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Stock or broth with only chicken feet


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I recently acquired a large amount of frozen chicken feet.

I've cooked and eaten these before, but here I'll primarily be using them to enrich a chicken stock.

I found a few old threads on this topic, but I didn't see any address my questions; apologies if I missed something.

Do the talons/nails/claws actually need to be removed? Specifically, I'm curious if they will cloud a stock. These feet do appear to be de-yellowed/scraped/skinned.

What weight proportions might you recommend to just add body? I'm thinking somewhere around 3::1 for bones::feet.

Also, I'm curious if anyone can describe a stock made exclusively with the feet. Would you describe it as neutral? I wouldn't imagine it would produce a deep chicken flavor, but I'm unclear if it would produce it's own flavor.

Thanks in advance for any time saving tips.

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The science of chicken feet escapes me, but I love them for stock. I use 1 lb of feet to 4-5 lbs other parts; rinse 'em and in they go. Using just feet for stock doesn't sound promising, but I'm guessing it's been done somewhere, some time.

Feet don't make stock cloudy, not that I've ever seen. My understanding is that cloudiness is more likely the result of not skimming early in the process and of allowing the stock to boil, instead of keeping it at a low simmer the entire time.

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Thanks--your point about removing scum is well taken.

I guess I wasn't clear about my cloudiness question--I was wondering if the toenails (not the whole foot) themselves might cause cloudiness.

I'd rather not spend time giving these things a manicure if it isn't necessary.

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Boiling it too hard causes cloudiness. It should be a very low simmer. I like feet as it provides a lot of collegen that provide good mouth feel, and other meaty parts to give it the deep chicken flavor.

Soup

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Back in the late 70's a guy I knew was the meat manager of a branch of a regional supermarket. Some customers came to him and asked for chicken feet. So, he ordered in a bunch. Turns out, that at the time it was illegal to sell chicken feet in Pennsylvania. He soon found out when he got a visit from the Dept.of Agriculture. For his birthday that year he got ashtrays and a couple of other things made of lacquered chicken feet.

These day us residents of the Commonwealth can legally purchase all the chicken feet we want. Reasons why they were illegal and why it changed are murky at best

Edited by lancastermike (log)
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Addressing the toe nail and talon question as to cloudiness- I can attest that they do not cause an issue. The ones I get from the Chinese market sound like yours. I toss maybe 3 into a stock that is the bones from a roast chicken and some extra necks. I have never tried making a stock just from the feet but I use my stock mostly as a soup base and prefer the roasted bones using the feet just to get that previously mentioned lip smacking gelatin.

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I'm a chicken foot newbie. What does it mean, to be de-yellowed/scraped/skinned? And how can I tell if that's already been done to my chicken feet? (And if not, what do I need to do with them before I put them into stock? Do I need to worry about the hard bits that must be the calluses that formed where the bird walked?)

MelissaH

MelissaH

Oswego, NY

Chemist, writer, hired gun

Say this five times fast: "A big blue bucket of blue blueberries."

foodblog1 | kitchen reno | foodblog2

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The ones I get are white looking without the scales I associate with a walking around chicken. Thee skin is just sort of leathery; toenails intact. The pad on the bottom of the foot is what you are calling callous? That is just part of the anatomy. If for stock they just get tossed in whole. For eating preps I must defer to those more knowledgeable.

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There can be no real cuisine in "Chinese Cuisine" without chicken feet. One cannot claim the appellation of "Chinese food gourmet" if one does not appreciate chicken feet, you would be only nibbling at the edges...so to speak! Now that the levity requirements for this topic has been met, let me say that chicken feet, or "Phoenix claws" has divided the foodie culture of China neatly (!) into two, half loving it and the other half unable to countenance the stuff. In Chinese cooking, chicken feet is used much like in other cuisines, but where Chinese cuisine trumps all others is in the dim sum restaurant. "Phoenix claws" slow braised in aromatic soy sauce redolent with star anise, Ginger, pepper, Szechan pepper corns, etc. till the gristle and sinews have been denatured into unctuous, velvety, aromatic lusciousness transcends the ugly English term that it has been cursed by.

You have probably guessed which camp I fall in.

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I am from the Baba Yaga school of chicken feet. They are good for only three things (once they have been separated from the chicken, of course): moving your house to another part of the forest, making good stock and grossing out the Justin Bieber age group. Okay, I might try a phoenix claw, but I'm not sure.

And if, as someone wondered above, I had to give them a manicure every time I made soup, I'd be too nauseated to cook.

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  • 8 months later...

I planned on a vegetable soup today with a bit of pork I had in the freezer. But I wanted that lip smacking mouth feel and had no frozen stock or broth. Even a complete dissection of the freezer contents yielded no bone scraps. All I found were 3 good sized chicken feet. I generally buy a large tray and divide into packets of 3 to 4 feet for stock making. Yesterday I tossed them into a saucepan with a few cups of water, a ginger coin or two and some garlic cloves (shallot would have been more subtle but I am not a subtle cook). After simmering for 3 to 4 hours I removed the solids and refrigerated. This morning I had a nicely gelled broth/stock. Perhaps some gelatine would have done the same, but I really thought this oh so simple step brought lots of not just texture but also flavor to the soup.

Have you ever used the chicken feet this way?

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Heidi, over here chicken are sold without the feet - but I agree that they make a wonderful source of gelatin for stock.

I tend to save the chicken winglet tips for the same purpose! I have a bag of frozen chicken offcuts. My top two uses for them are for making stock, and as sacrificial chicken pieces for my BBQ.

