Can you really make chicken stock from chicken feet? Sounds a bit crazy, but it’s actually a very healing food. Our grandmothers knew a thing or two about using all parts of the animal when cooking – they weren’t nearly as skittish as many modern-day cooks. And surprisingly the most flavorful parts are also in the most unsuspecting places – like the foot!
Now when you think about chicken feet, you may imagine the chickens scratching in the dirt and think to yourself, “Why on earth would I want to boil & eat those?” The foot actually has a very intense chicken flavor which makes for a truly excellent stock. The feet are high in gelatin which is an excellent thickening agent, perfect for soup making. And there is also very little fat on the chicken foot, which makes it very healthy.
“But aren’t the feet dirty”, you may ask? Actually, most chicken feet you purchase in a market will be very clean. To take things a step further, we will also be removing the outer layer of the feet so the parts that go in our stock have never touched the earth.
To accomplish this we cook the chicken stock in 2 steps.
- The first part is to scald the chicken feet and remove the outer skin and nails. This can be done in small batches to make it a bit easier. While we clean the first batch, the second will be set in the boiling water. Then this water is discarded.
- The second part of the process is to combine the trimmed feet + all other ingredients in a large stockpot. Then we simmer the stock for 4-6 hours just as you would make any other stock.
The result is a super healthy, low-fat, and flavorful stock that adds amazing depth to any recipe.
Where Will I Get Chicken Feet?
Not every supermarket may carry chicken feet, but do ask your butcher at the meat counter, they will often be able to order them for you if you ask. You can find them in many specialty shops or farmer’s markets. Asian markets are another great place to find fresh or frozen chicken feet.
How to Make Chicken Foot Stock
Nourishing Chicken Foot Stock
- 2 pounds chicken feet
- 2 onions quartered
- 2 stalks of celery
- 3 whole carrots
- 1 bunch fresh thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 bunch parsley
- 10 whole peppercorns
- Boil a large pot of water over high heat.
- Add the chicken feet a bunch at a time and boil for a few minutes.
- Remove the feet and set aside to cool slightly so you can easily handle them. Remove the outer skin from the feet. Peel back the outer layer of the nails or you may also chop them off if you prefer.
- Repeat steps 2 & 3 until all feet are trimmed. While the first batch is cooling, you can add the next batch to the boiling water. Skim the water in between batches to remove any excess film or impurities that rise to the top.
- Once all the feet are clean, discard the water & rinse the pot.
- Now it's time to start the broth.
- Add the trimmed chicken feet, vegetables, and herbs to the pot and add enough water to cover. You can tie the parsley and thyme with a bit of twine to make them easier to remove.
- Bring the water to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Add a lid and allow to simmer for 4-6 hours. Many people like to allow the stock to simmer overnight, just be sure the heat is very low. Safety first!
- Remove the lid and remove any film that has risen to the top again.
- Allow the stock to continue to simmer uncovered for 1-2 hours. This will concentrate the stock.
- Once the stock reaches your preferred consistency, remove it from heat and allow to cool slightly.
- Remove the feet and vegetables, then strain the stock and store either in the refrigerator for immediate use or the freezer.