I’ve never really embraced the term Domestic Goddess that Nigella Lawson popularized. Although I:
• love to cook
• enjoy setting a nice table
• find cleaning satisfying on a number of levels
• and, love to organize stuff,
I never see myself as particularly goddess-like or glamourous when I do these things. No, instead I feel more like my Baba (which, if you didn’t know, is the Ukrainian word for grandmother) when I’m involved in housekeeping. And, although she was not without her charms, Baba was not – at least during my lifetime – a glamourous person.
My Baba taught me a lot of great lessons both in the kitchen and around the house but one of the best lessons she shared is to add chicken feet to the pot when making chicken broth. Chicken feet add great flavour and exude lots of gelatin into the broth so that it sets up to a wiggly jelly when it’s chilled and cooks down to a lovely, syrupy glaze when you make sauces or braised meat dishes.
When I was a kid, most grocery stores had in-store butchery departments so finding chicken feet was as easy as walking to the corner and asking the butcher for a bag of them. Today most national grocers bring in their meat if not fully portioned and packaged, at minimum dressed and cleaned. As a result, buying chicken feet now requires the skills of a treasure hunter.
Once you get your hands on some chicken feet, you’ll need to prepare them for the soup pot. Simply blanch them for about five minutes in boiling salted water; plunge into ice water and then remove the skin and toenails before adding the feet to the stockpot.
I find Asian markets are the best place to find a ready supply of chicken feet (in fact, I found these ones packaged and ready to buy in the case at my local T&T supermarket).
Have you ever made broth or stock using chicken feet as an ingredient? And, if not, would you try it?