Black chicken, oh yeah, the crown jewel of women’s health in Chinese medicine and food therapy. Yes, the skin is black, the bones are black, and even the meat has a blue-black hue. In Chinese medicine, the color black is associated with the Kidneys, and the Kidney’s are the source energy for the whole body.
Kidney’s are also largely responsible for the reproductive system. So by association, and the law signatures, black chicken is also very good for the reproductive system. It is always recommended for women post partum, to nourish the body, and replenish qi and blood after giving birth. This same property of strongly nourishing Kidney qi and blood also make it great for the elderly or people recovering from serious illness. Black chicken is a Silkie chicken. Yes, those ridiculously cute ones with big fluffy bursts of pom pom feathers. They contain double the amount of the amino acid carnitine than other chickens, and may be another explanation for it’s nourishing properties.
The meat is a little gamey, but as a soup it makes a rich broth. The recipe here includes mushrooms and ginger, further increasing it’s immune enhancing properties. This recipe is also from the lovely blog of Henry McCann, and is great for anybody to eat during the colder days in January. The nourishment of qi and blood is important for anybody during the winter months, when we need build our stores of energy to use in the year to come.
Black chicken can be found in Chinese markets pretty easily. They are in the frozen section, often imported from Canada. I’ve never found them fresh, though I do have a dream of starting a Silkie farm and selling them to acupuncturists for their patients. If anybody’s got some land and would like to be a partner here in the bay area, hit me up.
Black Chicken Soup with Carrot
- 1 black chicken
- 1 + 1 large carrot
- 1-2 oz mushrooms (such as shiitake, or dried Chinese mushrooms)
- 1-2oz water chestnuts
- ½ oz black wood ear mushrooms
- salt to taste
- If using fresh water chestnuts first peel, wash, and cut into pieces; soak wood ear mushrooms until soft, and soak other mushrooms until soft (if using dried)
- Cut up chicken into large pieces (leaving bones in), and cut 1carrot to chunks
- Put chicken and carrots into a pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil, skim the foam off the top, and then simmer for 3-4 hours. Check water levels every so often, and add water to keep the levels above the chicken. You can also put this in the crock pot over night on low, or if you are an instant potter…use that. I like slow cooking my broth better, but if you prefer the pressure cooker, have at it.
- Strain broth. Let chicken pieces cool for a minute or two, and then remove the meat and return to the broth.
- Add mushrooms, water chestnuts, and another chopped carrot to the broth and chicken. Bring to boil once more, then simmer again for about 20 minutes.
- Add salt to taste