Monday, February 11, 2008

Why Did the Chicken Cross the Road?

So you wouldn’t wack off its feet and make chicken stock!

This past week, I was surfing through a few of my favorite foodie bloggers and stumbled upon Elise’s site at Simply Recipes. Elise decided to make a big-ol’-batch of chicken stock using chicken feet. What?!! I must know more!

Apparently, back in the day, our grandmothers and maybe even some of our current family swear by chicken stock made with chicken feet. One of my friends over at the Cooking Forum mentioned that her grandma used “everything on the chicken except the cluck,” and from what I’ve read, chicken feet make the richest, most flavorful thing you’ve ever had in the way of chicken stock. So, of course I HAD to give this experiment a try.

After explaining to hubby just WHY I had to find some chicken feet, we were on a mission. Where do you buy chicken feet, you might ask? Well, we are lucky to have a diverse ethnic population here in the city beautiful known as Orlando. Most self-respecting Asian or Latin grocery will carry chicken feet. Apparently, they’ve known all about the wonders of feet for some time. I also love going to Asian groceries, as I can find the neatest things there. I got a bargain on some black rice vinegar and dark sesame oil, which will be used for something tasty in the future; I’m sure.

According to Elise, 2 pounds of feet was called for in her recipe, so 2 pounds we bought. First, though, you must have some fun with your food:

Little Birdy’s Dirty Feet

If in the proximity of a chicken foot, feel free to chase your spouse, children, pets, neighbors, etc. around the house while screaming “Yarrrr! Yarrr!” (clucking just doesn’t have the same effect).

Hey, did you know if you pull the little tendon thingie at the place were the foot was whacked, you can make the chicken foot “wave”? Fun times!


Down To Business

Next, you rinse the little pink things off and place them in a pot of water for an intial boil. Boil for 5 minutes, skimming any foam/scum off the top. Drain water and rinse feet under cold water till cool enough to handle.


Una Manicura

After their initial boil, the claws need to be chopped off. This allows the collagen in the feet/bones to seep into your stock, making it wonderfully rich and flavorful.


Hey, did you know chickens get callouses? These need to be sliced off too. I wonder if there are little chicken podiatrists out there?


After that, it all goes back into a pot of clean, cold water. Add enough water to cover about 2-3 inches. Add 2 quartered onions, 2 cut-up carrots, 2 cut-up celery stalks, 2 bay leaves, a tablespoon of peppercorns, and a tablespoon of dried thyme. Bring to a boil, then leave at a gentle simmer. Place a lid on the pot (leave a small gap for evaporation) and simmer for 4 hours.


Liquid Gold!

After 4 hours of simmering, remove lid and simmer for another hour to concentrate the stock. Strain stock, and refridgerate. This made 2 quarts, but it is very concentrated and luxuriously rich. I took a taste of it when it was still warm and it was like chicken flavored liquid butter (but without the fat).


After chilling, I have "chicken jello". This will be made into an awesome Egg Drop Soup later this week.



Elise said...

Totally awesome!

I'm so glad you made the chicken feet stock. Yay! Grandmas rule!

Seriously, I figured a ton of people would read that post and never come back to my site again. It warms my home-cooking heart that there is at least one brave soul out there who actually was inspired to make it. Isn't it delicious?


Just the Right Size said...

Thanks Elise! The chicken feet stock and process really sent them over the edge at the Cooking Forum!

It was an awesome learning experience and will get to taste the final results later this week with Egg Drop Soup.

OhioMom said...

I imagine it is wonderful, I just can't get past the feet :)

wssims said...

Glad to see chicken feet out there in the recipes. I first saw it called for in the cookbook Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon and you can order the feet online if you need although I would rather pick them out if I could locally.

Leslie said...

Thanks sooooo much !! This was just what I was looking for.

Anupama Das said...

Great recipe Elise! I have my chicken feet simmering right now....I only hope I get over the trauma of slicing off the nails!

I also added lots of gralic to the pot,love the flavour of it. Can't wait to see how it turns out. :)

Anonymous said...

Interesting to know.

Unknown said...

I have been eating soup made from chicken feet for over 50 years. My Slovak grandmother made the best soup every Sunday and there was always feet in the soup. But my best part of the soup was when I got the feet in my bowl and ate every last one. Not only do the feet make great soup but they taste good and have medicinal benefits for you. (Merck Pharmaceuticals did a study on the benefits of chicken feet soup)Just thought you would be interested in my memories of chicken feet.
Yes Grandmas rule. Well now I off to make some soup for my son who is not feeling well. Have a great day. PS We never cut off the tips, the nails will fall off in the soup and settle at the bottom.

Jessie said...

I'm going to try this over the weekend. Yay!

Anonymous said...

I'm wondering if this stock would be suitable for use in a chicken fricassee?

Anonymous said...

You're the best! I found Elise's post and then yours. Now I know what to do with my chicken feet! I bought my first free-range chickens last week, and they were delivered with the feet on, so I just whacked them off and tossed them before baking the chicken. Never again will I toss those feet!

Now I need to figure out what to do with the other inside stuff.

Anonymous said...

Oh, and this may be a question with an obvious answer, but why do you have to get the callouses off?

jen said...

My favourite is chicken feet, I will boil it whichever the ingredients is, till it soft to eat, do u know that chicken feet have alot of collagen & also good for anti-aging & strong legs.

Most of the people thought I am my mid 30s but actually I am already 49yrs old.

Thanks to my mum, for cooking this delicious chicken feet when we were young.

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gonzo said...

My mother was hungarian from budapest, we had chick feet alot, my fother being irish wouldent eat them, poor guy dont know what he missed. I have a pot going now and am making my stock. for you guys with squemish stomics, its all in the mind. you have to tast your own stock,,,,, nothing like it,,, make all your dishes tast so much better and there is no chemicals. thanks

gonzo said...

Heres one more idea,,, try cooking your orzo in chicken stock you made , makes a very taste side dish

Justin Cascio said...

Hilarious! I love the pic of you chasing your family around with a chicken foot. I'll still use my bits and carcasses that I keep in the freezer after roasting a bird, but now I miss what I've never had, and it makes me want to find out what's happening with the feet off the chickens I buy from my local farmer. He must be keeping them for his own stock.

I wondered if the callouses are easy to identify and remove?

Anonymous said...

Re: the calluses: they are easy to remove with a paring knife. They are the dark brown, granular bits, and they don't go much deeper than the skin. I'm glad I removed them because they were crumbly and dark and just didn't look "right" to be part of the stock

Melissa said...

Love it! I have some feet from the roosters we butchered on 4th of July. I am SOOO glad I read about how you have to boil them first, peel the skin & cut the nails!

Melissa said...

Love it! I have some feet from the roosters we butchered on 4th of July. I am SOOO glad I read about how you have to boil them first, peel the skin & cut the nails!

Delaine said...

We buy free range chickens and the feet are optional. I bought my first order oj feet and will now know how to cook them. i am told that if you don't like the taste or texture of the feet, just enjoy the stock and put the feet in the Vita mix and add it to your dog's food. it is just as good for tham as it is for us.

Just the Right Size said...


That's awesome! Yes, chicken feet do make a wonderful chicken stock and that's good to know about adding them to pet food.

Thanks for stopping by!



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