature, as I have described in previous posts. But I wasn’t prepared for further surprises when I unwrapped the package. A long scrawny neck dangled downward, ending in a sorry head with sadly cartoonish dead eyes. I let out a cartoonish “Eeeek!” Further investigation uncovered a pair of long legs ending in clawed feet (yeah, I know, what did I expect? cloven hooves? puppy paws?)

The chicken looked absurdly prehistoric, like an appetizer for a pterodactyl.

Then came hacking the little monster into six parts (breasts, wings, thighs), as called for in the recipe I’d copped from the Web, hoping it might eventually look something like this:

But no way can this creature be reduced to more than four parts. I had to settle for lopping off the legs and, with a mighty whack of a chef’s knife, splitting the breast in two. The whole experience was almost enough to convert me to a vegan diet on the spot.

Fortunately, for backup, I’d bought some organic chicken thighs, presuming those might turn out to be a good deal more edible. I’m going to spare you the recipe, because no one should have to go through this kind of ordeal unless your doctor swears the goddamn thing will cure back pain, shingles, and myopia (as well as the aforementioned premature ejaculation).

Suffice it to say, that you brown the bird, then cook it with onions, ginger, garlic, oyster sauce, soy sauce, sherry, and a few other things. I tried a little of the meat, which turns gray after slow simmering. It wasn’t all that bad, but if you insist on serving up such a thing, save it for obnoxious houseguests.
The link to the recipe, proffered with hesitation: I highly recommend using organic chicken thighs and adding a few sauteed vegetables at the end, such as peppers, snow peas, and/or broccoli.