The Secret of Chicken Stock Nirvana

What's the secret to chicken stock with the richest chicken flavor? A chicken part you may only eat at a dim sum restaurant: feet. Stock cooked slowly and made from chicken feet and backs is full of collagen, so it becomes fully gelatinized when chilled, which gives it great heft and mouthfeel. Even more important, it tastes amazing. "It's the best tasting stock I've ever had," says c oliver. "I just kept eating spoonful after spoonful." Adding chicken feet to her stock made "an amazing difference," says chef chicklet. "I was finally able to get that flavor I was trying to achieve before. It's so full of flavor, and filling. Liquid gold," she says.

Chicken feet are sold at Chinese and Latin American markets, either fresh or frozen. Cut the nails off the feet with poultry shears or a large knife; this is "much easier than trying to get them completely clean of gunk underneath," says Melanie Wong. Melanie also blanches the feet and any other parts that haven't already been cooked, which she says gives "a clearer, cleaner stock without skimming."

An easy way to simmer stock for a long time with steady heat is to do it in a low oven all day or overnight. smtucker sets the oven at 180°F to make stock. "Totally amazing stock that has richness and fullness," even using roasted carcasses, she says.

Discuss: Best chicken stock ever – thanks to Sam Fujisaka and others