Sunday, November 04, 2007

Black Chicken

If you have been reading for any length of time, you know we have been blessed with a college student from China named Leon. We just feel like Leon's been a part of our family forever, and we love our time with him. So, this past Saturday, when he offered to cook us an authentic Chinese meal - we were thrilled, once again, to have him here to share these things with us. Now maybe you all remember my "China Experience" - I almost NEVER ate anything other than a burger while we were in China (and always in our hotel!!) and then the one time I got real brave and ate out of the hotel and tried something authentic - I got SICK, so I have a lingering fear of these foreign foods - I have just never been that sick, before or since, and I hope to never be again. That is why, when I think of eating authentic Chinese food, I nearly break out in sweats. But I need to get over that fear - I know many others eat it and are fine, so this was my initial step to conquer that fear! Leon scoured the store to find just the right menu - he asked Joe and I what we thought of Pig's Feet - Honesty is always good, right?!?!? I told him that was probably not something that we would EAT on a daily basis, but we could sure try the soup - he is such a good sport, he sensed the hesitation there and decided on black chicken instead.

Of course, there is nothing anywhere near here for making authentic dishes, so we drove to a larger city nearby, and visited their local Chinese market. Stepping inside that shop brought back overwhelming memories of China- smells, sights, hearing the Chinese being spoken - it's all there. We love to visit there and it was even more fun with Leon running from item to item with a big smile on his face. I think for him it was like a piece of home and he loved every minute of it. So, we packed up our many food items that I can't even pronounce, much less tell you what they are, and headed for home. Leon could not wait another week to cook it, so he convinced us that he would make just one dish THAT day. He wanted to make the black chicken soup so that is what he sets to doing. We pulled a smaller-sized chicken out of the fridge - it was wrapped in plastic - and looked much like our cornish hens. As he began to peel back the plastic, I noticed that they weren't kidding- this chicken REALLY was black. I had never seen anything like it - Once I got over my initial shock, I watched Leon clean the chicken and proceed to drop it into the boiling water and spices. Now I have NOTHING against trying new things, and I trust Leon - he won't make something horrible - BUT I have to draw the line when he begins to drop the chicken in the pot - because THIS CHICKEN STILL HAD A HEAD AND FEET ON IT!!!! I told Leon kindly that there was just no way I could bring myself to eat this small creature as it swam there in my soup bowl looking at me and asked (ok, begged) him to PLEASE just remove the head and feet and I would be ok. I don't think he even understood why, but he kindly obliged me - that's just the kind of guy he is!! So we smelled this chicken simmering away all day - and I knew that Joe and I would be game to try it, but I wasn't so sure about the boys! Finally the hour came to try this soup - and I must say that the smell was incredible - I was excited to give it a try. I gently encouraged the boys to at least try it - and would you believe it - they each ate three bowls full!!! It was wonderful - So we say a hearty "THANKS" to Chef Leon - I still don't know the name of the soup - or how to pronounce it, but now we can't wait for the next dish!

29 comments:

The Shocks said...

Becky, that sounds delicious. We had pork and noodles for breakfast the other day at the Guangzhou airport. Very different breakfast food, but it was good. I'm glad you get to have this time with Leon. What province is he from?

Isabella's Mommy & Daddy said...

WOW...
I may loose some weight when I go to CHINA... I am a very picky eater...
My problem is that I don't like looking at different foods...
If I think it doesn't look like our American food..then I have a problem..I need a blindfold..
The soup actually looks yummy...
HOW FUN...
Have a Great Day...
Kim

Lady L said...

That is so cool that Leon made you authentic Chinese food. He is a definite God send to your family.

nikki said...

How fun it must be with Leon around - how nice for the whole family.
I remember how sick you were in China, so I congratulate you on your bravery in trying this authentic dish (although I also would've had him remove the HEAD of said black chicken)...

Steffie B. said...

I too, commend you for your bravery. I believe I was the first one that got sick in the group.....oh so terribly sick! Just the sight of that black chicken makes the hairs stand up on the back of my neck. Remember how they all hung in the shop windows????????
Bravo girl! ;)

Verna said...

How cool to have your own personal bit of China come and live in your town and teach you all so much. I would prefer the head and feet off my chicken too. Don't blame you there. And pig's feet, well, I was raised on a farm and know exactly what they walk in so that doesn't sound so good to me either. Maybe we will have to make another trip down to check out Chef Leon. How long will he be in town/at college??

holly m. said...

Oh, you brave, brave soul...

How does a chicken turn black??

Beckyb said...

