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Chicken Feet - Who Would have Thought?

Since moving from Chicago to Lake Geneva, I am discovering all kinds of new food sources - chicken feet being one of them. Believe it or not, chicken feet have a lot of health benefits as a result of the collagen content. It is even suggested that protein and calcium supplements can be replaced with chicken feet. A good way to prepare them is in a stock, which is what I have chosen to do.

I must admit that initially working with them was a challenge. I will spare you a picture, but they look like hands: It is a little creepy. But, once I put my big girl pants on, I moved past it. I roasted the chicken feet in the oven at 375 degrees for half an hour. I then drained the fat, extracted the fond (tasty bits left in the pan) by boiling some water in the pan, adding it my stock pot.

Once the chicken feet and fond is in the pan, I add a couple of carrots and celery stalks, parsnip, onion, a bouquet de garni (assorted herbs), and a handful of peppercorns and star anise. Then, it is all about patience. Let it come to a boil, then simmer uncovered for about 6 hours.

Next, is the critical safety and success point - cooling it down and storing it. Once removed from the stove top, the stock pot needs to be put in ice water and brought down to 70 degrees within 2 hours. Then, the stock needs to be brought down to 40 degrees within the next 4 hours. At this point, refrigerate the stock overnight so that the fat congeals on the surface. In the morning, remove the layer of fat, strain the stock and discard all of the solids. Next, safely transfer the stock to your containers to freeze. I personally find 32 ounce deli containers marked with the date that I made it to be the easiest. Enjoy!

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