This is a follow-on to the earlier post on cooking with chicken feet, here:
This post is for those who have been asking about my latest cooking experiment and whether I really did do the cow feet broth.
The answer is: Yes!!! Happy to report, I met the Senoras' challenge!
No pictures, but you can imagine.
Not much on the Internet about cooking with cow feet, so I looked to Cuencano friends (the'challengers') for guidance and winged it a little.
Well........ would I do the cow feet broth again? You bet! But, it was personally difficult...I'm hoping it gets easier as I make more. Smelly, gaggy, disgusting...all that.
First, I picked up some cow feet and some meat (cow? ox? pig?) parts at the Co-op. Not sure what the parts were, but could have been tail? Short ribs? The parts were meaty, with a bone in the middle of the pieces and lots of fat and gristle, about 2 inches across and about an inch thick. The gal at the store said they were good for soup. OK, so I bought them, along with the cow feet.
The other parts could have been cow knees? Rich had cow-knee soup recently in town and he thought it was a little game-y, but good. But, he's a more adventurous eater than I am. I'll be brushing up on my animal anatomy soon so I'll know what I'm buying. And, eating...
Besides trying to 'meet the challenge' (egged on by a couple of Senoras here), I've read that homemade cow feet broth is good for you, with lots of minerals and vitamins. You can control the ingredients, too...less salt, no sugar, etc. But, I think making the broth is a bit of a stretch for those of us born and raised in a US City. You need to also be brave.
So, here goes...........
First, I boiled the feet/hooves in water for about 15 minutes. They looked dirty and smelled so strong!, so I thought I'd try to sterilize and clean them up first. After the boil, I dumped the old water and started over with new for the broth..
I browned the beef parts and the hooves in a skillet on the top of the stove (I suppose you could roast them in the oven instead)...what a terrible smell! It smelled really bad, like a tanning/leather business or a pet food factory or a slaughter house. My sisters will remember that horrific smell of the whaling station from our childhood...yes, like that! Strong and gaggy. Had to be the leather/skin/hoofs/horn and who-knows-what on the feet.
I got through the browning stage without passing out! A major accomplishment, I thought...
Then, I added the browned parts and vegetables (carrots, onion, celery, green peppers, peppercorns and bay leaf, some vinegar) in the stew pot with water. It simmered for about 10 hours. I think next time I'll try to simmer it even longer.
I'd read that adding the vinegar to the bones helps release the calcium and other minerals...I added a couple glugs of apple cider vinegar.
Then, I strained the soup, saving the beef parts (dumping the yucky hoofs and the bones, gristle, fat along with the soggy vegetables). Actually, the meat from the parts is pretty good! Took awhile to get all the fat and gush off the meat, but it tasted good!
Then I reduced the clean, brown broth for about an hour...not too much fat to skim off. I'm so *relieved* to report the broth is way good!
After the broth was refrigerated, it 'gelled', just like it was supposed to. Just like the chicken feet jello earlier. Cuencano friends tell me the broth looks and tastes 'just right'. Yay! Success!!
So -- to all my adventurous USA cooking friends/family reading this........Go for it! I'm sure your local butcher can find some cow feet for you...be brave! If even I can do it (rubber gloves and all), I know you can, too. Well worth it all. Really.
I've used the broth for roasting beef ribs with onion/garlic, really good! And, the latest soup is with potatoes, tomatoes, carrots, meat from the ribs, onion...a really good, hearty soup.
Now, back to the chicken feet. Hopefully, one of these days, I'll be able to report that I've 'crossed over' and it's just a routine thing for me. Practice makes perfect.
No telling what the next challenge will be!