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Using chicken feet for stock making


jgm
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Really? I mean, I understand that scientifically you can do whatever with powdered gelatine -- but where does that gelatine come from? Is there no merit to getting the effect from chicken feet in a chicken stock?

David -- I'd love to hear your recipe/technique for stock.

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I make about 3 gallons of chicken stock a week. I use about 12-14 pounds of chicken per batch, and about 2 pounds of that are chicken feet, which are cheap, clean and easy to find in my neighborhood. The remainder is usually chicken leg quarters or whatever else is on sale. The broth always comes out with a beautiful gel. I guess you could get the same results with gelatin, but I like to get that gelatinous result that natural way. To me it seems almost like "cheating."

The pigs trotter adds even more rich, sticky collagen to your chicken stock.

My wife makes a type of aspic out of trotters. She cooks them down and clarifies the broth. She pours half off into a bread pan and chills until it is set solid. Then she will put a vegetable or meat "filling" on the top, and pours on the remaining pork broth and chills until set. I don't know if this is a specifically Chinese recipe, but she learned it from her Dad back in China. It's terrific in the summer. I call it "pig jelly", which gets her mad, but it is really good stuff.

Edited by Batard (log)

"There's nothing like a pork belly to steady the nerves."

Fergus Henderson

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As I've said repeatedly, using chicken feet for body is an obsolete method. You can get high grade, powdered gelatine for much cheaper than chicken feet and it gives you much more control and versatility.

But does high-grade gelatin spook the kinder the way that those gnarled claws do?

Seriously, for the home cook who has easy access to 'em, chicken feet are great. And if I stopped doing things in the kitchen that some have deemed obsolete I'd be a lot less happy a cook. :wink:

Chris Amirault

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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Really? I mean, I understand that scientifically you can do whatever with powdered gelatine -- but where does that gelatine come from? Is there no merit to getting the effect from chicken feet in a chicken stock?

David -- I'd love to hear your recipe/technique for stock.

I'm known for not always following standard conventional methods in my recipes-and my recipe for chicken stock probably fits in that category.

I don't roast the bones and I don't worry a lot about spending hours skimming the gunk off the top of the stockpot. I chuck a whole dang chicken into a stewpot and let it go. I end up with wonderfully tender and moist chicken meat along with a good chicken stock. For that gelatinous quality we've been talking about, I add chicken wings and chicken or duck feet, along with a pigs foot cut in half. This recipe makes a basic chicken stock. You can further reduce it and use it to make a glace or demi-glace sauce.

This recipe for making chicken stock by stewing a whole chicken first came to my attention in a story in Saveur magazine about Chicken Pie Dinners at New England Church Suppers. Apparently this particular method for making chicken stock is something farm cooks used to do years ago-both to make stock and to have cooked chicken meat on hand for making Chicken Pies and Chicken and Dumplings. I changed up the recipe by changing the ratio of herbs and adding the chicken feet and pigs foot.

Last year in the Cooking Forum, we had an interesting discussion about the "Classic Glace Recipe" that some of you might find interesting. Our discussions about Escoffier's Glace recipes have somewhat of an application to this discussion today about chicken feet in chicken stock and the reasons for doing so. Here's the link:

http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?showtopic=107858

1 whole, large stewing chicken, about 6-8 lbs., thawed

4-5 chicken wings

5-6 chicken or duck feet

1 pigs foot, split in half

2 medium yellow onions, peeled and cut in chunks

2 large carrots, cut in chunks

3 ribs celery, tops on, cut in chunks

5-6 sprigs curly leaf parsley

1 tbsp. whole black peppercorns

2 sprigs fresh thyme

2 sprigs fresh sage

Remove and discard the giblets from the chicken.

Place the whole chicken, chicken wings, chicken feet and pigs foot into a large, deep stockpot. I use a stockpot that holds 5 gallons of liquid.

Pour in enough water to fully cover the chicken, about 12-14 cups.

Add the onion, carrot, celery, parsley, peppercorns, thyme and sage to the stockpot.

Cover the stockpot and turn the heat to high. Once the water starts to boil, remove the cover and reduce the heat to medium-low. Skim any grey foam that rises to the surface of the water.

Continue to simmer the chicken, uncovered, in the stock, for 2 hours or until the chicken meat begins to fall off the bones.

Remove the stockpot from the heat and let it cool to room temperature. Gently remove the chicken from the stock. Pull the meat off the chicken bones and cover and refrigerate. Discard the skin from the chicken and reserve the bones.

Return the chicken bones to the stock and place the stockpot back on the stove. Bring the heat to medium and let the stock simmer for another two hours.

Remove the stockpot from the heat and remove the vegetable chunks and chicken bones. Strain the stock through a fine mesh sieve into a large bowl.

I simmer the stock for a couple of more hours to further concentrate the flavors. Let the stock cool to room temperature and then cover and refrigerate the stock overnight.

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But does high-grade gelatin spook the kinder the way that those gnarled claws do?

Isn't that a big part of it- having the teens do a double take as they walk past the stock pot? I buy a big pack and divide them into smaller bags of 2 or 3 and freeze. On a slow day there is nothing like frozen chicken feet and a bunch 16 year olds terrorizing each other with them. (they pop apart from each other really easily just out of the freezer...)

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On a slow day there is nothing like frozen chicken feet and a bunch 16 year olds terrorizing each other with them.

This is about as convincing an argument as I have ever read.

I will now pledge to buy chicken feet whenever I have the opportunity. My two girls will get a kick out of it. :biggrin:

Edited by sanrensho (log)
Baker of "impaired" cakes...
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I spotted chicken feet (fresh, on a foam tray in plastic) in a local Hispanic/Mexican supermarket a while back. The first thing that popped into my head was that I should buy some for making chicken stock.

Glad to see others do the same thing. Next time I make some stock, I'll go there and pick up some feet, toss a few in the pot, and freeze the rest for next time.

Jeff Meeker, aka "jsmeeker"

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The reason why chicken feet is very good for stock is because it is bone-y. At least that was the explanation of my grandmother...

Life is short: Break the rules...Forgive quickly...Kiss slowly...Love truly...Laugh uncontrollably...And never regret anything that made you smile. Life may not be the party we hoped for, but while we're here we should dance...
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The number of chicken feet I add to the stock is directly proportional to what I can carry up from the deep freeze in the basement laundry room along with two full baskets of clean clothes. I'd have to think that my grandmother would approve of my measurements. Let's just call it "economy of motion." Not to mention that quite often I can get them for next to nothing (in terms of price) and I don't have to search for them at the market).

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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I use 10 lbs. of feet for every forty lbs. of backs and necks and 12 lbs. of mire poix. I think this gives the stock the best body and mouth feel.

Edited by TJHarris (log)

Tobin

It is all about respect; for the ingredient, for the process, for each other, for the profession.

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I'll also use wings if they are on sale. My local Asian market has duck wings cheap and I like the flavor they give stock. They also have duck heads but I thought the brains might cloud the stock. Anyone use heads?

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  • 2 weeks later...

I live in an area where there are lots of pasture-raised animals.....chicken feet aren't normally on the order list, but I'd like to ask the farmers if they will sell the feet.

In this case.....how do they need to be cleaned/prepped before using? Forgive me if this seems like a dumb question, but having no experience working with them myself, are the packages of frozen, ready-to-use chicken feet simply cleaned and then frozen, or was there some kind of special parboiling, cleaning, etc. in the picture?

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  • 3 years later...

Why waste good chicken feet making stock?

Braised chicken feet make a wonder snack.

dcarch

Each to there own, while I like the taste way to many mini bones to deal with for me, so I wouldn't turn them away but I wouldn't order them either.

In the stock pot my first choice destination.

Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana.

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My last batch, which consisted of 6-8 feet. I braise in a liquid of fresh ginger, star anise, cilantro making a nice stock for Thai spicy soup. The feet I marinaded and munched on them later. The best of both worlds. I usually eat the toe bones!! :cool:

Edited by Paul Bacino (log)

Its good to have Morels

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Sorry, off-topic:

1. How do they de-bone duck's feet? You can buy them in Chinese stores, and they are not that expensive.

2. I have never seen turkey feet. You can buy animal feet for all animals (except fish), but not turkey. Do they have GMO feetless turkey? :laugh:

dcarch

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If you get the feet right off the chicken--you do have to prep them by blanching and pulling the yellow scales off. The nail covering will pop off, too.

Here is more info from Nourished Kitchen blog.

Your children (or you, if you have a childish mind, like me) can pull the ligaments sticking out of the top of the foot to make the claws contract.

sparrowgrass
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