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Jun 7, 2012 10:16 AM

questions on pressure cooking a cows foot for gelatin!

I was told gelatin from a cows foot is stronger and better then gelatin from pig neck bones, trotters etc. Is this true?

Anyone familiar with doing this? How many pounds of cow foot would i need for 3 cups of gelatin?

I assume i just cover with water as i would a stock? some aromatics as well.

I was planning on pressure cooking it for an hour- will this be enough time?

Once i am done with the bones can i reuse it? How much gelatin can i get from these guys?

any other uses for the bones?

thank you !

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  1. Wow!! You make your own gelatin?? I assume you're talking about a cow's foot without the hoof. If so, check the book that came with your pressure cooker and see if you can find a chart listing beef stock or other stock using bones. I would follow the guide for stock, then pour the result into a large pot and simmer it down to half or a quarter of the original volume, then let it cool. I know that when I make chicken stock and reduce it down and let it cool or put it in the fridge, it turns to a jello-like mass. If you're using the hoof, I would scrub the hell out of it before putting it in the pressure cooker. Also, after pressure cooking, I don't know that the bones would have much left that would be usable, and that's why God created dogs, I think.. . . Good luck and let us know how it turns out.

    1. Guesses here. Compared to trotters I would think so, but would note that often ethnic recipes (sopa de pata, mondongo, mocoto) are made with more than just the foot so that it includes tendons which contain a fair amount of gelatin. I would suggest pressure cooking for an hour and a half but an hour could be sufficient -- everything should be separating from the bone and which should show as clean. The amount of water depends on your pressure cooker (venting, no venting) and depending you may have to reduce it more as caiaransplant suggests. I would try about 2.5 lbs and they need to be clean. I think you could pressure cook the cows foot for a hour and a half, if the volume is reasonable then put in the fridge in order to skim the fat and evaluate the texture. If its not firm enough, reduce it more.

      1. What do you mean by '3 cups of gelatin'?

        One foot, or even half of one if that's how your market splits it, can be covered with water (which should be about 4 cups), and cooked till tender. W/o the pressure cooker I'd allow 3 hrs, so 1 hr is about right under pressure. The resulting stock should be stiff enough to 'ring' when chilled. And as it cools it feels sticky, like cooling hide glue (which, in a sense, it is).

        Whether you add aromatics depends on what flavors you want. You can always cook the stock further with aromatics, so you don't have to use them during the intial cooking.

        The feet that I buy have the hoof, or at least the toe bone(s) and a thin layer of collagen. It's not the hard outer part that gets sold as pet chews. The foot consists of skin, bones (lots of small ones), tendons, but little meat. I use it to make mondongo, an Ecuadorian soup that is finished with a bit of milk and peanut butter. Last time I used a foot, I PCed it with beef ribs and heart to make a Pakistani beef stew, nahari (on which there is a recent thread).

        So at it simplest, you just make stock using the foot. The resulting stock should be quite high in gelatin, but not dark or rich in flavor. If you want something closer to Knox gelatin, you'll have to take the usual steps to clarify this stock.

        Speaking of Knox gelatin, the stock I get from a foot is about as stiff as 'Knox blocks', double strength 'jello'.

        1. I just bought half a foot, weighing 2 lb. 4c is about right covering it in a 4qt pressure cooker.

          45 minutes was just about right, with natural release. The result 4c of cloudy stock. I haven't chilled it yet, but my lips are sticky after nibbling some scraps off the bones. After removing the cleanest bones I have about 2 c of gelatinous material (skin, tendon etc).

            1. re: paulj

              thanks everyone.

              so i picked up about 7 pounds of foot.. all chopped up.. no hoof!

              what i want to do is just extract the gelatin to add to another broth to solidify it and put in dough - like a saltena.

              i need a strong hold since it tends to turn back to liquid when i am putting them in. ( super hot kitchen)

              so i am wondering for about 4 cups of broth or stew- how many cups or ounces of gelatin will i need to add so it holds it tight?

              sort of an odd question. but you guys have never steered me wrong !


              1. re: lestblight

                You can't measure gelatin extracted from a foot in oz, at least not in the same way as you would measure a packet of Knox powdered. What you get from the foot is stock that contains gelatin. A rough measure of that gelatin content is the stiffness of stock when chilled. I'm sure there are commercial methods of measuring gelatin content, and for extracting a dried form, but those aren't common home methods.

                I don't fully follow what you intend to do, but here's what I think I'd do:
                cook the feet with enough water to cover; since you are more interested in the stock than using the feet and bones after, PC it more than 45min, to maximize extraction.

                Strain and chill to see how stiff the stock is. Possibly mix some with your other stock, to see if the combination is stiff enough. If not, reheat and reduce the foot stock, and try again.

                A variation would be to season the foot stock directly, so you don't have to dilute it with other stock.

                An alternative is to use commercially extracted gelatin (Know powder or sheets).

                1. re: paulj

                  i have used the knoxx powder and it doesnt hold as strong as a cows foot.

                  i have seen it done in bolivia. just trying too figure out how.

                  cook the foot to get the gelatin- exract and chill and then put it into a stew to gelatinze the entire stew so it can be firm and strong to put in an empanada like dough.

                  and then cook in oven so it gets back to liquid and is super rich and tasty.

                  just trying to figure out how much gelatin i would need for 12 cups of a stew.

                  1. re: lestblight

                    There are Chinese dumplings that are made the same way - a gelatin rich filling that turns to hot soup when cooked.

                    There is a British pork pie that takes a different approach - the filling is dry when the pie is baked. After cooling, a rich broth is poured in through a hole in the top, filling the cavity left during baking.

                    I understand the concept, but can't help with quantities.