This recipe came about as a result of a chef friend of mine giving me a big bag of chicken oysters a couple years ago. I wasn't quite sure what to do with them, so I experimented a bit. Since then, this has become one of my favorite dishes.
If you're not familiar with chicken oysters, they are little morsels of dark meat about the size of a large garlic clove located near the thigh, on the backside of the chicken. There are two per chicken. They are somewhat dense in texture, but to me, rich tasting and the most flavorful part of the entire bird. The French call chicken oysters sot-l'y-laisse, which translates more or less as "the fool leaves it there." And yes, I pity the fool who leaves behind the chicken oysters!
Obviously, it takes a lot of chickens to make up a batch of chicken oysters like the ones needed for this recipe. However, some butchers sell them by the pound. I've had luck ordering chicken oysters (call in advance) from Majestic Meats in Salt Lake City. If you can't find chicken oysters, boneless, skinless leg or thigh meat works very well.
You could use any type of pasta for this dish. I happen to like rigatoni or penne the best. Also, when I took the photos for this blog, I added a can of white beans that I had in the pantry. However, that's optional; I usually don't put beans in it. I also like the little bit of kick that a few chili flakes adds to the oysters; you can leave them out if you can't stand the heat.
One other note: The measurements here are approximate. This isn't a recipe that requires precision. So, add a little more of this or that, as you please. If you like peas, feel free to double the amount, etc.
1/2 lb. chicken oysters (or chopped boneless chicken meat from thighs or legs)
1/4 cup olive oil
1 cup beef or chicken broth
1 Tbs. tomato paste
1 shallot, minced
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbs. fresh rosemary, minced
1 tsp. red-chili flakes (optional)
1/2 cup peas, fresh or frozen
freshly cracked black pepper
1 14-oz. can of white beans (optional)
1 lb. dried pasta, such as rigatoni or penne
Mince the shallot, garlic and rosemary and have them standing by, along with the optional chili peppers.
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken oysters, shallots, garlic, rosemary and chili flakes. Cook until the chicken oysters lose their pink color, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes.
While the chicken is cooking, whisk the tomato paste together with the beef or chicken broth.
When the chicken oysters are no longer pink, toss in a generous amount of black pepper and then add the broth-tomato paste mixture.
Simmer until some of the liquid has evaporated, 15-20 minutes. During this time, cook your pasta to just barely al dente, according to package directions.
Drain the pasta and return to the cooking pot.
Drain the (optional) canned beans and add them and the peas to the skillet with the chicken oysters. Stir and heat through for a few minutes.
Pour the chicken oyster mixture from the skillet into the pot with the pasta. Toss gently. Taste for salt and add, if necessary.
Serve with freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano alongside.