Sunday, October 19, 2008

Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic

I saw this recipe on The Way the Cookie Crumbles and have been wanting to try this for awhile. OH DEAR GOD. If this recipe doesn't convince you to go out and buy a Cook's Illustrated cookbook, I don't know what will. This is the best chicken recipe I have EVER made!

Although the recipe calls for it, I would not buy an entire cut-up chicken. I have never bought one before, and frankly, it grossed me out. I would suggest buying skin-on chicken breasts.

Additionally, I only used 2 heads of garlic. I did only make 3 chicken pieces, so that was part of it, but since the papery shell is left on, I'm not sure how much of the flavor goes into the sauce. At the end, you do have to press out the garlic from 10 cloves, but the rest seem like they're kind of there for decoration. I don't know, though, I'm sure Cook's Illustrated has its reasons!

The sauce is really good at the end, but it could be optional. I thought the chicken was very tasty without it.

Serves 3 to 4


Table salt
1 whole chicken, cut into pieces (or skin-on chicken of your choice)
Ground black pepper
3 heads of garlic, outer skins removed, cloves separated and unpeeled
2 medium shallots, peeled and quartered pole to pole
1 tablespoon of olive oil
2 sprigs of fresh thyme
1 sprig of rosemary
1 bay leaf
3/4 cup of dry white wine or dry vermouth (I used my normal white cooking wine)
3/4 cup of chicken broth
2 tablespoons of unsalted butter

1. Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Dissolve 1/4 cup of table salt in 2 quarts of cold water in a large bowl. Submerge chicken in brine and refrigerate until fully seasoned; about 30 minutes. Rinse chicken under running water and pat dry with paper towels. Season with pepper.

2. While the chicken is brining, combine the cloves and shallots in a pie pan with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Put in the preheated oven. If you have "normal" sized garlic, it should be done in 30 minutes. If the cloves are larger, leave in for 45 minutes. Toss the garlic and shallots every 15 minutes and stir. When done, remove the pie pan and set aside. Increase oven temperature to 450 degrees.

3. Add 1 teaspoon of olive oil to a large, oven proof (it just has to be stainless steel) skillet over medium-high heat. When the skillet begins to smoke, place the chicken in, skin-side down, and cook for about 5 minutes, until deep golden brown. Using tongs, turn over and cook for another 4-5 minutes. Remove chicken from pan and place on a large plate; discard excess fat. Remove the pan from heat, and add wine or vermouth, chicken broth, and herbs to the pan. (The original recipe says to tie together the herbs with kitchen twine; I didn't have any, so I just placed them in the pan together.) Stir to combine, and using a spatula or wooden spoon, loosen the brown bits from the bottom of the ban to combine with sauce. Set skillet over medium heat, and add the garlic and shallot mixture into the pan. Add the chicken back into the pan, skin side up, on and in between the garlic cloves. Put a meat thermometer in one of the chicken pieces, and place the entire skillet into the oven.

4. Bake chicken in the oven for about 10-12 minutes, or until thermometer reads 160 degrees. Set oven to broil, and broil chicken for 3-5 minutes, or until the chicken is brown and crispy. Using oven mitts, remove skillet from oven and place back on stove. Remove chicken, garlic, and shallots and place on a serving dish, reserving 10 garlic cloves. Discard herbs.

5. Turn stove top on to medium heat. Using a sieve or garlic press, press 10 garlic cloves out of their shell. Place butter in sauce and using a whisk, stir the garlic paste into the sauce. Bring liquid to a simmer. Pour into a gravy boat and serve with chicken.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I absolutely agree - this is hands down the best chicken I have ever eaten.

I always spread the extra garlic on bread. It's my favorite part of the meal!

I agree with you on your other points - the sauce is nice but not necessary, and I usually buy chicken pieces as well, but I like thighs. It makes more sense for me anyway, since I usually cut the recipe in half for me and DH.