Forty cloves of garlic seems like a lot, but after slow roasting in the oven, the garlic becomes mellow and flavorful. This chicken dish is French in origin, with James Beard bringing a simple version to American cooking back in the 70s. My version is quite similar, with just a few tweaks and additions.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 whole, cut-up chicken
- 40 cloves of garlic, peeled
- 2 medium onions, chopped
- 4 stalks of celery, chopped
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- ½ teaspoon dried rosemary
- 1 ½ cups dry white wine
- 6 sprigs fresh thyme
- 4 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 4 sprigs fresh parsley
- Additional olive oil for drizzling
I start with a whole cut-up chicken and generously salt and pepper.
Then brown the chicken in olive oil and butter, just until lightly browned. Remove the chicken from the pot and add the forty cloves of garlic…be prepared to feel your mouth water as the garlic aroma surrounds you. You can, of course, take the time to peel 40 cloves of garlic. I do not, opting instead to purchase one of the jars of already peeled cloves found in the produce section of most grocery stores. These usually hold slightly more than 40 cloves, but I throw them all in the pot. And the jar doesn’t keep long, so buy it and use it quickly or you’ll find your garlic growing things that you don’t want to eat.
Once the garlic is lightly browned, toss in the chopped onion and celery. Now it really starts smelling great. Allow the vegetables to cook for about five minutes or so, just until they start to get tender.
Pour in the wine and scrape the bottom to release all the tasty bits of chicken and garlic, then place the chicken right on top of the vegetables, drizzle with a little olive oil and sprinkle with dried thyme and rosemary. Lay your fresh herbs across the chicken and cover the pot.
Cook in a 375 oven for about an hour. I strongly suggest you grab a glass of wine and hang in the kitchen, so you can inhale the goodness emanating from your oven. I added some roasted potato wedges, though mashed potatoes would probably be better. And definitely sliced French bread for spreading the roasted garlic.