A while ago the farm we go to was offering grocery bags full of chicken feet for free. I had never thought of cooking with chicken feet before, but I thought what the heck, I’ll give it a try. Grabbed a bag and tossed it in the chest freezer.
One of the downsides of using a chest freezer is if something falls to the bottom it could be months until you discover it again.
So you can imagine my excitement when the farm didn’t have bones for my normal batch of weekly bone broth and then I uncovered a giant bag of feet at the bottom of the chest freezer! (What, you can’t? you can’t imagine the happy dance I did? hmph.)
I am so fascinated with our reactions to old school nourishing, wholesome food these days. Especially when it comes to eating nose to tail. It blows my mind that in such a short time people have forgotten what real food is. And that, for example, the boneless, skinless chicken breast you enjoy so much from a nice, clean package was once a part of a live chicken, who just so happens to have two very delicious feet! (let’s also not forget the incredibly nutrient dense liver too)
Just half a decade ago if you mentioned chicken feet in relation to making a tasty stock to someone they wouldn’t bat an eye. We’re pretty crunchy over here and even when I told my husband I was putting chicken feet in the crock pot he gave me the stink eye.
Ask any old-timer about chicken feet and they’ll probably tell you their grandma used to cook with them or maybe their mom did. They’ll tell you how the stock was so tasty and nourishing. Because it is! Why. did. we. ever. stop?!
My family has a lot of respect for the food we eat and therefore we try to eat as many parts of the animal as we can. Plus there are incredibly beneficial reasons to eat organs, connective tissue and skin. Most hunter gatherer populations eat the organ meat first, because that is where all the nutrients are – not in the muscle. Anyway, I wrote about the benefits of bone broth before, chicken feet stock is just as good, if not better.
I made this recipe very simple so I can incorporate it into baby food.
You may want to add vegetables to this base recipe. For instance, I might add 1 half yellow onion, 2 stalks celery and 2 carrots. You can also throw in 1/2 tsp of black peppercorns and a bay leaf for some depth of flavor.
1 lb peeled chicken feet, tips of toes (the nails) removed (more on how to peel your chicken feet here)
2 tsp real sea salt
- Place all of your ingredients in a large stock pot on the stove.
- Make sure the feet are completed covered with water by about 1.5 inches.
- Bring to a boil.
- Reduce temperature to low, partially cover, and simmer for 4-8 hours.
- Check your feet frequently (the ones on the stove, not yours, silly!). If the water gets low, add some more to make sure the feet stay covered. Also, with a large spoon, skim off the weird stuff that floats to the top – it’s foamy with little chicken feet bits.
- Using tongs, remove the chicken feet and set aside to cool before discarding.
- Strain the stock through a fine mesh strainer or several layers of cheesecloth. I pour mine into quart size mason jars for easy storage. Let cool for about an hour before putting in the refrigerator.
If stored in the refrigerator, use the stock within one week. You can also freeze the stock for several months.
Use it is soups, sauces, stews, or sip on some stock tea in the morning like I do! Enjoy!
This is the stuff you want to skim off and discard: