A good chicken stock is more than chicken-flavored water. Though you should aim for your stock to be flavorful, a good one should also be rich and mouth-coating, with a body that just won’t quit. This, my friends, is why you should make your stock with chicken feet.
Chicken feet have very little going on meat-wise, but they more than make up for it terms of skin, bones, and connective tissue, also known as “the things that give your stock the body you crave.” Sure, wings also have a lot of fat and collagen, but I’d rather smother those in sauce. Chicken feet are also super cheap; even at my overpriced hipster grocery store.
Make chicken foot stock is just as easy as making any other. Most stores sell them pre-peeled – here’s how to peel them if you order them directly from the farm – and, unlike when we sous vided them, there’s no need to remove the claws. You may, however, notice little yellow bits of the outer skin hanging on. Don’t worry, it comes off with a gentle tug.
Once you’ve removed any little skin taggies, simply toss about 500 grams of feet in your pot (Instant or regular) and add any aromatic you wish, along with the contents of your scrap bag and a splash of vinegar. For an especially stomach-soothing brew, I’ll add a whole head of garlic (with the skins), a big hunk of ginger, and a whole, quarter onion.
If I’m using a pressure cooker, I’ll cook it for two hours on high pressure followed by a manual release, then strain out all the solids. If I’m going the stove top route, I’ll bring it to a boil, reduce it to a simmer, and let it hang out for at least five hours. This is a little longer than I’d simmer most stock, but I want to make sure I extract as much goodness as I can.
Pour it into a fat separator, or just dump it and jars and scrape the fat off once it’s solidified in the fridge. (Or just leave the fat in there if you want a fatty stock. Don’t let me tell you what to do with your fat.) Use your extra rich stock as the foundation for any dish that calls for cooking liquid, or just make some really good soup.