Monday, August 9, 2010

Cooking with Chicken Feet

That's what I'm doing today  (This is Nancy typing.)

I'm not going to post any pictures, so you can rest and relax.  You can find pictures by googling, if you'd like.  Yes, a little gross by US standards!  The feet look like little hands....complete with finger nails...

I'd been reading about the very best chicken stock ever!  using the feet.  And, then I bought a big sack of feet at a market for under a buck, such a deal.  Then I thought...why not?  I'm an adult, right?.........I can do some 'personal growth'.  I'm not too old to learn, right?  And...I could control the salt, leave out the sugar, MSG and other mystery ingredients by making my own broth from scratch.  Getting back to the basics.  Worth a shot, don't you think?  I mean, if some of my friends and family can do it, I can, too.  Right???

This is the 2nd experiment with the feet.  The first batch was pretty good.  I can see some of you cringe and I can hear some of you gag!  But, really, it was good.  A good, clean taste, different from commercial broths, and I like to think it was so much more healthy for us, too.

Have to tattle on myself...When I made the first batch of broth, I had to wear rubber gloves just to touch the feet.  And, my gag reflex kept kicking in.  Yes, this cook from a US City (never mind that we lived in rural Oregon for 10 years)  prefers to think that meat comes directly from the supermarket, all cleaned up and packaged with no yucky looking parts!  No heads, no feet, a nice, tidy package of 'extra stuff' that used to hit the trash.  No way was I going for unfamiliar parts that I couldn't identify or some of those parts that are 'exotic'. It's one thing to be used to seeing ALL the parts in the markets here;  it's quite another to actively decide to use and eat some of those parts.  Not knowingly, at least.

But...  these feet are cheap for lots of them.  The feet broth gets very high marks from chefs all over the world.  And,  I figured, it's time to 'go global'...branch out a bit.  I kept thinking ...I can do this!  Besides, my Great Gramma from the Old Country cooked and ate all the parts....  Many around the world still do.  It's 'normal'...

Have to admit...this time, I am so proud of myself!   No gagging!  No rubber gloves!  A huge step in the right direction.  Yeah!  Progress!
But, also have to admit that when I added the veggies I carefully covered up the feet and there was 1 head, so I had to cover the eyes, too, with some parsley.  Cooking with these parts doesn't mean I  have to look at them as the pot simmers ...maybe next time...

My Ecuadorian friends think I'm such a wimp.  Yes, indeed, I fully admit to my wimpiness.  We've had a good laugh.  Every Senora here just deals with it.  Nothing to it.  Friends tell me I'm doing good with this 'cultural shift'.  They say I just might be ready for roasted cuy (guinea pig) soon...  Hmmm...maybe, maybe not!  One step at a time, please.

Next cooking experiment will be beef broth...with cow feet...Wow, those feet are big and nasty looking! 
But, I'm determined...Wish me luck. 

As one of my sisters used to say when we were kids (just to gross me out):  To eat a cow, first you take off all the hair...  oh!  (Thanks, Cathy, for the memories...I think....)

PS -- You can buy the meat parts that you're used to in the US at SuperMaxi, Ital-Deli, the Co-op, as well as the People's markets.  All of these places carry those 'other' parts, too. 
You can buy commercial broth mix at SuperMaxi (like Safeway).

Happy cooking,
==Nancy  (still stirring the pot!)


  1. Nancy, I am so glad you posted this. By golly I am going to try making chicken stock from some chicken feet too. You know, the chicken stock we buy in the U.S. in a can or granulated is probably made from chicken feet....we just didn't know it. Great post!!!!

  2. Hola Nancy,

    Such a nice comment, thanks.

    I think one of the grossest things to do is cut off the claws...I used kitchen scissors and cut them off after boiling the feet for about 5 minutes. I had read somewhere that the stock is better/cleaner/richer when you do this step. (I then dumped the 5 minute water and started with new water and veggies for the stock.)

    Another site suggested roasting the feet first in the oven, too, but I didn't for this batch. You can also roast the veggies.

    I've heard from some of my US friends/family and they are totally grossed out. They won't be joining the Chicken Feet Broth Club any time soon!


  3. You need one of these

  4. Isn't it amazing how little things remind you of childhood memories. Just reading about your sister's teasing reminded me of the time my brother served me some freshly peed lemonade on ice.

    I've really enjoyed reading all your blogs over the last months. Thanks for listing me on your site.


  5. Sounds yummy! Brought back memories of my days in Brooklyn NY when my Russian grandmother cooked with chicken feet.

  6. Yummy! Can I have some cuy with that?


  7. That's so funny Nancy! Can't you hear your sister saying "to eat chicken feet, first you take off all the nails..." :-)

    When I was a kid my mom would roast loads of chicken feet - I still love them like that especially with lots of salt and pepper.

  8. Hey Nancy- No spilling the family secrets ;) !! Enjoying the blog, Cathy