There is no love more sincere than the love of food - George Bernard Shaw
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Chicken feet and chicken base (Minors or "Better Than Bullion") will be almost as good as the real deal. Add the base near the end. Otherwise the salt concentrates as it simmers.

This would be an ideal time to shop for bone-in rib sections, which are currently on sale at my local Mexican market for $0.89 per pound. My mother in law came home with nine full breasts this week. I boned them for her. And I got a few breasts and a couple quarts of dark stock out of it.

Who cares how time advances? I am drinking ale today. -- Edgar Allan Poe

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I'm still a little hazy on the difference between stock and broth. Is the amount of gelatin the defining element?

Since I rarely cook whole chickens I don't save parts--I have to buy them. Generally I buy 1 pound of feet and about 5 or 6 pounds of necks, backs, wings, or other pieces. If I want some tender chicken meat for soup or salad or anything else, I will buy breasts and/or leg-thighs pieces, add them at the beginning, and then take them out when they are just cooked; usually a half hour for the breasts and 45 min for the dark meat. Then I pull off the meat and reserve it and toss the skin and bones back into the pot.

My stock cooks at a bare simmer for 3 to 4 hours, uncovered. I use it for soups, flavored rice, whatever. When I make risotto I cut it with water, maybe not quite 50/50, but it depends on original strength.

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Chicken feet and chicken base (Minors or "Better Than Bullion") will be almost as good as the real deal. Add the base near the end. Otherwise the salt concentrates as it simmers.

I cannot agree. Compare the ingredients:

Your own stock: Chicken, onions, celery, carrots, parsley, thyme, peppercorns and water.

Minors: Chicken meat and natural chicken juices, salt, chicken fat, monosodium glutamate, sugar, dried whey, hydrolyzed (corn and wheat gluten, soy) protein, natural flavoring, yeast extract, natural extractives of turmeric and annatto.

Better Than Bullion: Chicken meat including natural chicken juices, salt, sugar, corn syrup solids, chicken fat, hydrolyzed soy protein, dried whey, flavoring, disodium inosinate and guanylate, turmeric.

Tim

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makes me wonder how they juice a chicken? And what do they get? Blood slop? What is chicken juice? Or maybe I'd rather not know... :blink:

Roast pan after pan of chickens. Pour the juice (broth) that collects in the bottom of the pan into a big cauldron. Reduce and add unnecessary junk -- like salt, yeast extracts and enhancers/stabilizers. That's how base is made.

I'd rather have a broth made with three simmered chicken feet with base added, than a broth with nothing but three simmered chicken feet. It isn't perfect, but it's certainly an acceptable substitute. You'll find that base gets snuck into all sorts of things -- mashed potatoes, steamed vegetables, all manner of soups.

Who cares how time advances? I am drinking ale today. -- Edgar Allan Poe

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Chicken feet and chicken base (Minors or "Better Than Bullion") will be almost as good as the real deal. Add the base near the end. Otherwise the salt concentrates as it simmers.

I cannot agree. Compare the ingredients:

Your own stock: Chicken, onions, celery, carrots, parsley, thyme, peppercorns and water.

Minors: Chicken meat and natural chicken juices, salt, chicken fat, monosodium glutamate, sugar, dried whey, hydrolyzed (corn and wheat gluten, soy) protein, natural flavoring, yeast extract, natural extractives of turmeric and annatto.

Better Than Bullion: Chicken meat including natural chicken juices, salt, sugar, corn syrup solids, chicken fat, hydrolyzed soy protein, dried whey, flavoring, disodium inosinate and guanylate, turmeric.

Tim

You shouldn't agree, because you are absolutely correct. :cool:

No matter how many times people tell us that BTB is as good as homemade, well, that just doesn't make it right.

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In Mexico don't they add a dash of "chicken powder" to EVERYTHING? I would imagine that would umami-up some foot-stock.

By the way, if you ask the butcher at Whole Foods for chicken feet, will he have them? I try to only eat free range organic chicken, and that's one of my only sources. I don't really want to get battery chickens from the Chinese supermarket, but I do want some feet for the next time I make stock.

Edited by Hassouni (log)
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Agreed that chicken feet contribute massive amounts of gelatin to stock, but, without some meat, I think it's not as chicken-y as I'd like. Definitely good to toss a few into the pot, though!

I agree.

Chicken feet alone give not much taste.

dcarch

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In Mexico don't they add a dash of "chicken powder" to EVERYTHING? I would imagine that would umami-up some foot-stock.

Yes - that is what I did. It was a hell of a lot more satisfying with the chicken foot gelatin than just plain water. The cost (both time & money cost)/ benefit analysis definitely plopped heavily in its favor.

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If I want some tender chicken meat for soup or salad or anything else, I will buy breasts and/or leg-thighs pieces, add them at the beginning, and then take them out when they are just cooked; usually a half hour for the breasts and 45 min for the dark meat. Then I pull off the meat and reserve it and toss the skin and bones back into the pot.

We do much the same thing-- chicken leg/thigh quarters (often on sale really cheap), cooked in the pot until the meat comes off easily, then the meat separated and reserved, bones and skin returned to the pot. (I also throw in any packets of trimmings from boneless, skinless breast meat that have accumulated since the last stock making effort.) Often some of the broth/stock gets used for something immediately. The rest gets frozen, some with the reserved meat added. (That eventually gets used for soup or my own evolved version of biryani, which bears some resemblance to Indian food. :smile: )

I've never had chicken feet around to use in stock. Maybe I'll have to pick some up someday. I really like the leg/thigh meat, though; it's the best meat on the chicken IMO.

Dick in Northbrook, IL

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