When it comes to chicken, are you a leg or thigh lover? We all tend to have a preference. But if you limit your thinking to just those two parts of your cooked bird, it’s time to change your thinking. Chefs have known for centuries that the best parts of a chicken are the chicken oysters. Keep reading to find out more about these delicious pieces of dark meat.
What are chicken oysters?
Chicken oysters are two circular-shaped, small pieces of dark meat on the back of the bird, near the thigh. They are often overlooked; however, experienced cooks regard oyster meat to be the best part of a chicken, thanks to its tender texture and mildly sweet flavor.
Where are the oysters located?
Chicken is usually roasted breast-side up which means the oyster is on the bottom of the pan. They’re protected from the oven’s intense heat and the roasting juices provide an excellent source of moisture and flavor for the oysters.
- Pick the left leg up in your left hand and pull it away from the bird so the skin is stretched out.
- Use a sharp knife to cut start cutting the leg off, angling the knife towards the leg. Don’t cut it right off though – just slice enough to cut the skin and start the leg to break away from the rest of the body.
- Pull the leg up so that it starts to crack then cut straight down. When you pull the leg back you’ll see a small oval-shaped section of meat. Use a small knife to cut out the oyster.
Chicken oysters with hummus
Dip juicy chicken oysters into freshly made hummus for an incredible meal that's great for something a little different.
Prep time: 15 minutes. Serves: 2.
To make the hummus
- 1 15oz (400g) can drained chickpeas
- Zest of ½ a lemon
- Juice of one lemon
- ½ clove garlic
- 1 Tbsp tahini
- ¼ tsp paprika
- salt and pepper to taste
- ½ olive oil
- Add all ingredients to a blender and process until smooth. If it's a little thick add more oil or a little water.
To make the chicken oysters
- 4 chicken oysters
- 1 Tbsp oil
- 1 Tbsp butter
- Pinch of fresh thyme, chopped
- Pinch of sumac
- Heat olive oil in a frying pan on medium-high heat.
- Add the chicken oyster meat and fry for 3 minutes then flip and cook for a further 3 minutes.
- Drain excess fat from the pan then return the chicken oysters to the heat.
- Add butter, thyme, and sumac to the pan and cook for another minute.
Serve the oysters and hummus in separate bowls and include a garden salad for a tasty side dish.
A few preparation tips
- Use a sharp knife when cutting up chicken, especially when you’re cutting areas like the legs which require you to cut through sinew and small bones.
- When sautéing chicken oysters, leave space between each piece of meat. Otherwise, you’ll stew the poultry which is undesirable.
- Smear your chicken in yogurt and refrigerate overnight for amazingly tender, soft chicken.
- When cooking a whole chicken, leave the skin on to keep the protein tender and moist.
- Avoid overcooking and undercooking chicken. Overcooking will result in dry, unpleasant chicken while undercooking could result in a trip to the hospital.
- Cook similar sized pieces of meat at the same time. If they’re uneven sizes you won’t get consistently cooked meat.
Chicken oysters are also known as sot-l'y-laisse. Translated, that means “a fool leaves it there”.
Locating the chicken oysters is a simple task. In this article, we explained how to cut them out when the chicken is raw so that you can cook them on their own. They’re delicious sautéed or threaded onto skewers and grilled.
An excellent way to cook chicken oysters is roasting them, while they’re still attached to the whole bird. To do this, roast the whole chicken as you normally would and when cooked, scoop those two small pieces out with a spoon, or your fingers.
If you have a favorite recipe for using chicken oysters feel free to share it with us in the comments below.