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Best chicken stock ever - thanks to Sam Fujisaka and others

I'd been searching for ages for chicken feet cause Sam and others raved about its excellent properties for chicken stock. I finally found some a couple of months ago, not long after Sam died (figured he helped me there), and stuck them in the freezer. Then on a recent stop at Whole Foods I found some fresh chicken backs that they were just putting out. I always make stock in my good-size slow cooker but this wasn't going to work. I probably had 3# of feet and 4 backs. I got out my largest Lodge DO, put them all in and filled with water. I never use any seasoning because I then have a very basic flavor that I can do what I wish with. I preheated my oven to 200, brought the DO to a boil, covered and put in the oven for about ten hours. I'd planned to stop at that point. But I decided (after cooling enough to handle) to break up all the feet and backs and cook some more. I realized at that point that I could have been using my induction cooktop instead of the oven as it has a super low (not even a simmer) setting. I cooked another five hours or so. Refrigerated overnight and had almost no fat to remove. The chilled stock was completely gelatinized/solid. Now that is stock! I reheated it just enough to get it back to its liquid state for packaging and freezing. It's the best tasting stock I've ever had. I find myself raising the bar on certain things. Hit a new high with this one. Thanks, Sam, and everyone else who helped me make such a wonderful thing.

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  1. I first read about making stock this way on Ruhlman's blog. Totally amazing stock that has richness and fullness. This also works with roasted carcasses..... try it with your turkey after Thanksgiving and you will find a new level of nirvana. [I do the oven at 180ยบ.]

    4 Replies
    1. re: smtucker

      The turkey or the carcass or the stock?

      1. re: jvanderh

        180 oven temperature when making the stock with the leftover carcass.

        1. re: jvanderh

          The carcass and all bones for making the stock, nirvana when you eat the stock.

          1. re: smtucker

            Very good. But this was off the charts unbelievably fantastic.

      2. Thanks for posting. I've never used chicken feet (I *do* have a market that has them out once in a while), but I was just thinking that I had started taking shortcuts with stock, and felt strongly that the subsequent dishes were suffering.

        I just added chicken feet to my shopping list.

        14 Replies
        1. re: onceadaylily

          Lily,

          Where do you get chicken feet? I am in Glenview and Harrisons Poultry farm didn't have them.

          1. re: cajundave

            I can't imagine I was at Jewel, so I would have to say that I've seen them in the market in Lincolnwood Plaza in Skokie (I think the market is itself called Lincolnwood Market) or Village Market (on Dempster in Evanston). I would call first, before you make the trek.

            Tonight, I'll ask the boyfriend if he remembers for certain which market (every single time he sees a package, he asks me if I need them. I can't wait to say yes!).

            1. re: onceadaylily

              Lincolnwood Produce
              7175 N Lincoln Ave
              (between Fitch Ave & Kostner Ave)
              Lincolnwood, IL 60712
              (847) 329-0600

              Village Marketplace
              4034 Dempster St
              (between Crawford Ave & Karlov Ave)
              Skokie, IL 60076
              (847) 933-0900

              1. re: onceadaylily

                Thanks, I grew up in Evanston. My parents live there and I visit often.

                I thought it would be funny to show up with a huge bag of chicken feet!

                1. re: cajundave

                  I giggled when I put it on my shopping list.

                  1. re: onceadaylily

                    I got a kick out of opening the frezzer (drawer on the bottome) and there they sat - or stood :)

                    1. re: c oliver

                      . . . they stand? Oh, this is going to be fun.

                      1. re: onceadaylily

                        What? You think they play the piano?

                        1. re: c oliver

                          No, but maybe they'll dance.

                          I never thought of them as . . . retaining that ability. I always just picture them bundled up on their sides, not lined up like chorus girls.

              2. re: cajundave

                An alternative to chicken feet are chicken wings, especially wings with the tips.

                1. re: dave_c

                  Wings are good but they are no replacement for feet.

                  1. re: bookhound

                    Wings are so expensive now! I remember getting them for free when I was a kid.

                    Backs, necks, and gizzards could usually be had either super cheap or free, depending on how overloaded the butcher was at the moment. Stewing hens and leftover carcasses is what we usually used to make stock.

              3. re: onceadaylily

                I hear that chicken lips are good too.

                1. re: souschef

                  Suitable dinner music, I would think. :0

              4. Just to add to the OP that, yup, chicken feet make for excellent gelatinized stock. I'm fortunate to have a Latino market close by, and they stock all sort of parts that you don't normally find in the usual large market chains.

                6 Replies
                1. re: monavano

                  I'm soooo jealous. But when we're in SF a times a years, I try to stock up. I was prepared for the stock to be really good. I was blown away by how good. And now I have over a gallon of it in my freezer. Yay! Next batch maybe I'll make dim sum.

                  1. re: monavano

                    What is it about the feet that elevates the stock so? I buy backs at the store, chop them up and stockpile in the freezer until I have enough for a batch of stock. I don't cook as long and my stock is always completely solid when refrigerated.

                    1. re: DMW

                      The main reason is the collagen. But I wouldn't have cared if it had completely gelantinized. It's the flavor that knocked my socks off. I just kept eating spoonful after spoonful :) And two packs of feet and four backs made over a gallon of stock.

                      1. re: c oliver

                        Exactly. My favorite Chinese restaurant makes incredible soup. I inquired on the parts, and was told the wings. So I did the same and yes it was good but still not like theres. I then talked to a friend who is an excellect Chinese cook and author of medicinal soups. She mentioned that the flavorful stock was made from feet and backs. I did go out and get the feet, amazing difference. I was finally able to get that flavor I was trying to achieve before. Its so full of flavor, and filling. Liquid gold.

                      2. re: DMW

                        Yup, it's the collagen. It's always nice to get a gelatinized end product, but it's not necessary. Whatever you use, it's about extracting flavor.

                      3. re: monavano

                        I have never used chicken feet and my stock was always gelatinized, almost like jello. I made mine in the pressure cooker.

                      4. The original comment has been removed
                        1. You said you don't season your stock but did you mean no aromatic vegetables either?

                          7 Replies
                          1. re: greygarious

                            Not a single solitary thing :) I think I started doing that some years ago perhaps from a Cooks Illustrated article. All it tastes like is chicken - no salt either. So I can go a vegetable route, an Asian, whatever.

                            1. re: c oliver

                              I can see pros and cons to that. On the one hand, you have a very flexible stock. On the other, you now have to add quality aromatics to anything you cook if you want those flavors. Still, I can see why it makes sense!

                              1. re: tzakiel

                                I have on occasion been out of celery or carrot (never onion) when I had leftover meat and bones meriting stockmaking, and always noted on the container label what was missing before freezing it, so I could compensate when using the stock later. Never tried it without aromatics, and can't imagine any use where I wouldn't want these three. but it's good to know that they are not a prerequisite for a good-tasting stock

                                1. re: greygarious

                                  I am anxious to try the recipe but what is a "DO?"

                                    1. re: greygarious

                                      Great. I just happened to get one for my BD last month. I am still learning how to use it properly.

                                  1. re: greygarious

                                    I never added anything to stock either. If celery or other ingredients were wanted they were added to the recipe the stock was being used for.