02 November, 2011

Stocking Up & De-gloving Feet

Hey come over for supper! While we'll not be having this exact dish it ends up as the basis for many of our meals & I ran out, so I thought I'd put my recipe up. That way you can decide to accept the invitation. Or not, I know some don't like to know where their food comes from. I present: chicken stock.

First you need a chicken. Thaw them the day before. I've got 3 carcasses in this pot & I was SO EXCITED to actually have my own chickens. Jupiter, Paper & Nameless Factory Rotisserie chicken from the deli.
Hi pretty birds, stay out! They are dirty cannibals but I do enjoy them.

My recipe is never the same as I usually have to substitute for whatever is on hand, but this pot had onions, celery, carrots (from my garden!)

garlic (from my garden!)

sort of parsley & sage (from my garden!) & bay, salt & pepper from the store.

Firstly you take your clean empty egg shells {(I had 5 or 6.)from my chickens!} & put them in your water w/ a generous glug of cider vinegar. I had about 2 gallons of water, so adjust your glug accordingly. The vinegar will begin the leaching action you need to extract the calcium from the shells.

You'll notice in my carrot picture you're only seeing tops. I chopped the tops very fine & substituted them for parsley as I was out. They're in the same family & not poisonous. This time I also had something brand new that I had seen in other recipes but never tried out for myself: 4 chicken feet.

You can see the difference in these feet. Jupiter was an old rooster, Paper between 12 & 16 weeks. Jupiter was an outsider from Day 1 w/ the chickens. He was always on the perimeter, never allowed to be too close to the rest of the flock. When he did mate w/ a hen he was knocked off by a more dominant rooster & the poor hen was re-mounted to show superiority. The hens backs & necks were getting bald from being plucked out so he had to go, though he was the prettiest rooster. It's better to work w/ in the hierarchy.
He was however, our first harvest & we learned a lot w/ him. I put his feet in the freezer because I knew that they were very good for stock. (Hooves likewise if you make beef stock.) I scrubbed & scrubbed & soaped & scrubbed because if you have chickens, you know they're not clean. We watched some youtube videos after that & saw the best way to clean feet was to just de-glove them. That is what I did for Paper & it worked like a dream.
Get your pot of water boiling & let the feet sit for about 3-5 min. Re-dip if necessary.

This worked but it worked a lot better on Paper. Freezing does make it more difficult. Paper's pretty yellow leg scales actually did come off just like a glove. Jupiter had to be flaked.
Here's the leg flaked off to the spur. Notice the color difference. I have also read that if your roosters spurs are giving your hens trouble you can hold the roster & put half of a very hot baked potato on the spur for 30 seconds or so. W/ a twist the spur will pop off. And it does.
Finish de-gloving, put it all in the pot & simmer for about 12-18 hours. Yeah, it's a 2 day event. Strain it all out & yet another great new thing I did was to can some of it instead of just freeze it all. I have one of those smart spin as-seen-on-tv gimmicky things & I filled every container after it had cooled & gelled for freezing. And THAT is why you want the feet, the gelatin leached from the bones & shells is so good & healthy for your own bones. The floating oils on top & that great herb-y chicken jelly are what you're looking for. It's very convenient to making chicken gravy in a pinch, any & all (excepting beef) soup bases, anywhere you throw that MSG laden bouillon cube or packet this can go. Or just thaw & heat up, drinking it by itself if you've been sick. Chicken truly is a wonder food.


Joanne said...

Saw your comment on the Zion blog so I thought I'd check out your blog. Thanks for posting this. A brother here just said the other day that chicken feet were the key ingredient to good chicken stock. I said to him, "Well then why did we throw away all the chicken feet the last time we butchered?!" We'll remember to save them next time.

Thanks again for sharing.

OH yes, and your root cellar post too. I will have to show that to my youngest son; I just told him we really must have some sort of cellar, though I think your plan is much too large for our little city house :) but, still gives some ideas.

Love, js in MO

Mrs. V said...

Hi js, thanks for stopping by. I was telling the Zion folk I "knew" you through Candy's/ Raines homekeeping site. Chicken feet are very good for you. I threw my first feet away because I just couldn't get them clean. I've seen them in the meat dept. all white & pristine but never knew how that came about.
The cellar is finished, I'm just slow w/ pics. There oughtn't to be more than a central aisle once the shelves are put in. It was a lot of work though. I borrowed the Bubel's book, "Root Cellaring" from the library & there were all sorts of altefrnative cellaring set ups, well houses, under stairs & porches, clamps, etc. Something can work for you.- Vanessa