I am republishing chicken with 40 cloves of garlic today to celebrate National Garlic Day.
Chicken with 40 cloves of garlic is an old classic with at least 40 ways to make it. Saveur Magazine has a recipe that says you can use up to 100 cloves. Nigella Lawson’s recipe seemed to be the easiest using chicken thighs and not bothering to peel the garlic, and Ina Garten’s recipe seemed the richest. No surprise there.
Don’t you love these women; they have transformed comfort food into sexy food, because it’s good food with no gimmicks, just good ingredients.
I ended up taking most of my inspiration from Nigella because I love chicken thighs and I love her viewpoint, but I did peel the garlic. Probably if I could choose one celebrity chef to cook in the kitchen with, it would be Nigella, because, no matter might happen, it would be fun. I wouldn’t be self-conscious as I might be with Martha. Nigella has no pretension, doesn’t take herself too seriously, yet she is fiercely passionate about food.
One might think that using 40 cloves of garlic for a chicken recipe is overkill, but this might be one dish where more is actually more. When garlic is baked and braised in the juices of the chicken, its character changes. The garlic mellows out, and becomes an incredible spread for crusty bread that sops up the juices this dish puts forth. The thighs remained lovely, browned and juicy, but the garlic and juice in the pot are divine.
I enjoy fresh sage at this time of year, and I used chives, fresh sage and fresh thyme (because these herbs grows in my garden). You could choose the herbs you like best. I also love what tarragon and shallots can do for dish. I used chives in place of scallions because it’s what I had on hand.
How to Make Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic
Nigella uses thighs on the bone (my favorite); James Beard uses legs. You could do that or even use breasts, but I think dark meat is the right meat of choice, as it will yield a nice amount of fat into the juices. Two thighs per person is a nice portion. Due to the richness of this dish, I recommend a crisp salad with a tart champagne dressing to offset the richness of this dish. Salad and crusty bread, a bottle of wine, and you have a heavenly meal, with a bit of chocolate for dessert, yes, perhaps Pots de Crème.
This is comfort food, healthy comfort food, for garlic is one of those things that is resoundingly delightful to eat, and full of benefits.
The only dilemma in making this recipe is peeling the garlic, so I made you a video showing you how easy it is to do. This is my first video, and there will be lots more to come.
I hope you enjoyed that as it opens the doors to making it so much easier to cook with garlic. I’m in the process of making several how to videos. Which kinds of cooking/baking videos are you most interested in seeing? Follow me on youtube here.
- 5½ quart dutch oven with lid, or baking dish that will hold 8 thighs in one layer.
- 8 chicken thighs on bone with skin
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- salt, pepper
- 40 cloves of garlic, peeled
- fresh chives (can use scallions, or shallots)
- few sprigs fresh thyme
- 2 tablespoons dry vermouth (or white wine)
- fresh sage leaves
- Season chicken with salt and pepper
- Brown chicken in olive oil in heavy dutch oven. You may need to brown in two batches. Thigh skin is thick; brown well on medium low heat.
- Remove chicken to platter. Set aside.
- Add in herbs and half of the garlic to oil in pot. Add in dry vermouth. Add chicken thighs on top of the garlic. Add in remaining garlic.
- Cover. Bake at 350 for 1½ hours.
- Serve with crusty bread.
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