The first few times we butchered broilers, we tossed the feet in the garbage. Then we found out that these are valued in the Asian community for making really healthy broth. Turns out, the gelatin, collagen and calcium in the feet contribute a lot of nutritional and health benefits in bone broth. I used to have a Jewish student that is a nurse-anesthetist; she calls chicken soup “Jewish penicillin”, and I now believe that true bone broth really can be thought of as medicinal as well as appetizing.
Before throwing the feet in the pot, they must be peeled and declawed. The yellow skin on the feet is what has to come off, and it will loosen if boiled. The catch, I’ve discovered, is two-fold.
1. The feet must be boiled before being frozen. Many times, I part up the chicken, freeze everything, and make broth later. The yellow skin seems to peel a whole lot easier if it’s done before the feet are frozen.
2. The feet only need to be boiled for about 10-20 seconds. Any more than that, the skin starts melting into what lies beneath, or vice versa, and then it’s like trying to peel rubber apart.
This wasn’t a big pot – maybe 6 cups.
We use a 5″ curved boning knife by Victorinox for taking poultry apart. Victorinox-Forschner also makes a 4-inch poultry/rabbit boning knife that I think would work well.
I’ll do a post on making bone broth when I pull the legs, backs and wingtips out the freezer in a couple weeks.