Making one’s own broth seems to be the new cooking fad. When I was at my son’s house, they had a plastic bag in the freezer door where the vegetable scraps were placed, later to be turned into broth, a nice vegetable broth.
We have been making bone broth for some time, but I have a new favorite. Boiled chicken feet.
Yes, you read that right. I save the legs from the chickens Jim butchers and turn them into a rich, silky, full-flavored broth. It’s not a thin broth, like those that pour out of a can. When it is refrigerated, it changes from a liquid to a jello-like consistency. It gives soups a rich, delectable base.
Now years ago, I had seen chicken feet for sale in Asian meat markets in major cities of the world where a “Chinatown” existed. I experienced a combination of wonderment and revulsion contemplating their use.
More recently, as various sources have carried articles about homemade broths, I read about someone using chicken feet and decided, why not give it a try.
There is some variation in suggested steps, but basically, after the feet are scrubbed, they are boiled for 5 to 10 minutes, then rinsed. This first water is discarded.
Some people say to leave the toenails on, but others say to remove them. I do the latter. While people who buy their feet in a meat market, might consider the feet clean enough to leave the toenails on, those of us who have seen where chickens walk, usually err on the side if cleanliness.
Then the legs should be peeled to reduce bitterness, placed in a pot of water and simmered for 12 to 24 hours. Now, the legs can be simmered alone or with additions of the cook’s choosing, like chopped onion, celery stalks, ginger, bay leaf, or garlic.
The broth should then be strained as it is poured into storage containers for the fridge or freezer, if not being immediately used.
Using chicken feet to make broth still sounds a little crazy.
Jim said, “My mother, who made lots of unusual foods like head cheese, never used chicken feet. She would have loved this.”
Love livin’ in Burt County