I first read about using chicken feet in stock, here, at Nourished Kitchen, just last fall. Ever since then I had been hearing and reading about getting a good gel in your chicken and beef stock, namely on the Nourishing Traditions yahoo group, but also in some articles and books I was reading. I knew at some point I would have to try this. Thankfully, my town just started having a farmer’s market for the first time this spring. Lo and behold, one of the farmer’s had some chicken feet I could purchase. They were very affordable, and I picked them up fresh on the day of butchering. Nice!!
I haven’t been using as much stock this summer, but I still like to have it on hand. I have been collecting some veggie scraps, chicken necks and also bought a pound of chicken gizzards. I didn’t have my regular stash of bones on hand, so I decided to go with what I had. So I gave the chicken feet a manicure, and made a chicken feet, chicken neck and gizzard stock. Here’s a little glimmer of my chicken feet before their manicure – take a look!!
I am sharing this to hopefully inspire you to dice it up with your chicken stock. You don’t always have to have the bones from a roast chicken on hand to make a decent nutritious stock. I basically followed a traditional chicken stock recipe found in Nourishing Traditions. Here’s the basic recipe;
- 1 whole free-range chicken or 2 to 3 pounds of bony chicken parts, such as necks, backs, breastbones and wings
- gizzards from one chicken (optional)
- feet from the chicken (optional)
- 4 quarts cold water
- 2 Tablespoons vinegar
- 1 large onion, coarsely chopped
- 2 carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped
- 3 celery sticks, coarsely chopped
- 1 bunch of parsley
- garlic cloves to taste
- If using a whole chicken, cut off the wings and remove the neck, fat glands and the gizzards from the cavity. By all means, use chicken feet if you can find them - they are full of gelatin. Battery raised chickens are not recommended to use.
- Cut chicken parts into several pieces. (If you are using a whole chicken, remove the neck and wings and cut them into several pieces.) Place chicken or chicken pieces in a large stainless steel pot with water, vinegar and all vegetables except parsley. Let stand 30 minutes to 1 hour. Bring to a boil, and remove scum that rises to the top. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 6 to 24 hours. The longer you cook the stock, the richer and more flavorful it will be. About 10 minutes before finishing the stock, add parsley. This will impart additional mineral ions to the broth.
- Remove whole chicken or pieces with a slotted spoon. If you are using a whole chicken, let cool and remove chicken meat from the carcass.
For my chicken feet stock, I used 2 pounds of chicken feet, 2 pounds of gizzards, and about 4 necks and maybe a pound of bones leftover from some chicken dinners. I added the veggies and filtered water to cover it all. I ended up with 11 quarts of stock. It did not gel quite like the picture over at Nourished Kitchen, but it is quite thick. Don’t fret if your stock does not gel, it is still very nourishing. I have read that a way to get a stock that will gel is to break the bones to access the cartilage. That is what I should have done with the feet. (but ew!) Perhaps next time I will get more gel in my stock. Still I am so happy to be giving my kids soup this week, as one of them came down with a stomach bug, unfortunately. So don’t rule out making stock or soups in the summer!
‘Why is chicken soup superior to all the things we have, even more relaxing than “Tylenol?” It is because chicken soup has a natural ingredient which feeds, repairs and calms the mucous lining in the small intestine. This inner lining is the beginning or ending of the nervous system. It is easily pulled away from the intestine through too many laxatives, too many food additives. . . and parasites. Chicken soup . . . heals the nerves, improves digestion, reduces allergies, relaxes and gives strength.’ (Hanna Kroeger Ageless Remedies from Mother’s Kitchen)