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Where to Buy? Old Hens/Chicken Bones for Making Stock?

So, with the cold setting in, I've had a craving for chicken soup like my Mom makes. She used to go to a place that sold "live chicken" and bought old hens, slaughtered right there, and made the best soup.

I've been getting organic chicken @ whole foods in chelsea, then making the soup, and it just doesn't compare. plus, the chicken costs about $15!

anybody have any tips on where i can either buy a good, freshly slaughtered chicken (old hen, or if you ave any other recs?) or a LOT of chicken bones (maybe chinatown?). prefer downtown, near chelsea if possible.

thanks in advance!

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  1. One tip I have is to buy chicken feet in Chinatown to supplement your other chicken, if you can't find what you are looking for. I find they help a lot. If you do find a good source for hen, do post back.

    1. Any grocery in Chinatown will have old hens, labeled "fowl" but I've never seen organic ones there. They still make a mighty fine soup, though. When I can't find a fowl, I use chicken backs. MMRuth's suggestion of using chicken feet is a good one. They add a rich, unctuous, quality to the broth.

      1. MMRuth, have never tried w/chicken feet but will do it this w/e. Do you take the skin off first? I normally take the skin off as I hate the process of defatting, then I use one of those Japanese skimmers to get out the remaining fat. Though I can't imagine trying to take skin off chicken feet...

        phofiend, where are you buying backs? Chinatown as well? Any recs, i usually go to the meat market on Bayard, but have not been there forever.

        2 Replies
        1. re: jessesgirl

          No, you should not take the skin off -- throw them in whole. The way I defat is I first cool the stock and place it in the fridge. The fat rises to the top and congeals. I then scrape the fat off. If you're looking for an organic source of chicken feet, Whole Foods (some of them and not all the time) carries them.

          You've got to try Bo Bo Chicken. You can get it in a couple of markets in Chinatown and at the Essex Market and in Washington Heights. It is very fresh and flavorful. It is free-range (at least has access to pasture) -- not totally sure if it's organic. According to the website, they supply chickens to Blue Hill. The best thing is that it's cheap -- a chicken will run you between $5 to $8.

          http://www.bobochicken.com/

          1. re: Miss Needle

            Yes - that's the easiest way to remove the fat. And, jessesgirl, no I don't remove the fat from the chicken feet - that sounds like an unpleasant task!

            Miss Needle - Thanks for the information about Bo Bo.

        2. Just back from Chinatown where I bought two chicken breast carcasses to supplement what's in my freezer for making stock. I bought them at the butcher on Bayard between Mott and Elizabeth for $.75 apiece. Haven't taken them out of the bags yet, but they look as though they have a good amount of meat on them. No skin, but I have some of that in my freezer bag. Feet would have been a great addition. Sorry I didn't think of it.

          1 Reply
          1. re: JoanN

            Started making the stock this morning and realized my information above wasn't quite correct. When I took the chicken pieces out of the bag I realized there were two entire carcasses in each bag. Each bag weighed 1.5 pounds, so that's $.50/lb. And they had even more meat on them than I thought they did.

          2. You can get fresh never frozen chicken (young and old) at Deluxe Food Market at on Elizabeth. They sell whole chicken, chicken parts (anything you can think of), plus big bags of chicken leg bones for like $1 each.

            They also have other poultry like poussin, squabs, pheasants, quails, silky (black) chicken, duck, etc.