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May 30, 2009 12:19 PM

Stock from whole chicken vs. from just chicken feet

I've only seen one recipe for making stock just from chicken feet (hey, I have a big package of them). Would using just chicken feet (and some spices and herbs/veggies) really work or would I end up with a gloopy, gelatinous mess at the end?

Alternately, I can use a stewing chicken from the grocer and add *some* feet (how many?!) ... what would you do?

Bonus question: Some of the stock-making recipes I see talk about 6-8 hours of simmering. At that point, wouldn't any meat from a stewing chicken (not talking about the feet) be pretty useless, or is there still any taste left that lets you use it in other things?

The stock will be more for Asian soups than other kinds, so I won't be adding rosemary, etc. More likely a little lemongrass and things like that.

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  1. There was a previous thread dealing with making stock. Applehome believes that the way to make stock is with whole chicken cooked long enough that you essentially have to toss it when done. I make my stock with the bones from roasted chickens and with the feet. I use lots of water and cook very slowy and low. This takes time and includes clarification using an egg white raft. I use this for European and some Asian clear soups, for clear sauces, and the like.

    But now and then I do make a quick stock from just the feet, necks, livers, and gizzards - eating everything but the feet after 20 minutes and letting the feet go for a total of maybe 45 minutes. What you get is a lot of collegen (what you call a "gloopy, gelatinous mess"). I use little water and want the gloop. It a very nice ingredient in a lot of my Asian cooking - as a backdrop to stir-frys in some thicker sauces, and other dishes.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Sam Fujisaka

      Ah, OK, so while I can thin said gloop a little with water for actual soup, I can pretty much add it for chicken flavor and to thicken up whatever else I'm making? That sounds very workable.

      1. re: Cinnamon

        When you heat the gloop, it goes into a nice liquid form. Just full and unctuous. It is also concentrated and can be thinned as you say. Gloop is a really great product.

    2. The feet give extra gloopiness -something I am in favour of as you can always dilute it to the requisite glutinosity. Be aware though that the feet give it a more gamey flavour. That's probably not the right word, but I am trying to convey a distinctive odour and flavour.

      1. Just got two roasting chickens. They came with three sets of of the good stuff. Tomorrow I'm going to make black beans and will simply dice the gizzards and livers, toss in the feet and necks, and add in some of the long bones from my last roasted chickens - along with a diced potato and onion plus seasoning. I'll eventually fish the feet and bones out and discard; and puree a part of the beans to add back. Makes great beans!

        1. Use both -- both the whole chicken and extra feet.

          The chicken provides the stock with flavor and umami, while the feet will add additional texture and that gelatinous-y goodness.

          As to what to do with the leftover chicken meat, you can use it in fajitas, tacos, casserole, or just toss it and make into chicken salad.

          One thing you can do to limit drying out the meat while your stock simmers for the requisite 6-8 hours, is to take out the meat (sort of "de-meating" the chicken) after about 4 hours of simmering. Then let the stock simmer for another 4 hours with just the carcass and the feet.

          1. I usually use a couple of cut up chicken carcasses from roast chickens, and throw in some chicken feet. I usually simmer for about an hour or so only. When I have used a whole chicken for whatever reason, I cut it up so that I have two breasts, and then remove them after 20 minutes or so, remove the meat from the bones, and throw the bones back in. A tip that I love from Julia Child - when you start the stock, just put in the chicken pieces, cover with cold water, add a little salt and barely bring to a boil, skimming off the scum that accumulates. Once the scum doesn't accumulate anymore, then add the aromatics etc. and simmer gently. That way, when you are removing the scum, you aren't removing the aromatics to which sticks as well.

            When I make stock for various purposes, I made a rather plain one (onions, carrots, celery, parsley stems, some peppercorns) and then, when I want to use it for a certain recipe, if called for, I'll simmer the stock with, for example, Asian ingredients for about 30 minutes. I've never put rosemary in as I've read that that can give the stock an odd flavour.