It’s almost proverbial that we recommend serving up warm chicken soup when loved ones are suffering from a cold. But is a can from the grocery store going to fulfill the expectations of yesteryear?
It won’t. And here’s why: Traditional bone broth, or stock, is made from the bits and bones leftover from processing an animal, or sometimes from the carcass after cooking (think of Grandma’s turkey soup in the week after Thanksgiving). Commercially produced chicken broth, according to chefs at Food Network, is mostly made with the use of meat – to say nothing of their conventionally raised birds.
What’s the difference?
Canned broth might reasonably flavor your soup, and a pre-made concentrate of “chicken noodle” might momentarily hit the spot, but they’re not going to have the same benefits as a bone broth. The bones, joints, connective tissues and all the good bits are where the real health food aspects shine. A good traditional broth will be rich in glycine and proline – amino acids often lacking in American diets (meat, dairy and eggs are excellent sources of methionine, but without glycine to balance it out, such a diet can have negative effects), easily absorbed minerals, collagen, and gelatin, which together can improve gut health, support healthy joints, aid and ease digestion, and yes, even help that cold!
It would take a lot of pastured chicken carcasses (and a lot of chicken dinners!) to maintain a family’s supply of this superfood (although we can certainly help you do that too!), but there is another option. Chicken feet just happen to be almost entirely composed of those lovely bones, joints, and connective tissues that provide all the benefits and components listed above. Old cookbooks and traditional recipes include them as a non-negotiable ingredient for broth. You can use pastured chicken feet and make a single large batch of rich, nourishing broth; freeze in containers and have it available for soup, dumplings, gravies, sauces or to give a health-boost to just about any meal.
Additionally, using chicken feet doesn’t just promote your health; it’s a way to steward our earth and appreciate the animals we use for food. We have long advocated nose-to-tail use of our animals, including our larger livestock, and that isn’t overlooked for the smaller creatures in our care. Using as much of the chicken as possible reduces waste, and is a way to honor its life and death — while it adds to our own health and vigor.
We at Rafter W Ranch are excited to be your source of chicken feet, and all the immune-boosting benefits of bone broth, just in time for winter cold season.