Oysters in chicken stock with chives

Come, sit with me and talk about the sea and the land. Tell me how something so clear can be so deep. Break these shells for me and let the flood run. Together, they are somewhere between earth and saltwater. Let’s drink the broth and take the oysters with it.

This is one of the most delicious and simple ways I know to enjoy oysters. Think over your chicken stock, pause and taste from time to time. It should be deep-flavoured and clear. 


500ml (17fl oz) well- flavoured chicken stock

6 oysters, shucked, liquor reserved

1 small bunch of chives, chopped, plus any flowers, if available

salt and freshly ground black pepper

for the chicken stock (makes 1–1.5 litres/13⁄4–21⁄2 pints)

2 carcasses of freshly roasted chicken, and any other bits left in the roasting tray

1–2 onions, sliced

2 large carrots, roughly chopped

3–4 celery sticks, roughly chopped

1⁄2 a leek, roughly sliced 2–3 garlic cloves, bashed

6 sprigs of thyme

a few parsley stalks

3–4 bay leaves

1 teaspoon black peppercorns 


First, make the chicken stock. Tear the carcasses into several pieces and pack them, along with any skin, fat, jelly, bones or other tasty morsels from the roasting tray into a large pan. Add all the vegetables, as well as the herbs and peppercorns, packing them
in nice and neatly. Pour over 1.5 litres (21⁄2 pints) of water to
cover. Place the pan over a medium heat and bring up to a very
low simmer. Reduce the heat to low and simmer gently, uncovered, for 2–3 hours, topping up the water during cooking, if necessary.

Pass the cooked stock through a very fine sieve into a clean bowl or container, allow to cool, then cover and refrigerate.

To make the dish, remove any fat from the surface of the chilled stock. Pour 500ml (17fl oz) of the stock into a medium pan and set over a medium–high heat. Bring the stock to a simmer, taste and season with salt and pepper. (Seasoning the stock will bring out all its flavour.)

Warm two large soup plates. When you’re ready to serve,
put 3 oysters into the bottom of each plate. Pour the oyster liquor into the chicken stock. Stir, then bring the stock back up to simmering point.

Remove the stock from the heat and immediately pour it over the oysters to lightly poach them in the plate. Scatter over the chives, and any flowers, if available. Season with salt and pepper, then serve straight away.