“I never eat prunes myself.  Well, there was one time when Hobb chopped them up with chestnuts and carrots and hid them in a hen.  Never trust a cook, my lord.  They’ll prune you when you least expect it.” (DwD)

Black Hen, carved, w/carrot-chestnut-prune stuffing

Our Thoughts

So, as soon as we learned about black chickens, we knew we had to try one.  However, we didn’t realize that ours came with a head. Or with giant dinosaur feet. This made the preparation of the meal something of an adventure, and we mean the kind where it’s sort of unpleasant. We rolled up our sleeves, though, and soldiered on. The only solution was to cut that bird up until it looked like the sort of chicken we know and love, and so it stopped staring at us.

Eating this chicken is a strange experience. Your tastebuds say “chicken!”, while your brain can’t quite get over the color. The texture of the meat is somehow reminiscent of turkey, with a richer flavor than one gets with regular chicken. There isn’t a great deal of meat on one of these birds, but what you do find is tasty. Thankfully, the stuffing is absolutely YUM. Each flavor gets its own sort of showcase in your mouth, and each provides a nice, different texture from the others.

Bottom Line? A nice recipe, but next time we’ll put the stuffing in a normal chicken.

Hen on the Wall Recipe

Cooks Notes: We chose a black hen as sort of a culinary pun: black hen for black brothers. A regular chicken, or your choice of fowl, would also work equally well.


  • 1 whole chicken (we used a silkie, an Asian black chicken)
  • 1/4 cup each prunes, chestnuts, carrots, diced
  • 1 cup oats
  • ~1 Tbs. butter
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • breadcrumbs or a crunchy granola
Soak your oatmeal in the chicken stock until it is absorbed. Add your chopped carrots, prunes, and chestnuts, as well as the butter.  Work into the mix, and add breadcrumbs or granola until you have a consistency you like. It shouldn’t be too mushy, and scoopable. Fill the hen with stuffing and cook the bird as per its instructions. If you have leftover stuffing, you can roast it in the pan right along with the chicken.

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15 Responses to Hen stuffed w/carrots, chestnuts, and prunes

  1. gabigutz says:

    I can’t get over the picture to even look at the recipe… I’m used to chickens having heads and feet, but the color…. I never heard of black chicken before! I’m somewhat nervous about looking them up on google. Sounds great though!

    • nolaorbust11 says:

      I was lucky enough to get to be a taster for this dish…and now reading the commentary I find myself laughing aloud at the vibrant description of the experience. It was truly as described. I was started by the appendages not usually found on chickens sold in markets near me. The black somewhat alligator looking skin was a bit off-putting as well. But I jumped in, trying not to think about it, and was rewarded with what I thought to be a pleasant taste. Perhaps that is because I enjoy chicken gizzards and the flavor was rather the same though the consistency more like the chickens I am used to. I think I was the only one to have seconds!

  2. duckchick says:

    Wow, this looks amazing, and bizarre! I must try a silkie, just to say I have!

  3. acm says:

    I can’t wait to see what you do when you get to book 3 (with that wedding feast) — bring on the swan!
    great fun.

  4. melonfish says:

    You cooked a silkie – wow! there is a place in chinatown where you can pick your chickens live and they sell silkies. you just pick the one you want, they pluck it and kill it and you leave w/ a warm dead bird in a plastic bag. i have never eaten one though you are brave. Does the skin get crispy and good like a regular chicken? i eat a lot of oats, all manner of them but never in a stuffing, sounds great!

    • Needs Mead says:

      It was quite an experience, although we got ours frozen from Super 88, rather than, ah, fresh… :) With a little olive oil and salt, the skin does crisp up like a regular chicken, and the stuffing is lovely.

  5. It reminds me a bit of skirlie, the Scots dish that can be used as a stuffing. It doesn’t usually include prunes, though cock-a-leekie soup does. Oats are perhaps better served savoury than sweet, in my opinion.

  6. This was the main course at a recent dinner party my wife and I hosted. The chicken was good, of course, but the stuffing really amazed me. Fantastic stuff.

  7. studno5 says:

    Silkie- is taht how it is called in English?
    well the so-called silkie is the best kind of chicken you can get in Asia/ a particularly prized Chinese culinery ingredients. It is used as meat for herbal/medicinal soup with gochi seeds, roots and liquorice. highly nutriciuos,it tastes just like any chicken, dont get weird just by the colour of the skin.

  8. Kt says:

    Potentially stupid question- did you roast the chestnuts beforehand? Boston’s got another blizzard bearing down on us and I want to make sure I have my, er, ducks in order before the storm!

    • Chelsea M-C says:

      Oh Phooey! That’s the first I’d heard of the new snow front. Hmph.

      I did roast the chestnuts ahead of time, so they would be soft. Best of luck provisioning for the Great Storm! :)

  9. Vinz says:

    If I understand well, you had some issues to dress the chicken hadn’t you ?
    It’s not a big deal, cutting of the head (and the neck, kept to be put under your chicken while it’s roasting gently). About feet, the dinosaure’ ones lol, you may burn them above the gas stove until it bubble. Then it’s really easy to skin it of and cut only the “claws” with their attached phallanx :) Then you can cut off the feet and put them with the neck, under the chicken while it’s cooking.
    It had more flavors and cooking juices. :)

    I did know the black feet chickens, but not the black of flesh kinds ! I HAVE to taste that.

    Oh and by the way, I love your pun with the title of the meal. “Hen on the wall” haha. Translating that was funny x)

  10. Quantum Mechanic says:

    Looks awesome. Quick question: I was recently diagnosed with a gluten allergy, so breadcrumbs and most granola is out. Can you just use oats in the stuffing, or will they get too mushy? Any suggestions for a substitute that will add the desired texture?

    • Chelsea M-C says:

      I love oaty stuffings! I’ll work on a recipe before the holidays, but try adding some spelt or other GF bread to help with texture.

      • Quantum Mechanic says:

        Thanks so much! I did a Song of Ice and Fire Thanksgiving last year with my friends and your recipes were a big hit. Can’t wait to do it again this year!

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