Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic

Inspiration: This is one of those recipes that I’ve seen floating around everywhere, and I’ve always wanted to try it. Forty cloves of garlic? Really? How could you not want to try that?

What we Loved: There were so many good things about this recipe that I don’t even know where to begin. The chicken was so crispy and browned on the outside and ridiculously moist on the inside, and the garlic cloves melted in your mouth just like butter. I couldn’t believe how tender they were, and their mellow roasted flavor was amazing. Forty cloves of garlic seems like a lot, but it’s really not. Cooking the garlic for so long really mellows out it’s flavor and leaves you with cloves that have such a wonderfully browned and mild flavor. If I had to pick a favorite part of this dish, though, I think it would be the gravy. B and I both agreed that it was really just perfect. It had so much rich, salty, garlicy, roasted chicken flavor, and you could really taste the thyme and rosemary that cooked with the chicken, too.

Helpful Hints: This was my first time carving a raw chicken. I was nervous to do it, but I watched a handful of YouTube videos and took my time, and I felt pretty proud when I was all done and had eight nice cuts sitting there :) I think the biggest thing to remember is that you really have to use a good knife and use some force when cutting the chicken, getting through the bones, etc. I found the how-to videos to be really helpful, so I recommend watching some if you’ve never done it before! And as for the recipe itself, I can’t believe I’m going to say this, but the only thing I would change next time would be to add more garlic (!). I really loved eating the whole roasted cloves alongside the chicken, and after using some to make the gravy, saving some for leftovers, and splitting the rest with my hubby, I wished that I had some more. Next time, I might make chicken with 60 cloves of garlic :)

Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic
Source: Annie’s Eats, originally from Cook’s Illustrated

I made a few changes to the recipe. Here’s the recipe as I made it.

1 whole chicken, cut into 8 serving pieces
Kosher salt and black pepper
3 large heads garlic (about 40 cloves), separated into cloves and peeled
1 small onion, roughly chopped
Extra virgin olive oil
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1 sprig fresh rosemary
1 bay leaf
¾ cup dry white wine
¾ cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon butter

1. Place the garlic and onion in a small baking dish. Drizzle liberally with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Cover tightly with foil, and roast at 400 degrees for 30 minutes, shaking the dish after 15 minutes to toss the contents. After 30 minutes, remove the foil and roast for 10 more minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside.

2. Heat a drizzle of olive oil over medium high heat in a 12-inch skillet. Season the chicken liberally with salt and pepper. Place four of the chicken pieces skin-side down in the pan, and cook them for 5 minutes without disturbing them. This will create a golden brown crust. Flip the pieces, and cook for another 5 minutes. Transfer the chicken pieces to a platter, and then repeat the process with the four remaining chicken pieces. Remove the second batch of chicken from the pan when it’s browned.

3. Off the heat, add the white wine, chicken broth, thyme, rosemary, and bay leaf to the pan. Scrape the bottom of the pan with a spoon to loosen the browned bits. Place the chicken pieces back into the pan, skin-side up. Add the garlic mixture, placing it around the chicken in the pan sauce.

4. Place the pan in the oven, and roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of one of the breasts registers 170 degrees F. Remove the pan from the oven, and transfer the chicken to a serving dish. Using a slotted spoon, scatter the garlic cloves over the chicken. Reserve 10 cloves of garlic on a separate plate. Cover the chicken with foil to keep warm.

5. Drain the pan sauce through a mesh sieve into a smaller sauce pan. Clean the sieve, and then place the reserved 10 garlic cloves into the sieve. Using a spoon, smash the cloves in the sieve and push the resulting paste through it into the sauce. Bring the sauce to a simmer, stirring to incorporate the garlic. Whisk in the tablespoon of butter, and season with salt and pepper if necessary.

6. Serve the chicken with the garlic cloves and pan sauce.

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