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Chicken with Forty Cloves of Garlic

(recipe, Maria Villegas & Sarah Randell)

Introduction

This sounds frighteningly overpowering, but as anyone who has ever roasted garlic knows, the cloves mellow and sweeten in the oven until the creamy flesh that is squeezed from the skins is quite different from the raw clove.

Ingredients

  1. 2 celery stalks, including leaves
  2. 2 rosemary sprigs
  3. 4 thyme sprigs
  4. 4 flat-leaf parsley sprigs
  5. 1 chicken (about 3ΒΌ pounds)
  6. 40 garlic cloves, unpeeled
  7. 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  8. Salt and pepper
  9. 1 carrot, roughly chopped
  10. 1 small onion, cut into 4 wedges
  11. 1 cup white wine
  12. 1 baguette, cut into slices
  13. Small herb sprigs, for garnish

Steps

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Put a chopped celery stalk and 2 sprigs each of the rosemary, thyme, and parsley into the chicken cavity. Add 6 cloves of garlic. Tie the legs together and tuck the wing tips under.
  2. Brush the chicken liberally with some of the oil and season well with salt and pepper. Scatter about 10 more garlic cloves over the bottom of a large Dutch oven. Put the remaining sprigs of herbs, chopped celery, carrot, and onion in the dish.
  3. Put the chicken in the Dutch oven. Scatter the remaining garlic cloves around the chicken and add the remaining oil and the wine. Cover and bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes, or until the chicken is tender and the juices run clear when the thigh is pierced with a skewer.
  4. To serve, carefully remove the chicken from the Dutch oven. Strain off the juices into a small saucepan. Use tongs to pick out the garlic cloves from the strained mixture. Spoon off the fat from the juices and boil for 2 to 3 minutes, to reduce and thicken the sauce a little.
  5. Cut the chicken into serving portions, pour over some of the juices, and scatter with the garlic. Toast the baguette slices, then garnish the chicken with the herb sprigs and serve with the bread. Spread the bread with the soft flesh squeezed from the garlic.

Note

Culinate editor's notes: A few extra steps, if you have the time: Squeeze all the roasted garlic from the cloves and mix the garlic into a spreadable paste; put it into a little crock for passing at the table. Put about a tablespoon each of butter and flour into the drained Dutch oven and heat it over a medium flame into a light roux, then add the strained juices and, whisking, cook into a light gravy. Serve the chicken and gravy with mashed potatoes; add some of the roasted garlic to the potatoes, if you like.