BTW - Leon is from Shanghai. He's quite the guy - we love him!!

Beckyb said...

Holly - Joe says they are bred that way - Black Chickens - I know, news to me too. I didn't even want to contemplate how they got them black if they weren't born that way!!! By the way, the chicken WAS SO good, yes it tasted like chicken!!! :) but it was very strong - very tasty!!

Beckyb said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I decided to do a little investigation. I did a Google search for Black Chicken and it looks like Leon was on to something. Black Chickens are supposed to be twice as healthy as "normal" chickens. They have twice the amount of a very beneficial antioxidant. Black Chickens have black bones, skin and meat but they have white feathers. They are a pretty bird. He is another link to somone else that made a soup. Our soup looked just like this. http://live.usa.ph/2006/01/21/black-chicken-tinola/

Janet said...

WOW. That chicken looks so gross, but the soup looks delish. I would try it. But I'm with you, no head or feet. Ugh.

Mr.Brian said...

Yes I too would have to have the head and feet removed.I am not one to try anything to different.
Leon is such and amazingly special man.What a blessing he has been. As well as you have been to him.

jennifer said...

I am prepared to drop quite a few pounds when we travel to China. I am not an adventurous eater at all. Richard would eat anything, but is allergic to chicken of all things! Anything that has touched it is off limits. We'll make a great pair in China. I'll bring lots of peanut butter crackers. How sweet of him to cook for you. What a blessing to have him around!

Carey said...

Ok, that does bring back memories! A friend in our China group went out to eat and thought the soup would be safe...until she saw swollen chicken feet in the bowl afterwards! But she said it did taste good. Way to go to be adventurous! So glad Leon can spend time with you guys. You'll have to let me know where this Chinese grocery is.

LaLa said...

What a wonderful thing to have your own personal chef around. I miss the food in China but yeah...I don't really want my food to watch me eat it. I bet Leon thought "WHAT??" when you told him to remove them...too funny! I remember reading in "A House on Dream Street" a memoir about visiting Vietnam. A Vietnamese woman said when she visited America she was grossed out by mashed potatoes..all the butter : )

Laura Nipper said...

Wow I have never heard of a black chicken. That is so cool that he made you guys authentic chinese food. Cant wait to see more post on what else he ends up cooking for you guys.

Holly said...

Oh my this post brought back some memories of our food expirience in China......

kris said...

You know, I so love all kinds of ethnic foods, but I get a little nervous about authentic Chinese food (I was married to a Chinese man and had some I loved, but some left my stomach turning). That pic of the black chicken almost makes me want to just go back to my vegetarian ways! Glad you guys enjoyed his soup though, the final product looks good...

A Mom- In-W8ing said...

That is the first time I have heard of or seen a black chicken. I think I am going to be really hungry in China, lol!!

Smiles! :o)
Nikki – not an adventurous eater!

Connie said...

I'm with you, the black chicken... not pretty. Can't remember ever seeing anything like that on Grandpa Foss' farm. Glad the boys enyoyed it, but did Chloe eat any?

Anonymous said...

Can I say that I'm jealous??? Black mushrooms, baby bok choy... yum!
~Katie (incase you can't remember me, I only met you once, at Verna's church)

P.S. Chloe is getting so big!!! Cutie!!!

Mommy Spice said...

YOu are a brave, brave woman. I would have had to have the head and feet removed as well. I do have to say, it looks tasty, and I can almost smell the aroma over here.

eggrolls and chopsticks said...

You are so brave! I am glad that you liked it and now I wil have to see if our local Chinese market sells little chickens, covered in shoe polish.

kristi Hen said...

Becky, so enjoyed the story and it took me back to our china travels! I too got sick while there and commend you on your courage! What a blessing for Leon and for your family!

asiangarden said...

Looks yummy! Hey you would be surprised how good chicken feet soup is! ha ha My kids love it. The other day my daughter ate three bowls in a row!
I bet Leon was thrilled to be able to have some home comfort food. Oh about the pigs feet, it's not really the actual feet, it's more like a "ham hock" kind of a deal. And they aren't too bad either.
btw, got your link off of Anslee's mom's blog. lol

asiangarden said...

oh...he he one more thing....you know when you get wonton soup at a Chinese rest.? well......the make the brother with the whole chicken...feet, head and all! Just thought you might want to know!

asiangarden said...

I meant broth...duh!

Anonymous said...
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When you are harvesting your crops and forget to bring in a bundle of grain from your field, don't go back to get it. Leave it for the foreigners, orphans and widows. Then the LORD your God will bless you in all you do.
~Deuteronomy 24:19

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