Thursday, June 14, 2007

Fear the Black Chicken

So, are you dying to know what it was like? First of all, when I got to the office this morning, a yellow stickie note was stuck to my phone with the words: Fear the Black Chicken. I assumed that Amanda left it there because she got in before me, but we figured out that it must have been Marcelo. After last night's stag he had to pick up something from the office and couldn't resist.

When I got home tonight, the black chicken was already roasting in the oven after getting a simple rubbing of vegetable oil. We wanted to keep it really plain so that we could taste the meat. I called Darcy from work this morning to ask him to slit the skin somewhere and take a picture of the uncooked meat. When raw, the meat is a dark, purplish colour like the raw skin.

We didn't know how long to roast it and we definitely didn't want to undercook it, so we kept the 1-1/2 pound bird in at 350 for 55 minutes. It smelled just like white chicken and was making lovely sizzling roasting sounds.

Even though the head and feet were long gone and the bird was roasted and smelling like food, I still felt strangely close to this chicken. It was like we had gone through something together, so even the cooked carcass seemed to have some residual personality.

When I managed to cut into it, I was a disappointed to see that the meat actually turns white when cooked. In my imagination, I pictured cutting into a jet black bird with jet black meat and bones. I think I was a bit naive. The bones also are not really dark either. The only dark parts are the skin and connective tissues, which are a sort of blue black colour. It looks like the black connective tissue sort of stains the bones so they are darker in some places and quite light in others.

The meat tasted, well, like chicken (sorry, couldn't resist). It was very lean, a bit on the dry side, and very mild. I expected some gaminess since it's such an exotic bird, but it was pretty plain. I can see why it is better to stew it or put it in soup. I ate two tiny slices of the scrawny breast and a little bit of a leg and then called it a day. Darcy couldn't eat any because he was so put off by the colour.

When Marcelo and I were talking about the chicken yesterday, he wondered why our city's frou frou Asian fusion cooks don't use it as an ingredient for its visual appeal. I can see now why they don't. It's pretty ugly. The purplish skin makes it like eating a bruise. It takes some getting used to. So, I guess this chicken is eaten mostly for its nutrients rather than its taste. That's an excellent reason to eat something, but I don't think I'll be having another one soon. But, what an adventure it has been.

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