The secret to amazing pork stock? The answer is trotters, aka pigs feet! The same goes for chicken stock: it's best with chicken feet. Now don't get all ewwww about it, the feet are perfectly clean. You eat animals, they have feet, it's really not a big deal. When we kill animals for food we should use every bit, nose to tail, because all those bits in between are full of health building essentials!
The reasons this specific part of the animal is so great for making stock are threefold:
- Trotters especially are known for their gelatin, so when you simmer them for hours, they make a naturally thick, deeply flavorful stock that is soothing to the digestive system, full of cartilage-repairing collagen and deep immune support.
- They are cheap and plentiful. For every hog that's butchered, there go 4 more trotters. Your local butcher or farmer can hook you up with feet for cheap, just ask!
- Waste not, want not: chicken feet and trotters can certainly be deep fried into one of the best bar snacks you'll ever eat, but I'd argue that making stock from the bones and feet of an animal is the best and easiest way to use them. And you'll be sure you are making the most out of the food you raise or buy.
Bone Broth or Stock is relatively easy to make in large amounts; it just takes some time. I eat a bowl of broth a day during the winter months, dressing it up with a shot of Fire Cider, kelp, mushrooms and chickpea miso. Or making traditional chicken soup. You can also add frozen cubes of stock concentrate to all kinds of recipes to add deep nutrition and lots of flavor. I recommend a bowl a day to stay warm and healthy til spring.
Here's the basic recipe and method my husband Dana uses:
Simple whole foods waiting to be transformed into liquid gold!
- 5 pounds assorted organic, local farm raised chicken parts (2-3 pounds of feet plus backs, necks, legs, and wings), rinsed. For pork stock, use the bones from your last roast, plus several trotters
- handful dried shiitake mushrooms
- 1 medium carrot, chopped into 2-inch lengths
- 2 celery stalks, chopped into 2-inch lengths
- 2 medium leeks or one onion, chopped into 2-inch chunks
- 1 dried bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
- 1-2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar, or 1-2 cups wine/hard cider
- 2-4 tongue-depressor sized pieces Astragalus root (available from mountainroseherbs.com)
- Small handful dried Reishi and/or Maitake mushroom
- 1-2 ginseng roots
Place all of the ingredients in a stockpot large enough to hold them with about 3 inches of room above (an 8-quart pot should do) and add enough water to cover by at least 1 inch (about 3 quarts).
Heat until bubbling, then reduce heat to a bare simmer (bubbles should just gently break the surface). A slow cooker works well for this, if you have one. Simmer for 8-48 hours. I think the longer the better.
Pass stock through a sieve into another bowl or pot; line the sieve with cheesecloth if you want clearer stock. I never bother. Discard the solids. I recommend composting them, or feed to your chickens.
You can use the stock for soup right now, yummmm!
If you are planning to store it without reducing it, stick it in the fridge or freezer. The fat will rise to the top as it cools, and you can remove it, or leave it in. You can also boil the stock uncovered and reduce it by as much as 90%. This makes for easier storage of large amounts of stock concentrate.
Note: I use ice cube trays to freeze cooled stock. Then I keep the cubes in a container in the freezer for use whenever I need. It’s easy to make a cup of hot broth by adding cubes to a mug with boiling water or throw a bunch into soups. Sometimes I sauté greens until almost done, then add a cube of stock to finish for extra flavor and health benefits.