Why Ina Garten Calls Her Immune-Boosting Chicken Stock 'Liquid Gold'

Stocks are a pantry essential for home cooks. They serve as a basis for soups, stews, and gravies and make a rich cooking liquid. But preparing stocks yourself can prove time-consuming, especially compared to picking up a can or carton of it at the supermarket. A recipe for slow cooker chicken stock might take six hours. But creating your own is well worth it, according to Ina Garten, who suggests it will benefit both your mouth and your health. In an Instagram post, the contessa of barefoot fame wrote about making her own stock. "The house smells great and then I'll have it to make soups and stews for the rest of the week. Plus it's good for you and it boosts your immune system!"

On her Barefoot Contessa website, the celebrity chef outlines her delicious chicken stock recipe and we can practically smell the comforting aroma. In a "huge pot," she combines roasting chickens, onions, carrots, celery, parsnips, fresh parsley, thyme, dill and garlic, salt, and peppercorns. Allowing the ingredients to simmer for four hours yields what Garten called "liquid gold" in a 2016 post. The contessa said making it from scratch in this way delivers a result that is more 'flavorful" than commercial stocks.

On Instagram, Garten's followers heartily endorsed this stock. "The ONLY chicken stock worth making," said one fan. "I am amazed by how delicious it is ... My children (1 and 3) drink it like it's water," said another.

Chicken stock may reduce inflammation

But could Ina Garten's chicken stock possibly live up to the claim that this "liquid gold" can boost the immune system? It seems there is at least some scientific evidence to support the legend of chicken soup's curative properties. According to BBC Good Food, a study published in the medical journal Chest (via NCBI) found that the compound carnosine, which chicken provides in abundance, could have the potential to "[minimize] inflammation in the upper respiratory tract." 

The vegetables in chicken soup recipes might fight colds, according to clinical dietitian Sandy Allonen. As reported by HealthDay, Allonen said that carrots, celery, and onions (all of which are in Garten's chicken stock recipe) provide vitamins C and K, not to mention minerals and antioxidants. These help the body "build a healthy immune system" and can help people "recover from illness more quickly," the dietitian explained. Moreover, BBC Good Food points out that onions and garlic have been shown to possess anti-inflammatory properties as well.

Finally, chicken soup might have the psychological power to make you feel better. If your childhood memories include a loving parent or grandparent serving up a bowl of chicken soup to cure what ails you, the placebo effect can make you feel better still today. Garten's fans on Instagram might not need those reasons to try the stock, though. As one person wrote, "I have made this recipe numerous times. It is exceptional, thank you Ina for the tastiest stock ever!!!!"