Bone broth made from chicken feet? Real chicken feet? Do you think that you could handle it? I never thought I could until our family went gluten-free and I became a mother on a mission. A mission to heal inflamed intestines. A mission to re-balance missing nutrients from the malabsorption caused by my son’s Celiac Disease. So yes, I took a plunge, and a somewhat repulsive risk, and started making my own bone broths with none other than the cockeyed, and somewhat (okay, very) disturbing looking chicken feet. After all, I had watched my Grandma make hers for years. If she could do it….well?
Now. I cannot blame you for asking one elusive question of me. Why?
Well, first I will cover why I am even admitting this to you.
Did you know that true bone broths (especially those made from high quality bones of wild, organic grass-fed chicken-particularly the feet, beef, or pork) are rich in calcium, phosphorus, magnesium,silicon, potassium sulfate, flouride, collagen, glucosamine, chondroiton, and other trace minerals?
Did you know that these minerals in the broth are very readily absorbed by the body in this form?
Did you know that homemade bone broths are also rich in gelatin (especially those made from chicken feet), which is considered healing and coating to the stomach and the digestive tract, perfect for those dealing with gastro-intestinal disorders?
Did you know this gelatin is useful in hypo- and hyper- stomach acid issues?
And, finally, one last question… Did you know that it is one of the cheapest and easiest ways to acquire some of these unbelievable health benefits?
No? Well, it was not until I really started researching what Grandma had known all along, that I really come to understand these abounding health benefits. Until then, it was just something I swore I would never make, let alone drink from a mug…. (or make my rice, pastas, sauces, stews, or soups with).
A summary of the benefits of bone broth:
1. Promotes healing: Bone broths have been used successfully in treating gastro-intestinal disorders, including hyper-acidity, colitis, Crohn’s disease, and infant diarrhea.
2. Digestive aid: Aids in the digestibility of grains, beans, legumes, vegetables and meats and is hydrophilic in nature
3. Macro minerals: Contains highly absorbable forms of the calcium, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, sulfur and fluoride as well as trace minerals
4. Gelatin and Collagen: rich in both; promoting bone and joint healing in addition to supporting digestion, particularly broths made from the feet of chickens
5. Protein: adds easily digestible protein to your diet
6. Amino acids: Glycine, proline, hydroxyproline, and lysine are formed, which is important to detoxification and amino acid production in the body
7. Joint support: Glucosamine, chondroitin sulfate, and hyaluronic acid are produced and present for additional muscle and joint support
8. Immune system: Promotes the assimilation of vitamins and minerals and thus supports the immune system
9. Delicious and nutritious: use as soup, cooking liquid, sauce or as a tea.
From Lance Roll, CEC, HLC1, The Flavor Chef
And, according to Jenny, at Nourished Kitchen: ”Chicken feet produce a fine golden broth that’s rich in all the obscure nutrients that make a good stock so nourishing: glucosamine chondroitin, collagen and trace minerals. Moreover, a chicken stock is an excellent source of calcium. Understandably, a stock made from chicken feet gels beautifully just as a good stock should.”
I do want to mention that I decided to not post any pictures of the chicken feet in ANY stage of this cooking process (well not real ones anyway).
Why? I would love say it was because I wanted to spare you wonderful readers the shock and fright of such images. I would love to say that I was only thinking of you and the fact that you very well may be in the middle of a meal while reading this. And yes, I would love to say that I am just so sweet like that. But, no. It was my husband who balked in utter disgust when he saw the visual image that I wanted to share with you. It was he who said I just could not post them. So, strangely enough, it is he that is just so sweet like that.
But…he cannot stop me (insert evil laugh) from sharing the link to Kelly, of Kelly the Kitchen Kop, and her hysterical tale of her brave chicken feet endeavor. Or to Christy, of Frugality and Crunchiness with Christy, and her play-by-play of How to Make Stock From Chicken Feet. I dare you to go read them. Go on..in fact, I double dare you. But please come back. Please?
Okay, now that you are back. Scary, huh? Well, here is the recipe that I use on a regular basis to re-create that madness… Note: you DO NOT need to use chicken feet to create an amazingly nutrient-dense bone broth. I do not do it all of the time. Often, I will just use all different parts of the chicken (or beef bones) then freeze it in quilted mason jars to have it on hand for whatever I am making.
Making broth requires almost no work, just put the bones and vegetables in a pot, add water and vinegar, bring it to a simmer and walk away. No chopping or tending is needed. It really is that easy.
Homemade Chicken Bone Broth:
(with, or without, Chicken Feet)
This recipe is adapted from Sally Fallon Morell’s article, Broth is Beautiful:
- 1 whole free-range chicken or 2 to 3 pounds of bony chicken parts, such as feet, necks, backs, breastbones and wings (using farm-raised, organic, free-range chickens yields the best gelatinous stocks)
- gizzards from one chicken (optional)
- 2-4 chicken feet (optional)
- 4 quarts cold filtered water
- 2 tablespoons vinegar (I usually use apple cider vinegar)
- 1 large onion, coarsely chopped (leave the peel on for a golden color in the stock)
- 2 carrots, parsnips, turnips, etc..peeled and coarsely chopped
- 3 celery stalks, coarsely chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, whole
- 1 bunch parsley
Note: I often save any extra ends of any vegetables that I am chopping for other meals in a plastic bag and freeze them to until I am going to be making broth
1. Put bones in large stainless stock pot and cover completely with the cold filtered water. Add the 2 Tablespoons of vinegar and all of your vegetables (except for the parsley). Let it sit for an hour just as is without turning stove on.
2. Then, bring to a boil, and remove the scum that is rising to the top.
3. Reduce heat to simmer, and let it go for 6 to 24 hours (the longer the better since this allows the gelatin to get released from the bones and gives much more flavor to the broth).
4. In the end of your cooking time (during the last fifteen minutes) you can add your parsley.
5. Then strain the stock through a fine mesh sieve into a bowl or glass container. You can reserve any of the cooked chicken meat for other uses or for your soups. Then place container into refrigerator and allow the top layer of fat to congeal. Remove this congealed layer, then pour the remaining stock into your containers. Glass mason jars work wonderfully for this.
6. Then use as your liquid when making rice, pastas, sauces, soups, stews, in a mug…. Just season to taste for appropriateness for your recipes.
More Bone Broth Resources:
Broth is Beautiful, an article written by Sally Fallon Morell for the Westin A. Price Foundation’s site, and author of Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats (with Mary G. Enig, PhD)