the chicken feet might be an acquired taste, but the broth is all worth it.
not for the faint of heart, but don't run away. a bit scary looking, but oooh sooo
finger lickin' good..? sorry, i had to say it.
ya see, chicken feet don't scare me. i remember my grandma eating them way back when they actually came with the chicken you were buying at the regular market. she would throw everything in the pot, feet, gizzards and all, but the feet were always hers when all was done (maybe because she didn't have to fight anyone for them?). does that make me sound old or what?!...back when i had to walk 10 miles in the cold rain in the early morn' just to get to school. yeah right...
needless to say...wasn't Grandma's chicken soup always THE BEST?...did ya ever think it could have been the FEET?...
anyway, you all know i love tot try the odd, the out of the ordinary, the ultimate UGLY foods, so i decided i had to find some chicken feet. not an easy task. once again i was told i would have to special order them and it would be a 5lb. min. 5lb's is a bit much for lil' ol' me. then i remembered the PIG FEET delima...same thing, BUT i found them at my favorite Mexican market, Northgate #9 in Santa Ana. a bit of drive, but well worth the trip. i always find great stuff there.
BINGO!...some nice fresh feet just waiting for me to experiment with.
this first time i thought i would just go basic, but with a little heat, of course.
WHAT TO DO
or this is what i did...
if you are not used to cleaning chicken feet, it can be quite tricky and i must admit, quite strange. first, you have to rub the feet with salt to clean them. i used Kosher salt. then rinse. put them in a large pot of boiling water and scald for 5 min. let them cool enough to handle. next, cut off the claws (this is kind of weird because you feel like you're cutting the tips of fingers off) and trim off the hardend unwanted spot normally seen beneath the feet. i should have taken a pic of this, but it's like a dogs' paw-pad?. you'll see it, just clip the hard part off with some scissors. then rinse. now the chicken feet are ready to be cooked in any way you want...
i had read in quite a few articles that the broth made with chicken feet is fab, so i wanted to start out like i was making a good basic broth. let me interject here that...
THE BROTH IS LIKE LIQUID CHICKEN GOLD!
aprox. 2 lbs chicken feet
water to cover about 1 inch.
the basics..onion, celery, carrot
(i used 1 or 2 1/4'd yellow onion, then added the chipolini onion later)
4-5 cloves garlic, smashed
1 bay leaf
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. cayenne
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp thyme
5 dried arbol chilis
these are approx. measures because my broth is a little different every time, but always similar flavors. just add pretty much whatever you want for your end result.
i was going for a more spicey Mexican flare rather than grandma's homestyle broth.
bring to a boil, then simmer for about 1 1/2 - 2 hours untill tender...ask me how tender?...i guessed. there were quite a few feet in there so i just kept checking on them. you want the cartilidge to get tender because that's mainly what you're after. i'll bet it was about 2 hours. when done to your liking strain. i like to strain though cheese cloth, it gets all the tiny what-nots and grabs some of the fat on the way through. put everything back together and you're ready to dig in...
now...eating these, what now resemble little hands, is a whole 'nuther story...i don't think there is a proper way or even a slight instruction on how you should eat these.
just put one in your mouth and start sucking...
they are quite tedious to eat, but alot of fun. i would definitely say don't eat these with anyone you're trying to impress or anywhere in public, for that matter.
JUST TRY 'EM....
if you can't deal, all is not lost....you'll be left with some incredible, always useful, rich golden broth that can be stored away for a rainy day...and it might stir up some fabulous old memories of your sweet Grandma, or at least someone's Grandma.
ps...check this out...actual HEALTH BENEFITS....the fountain of youth found in feet!!!
taken fron an article by Robert Reames
Chicken feet. This is one whose health benefits you may be unfamiliar with. As far as joint health goes, this is probably one of the most outstanding foods that you can eat. It is loaded with readily absorbable protein, collagen, calcium and cartilage to maintain, repair and build overall joint integrity. It's absolutely incredible for your skin as well. Kung Fu martial artists have used this for centuries to enhance overall joint integrity and strength. Could this be a fountain of youth? Healthy joints give you the mental and physical energy to be at your best for a lifetime.