Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic is another perfect recipe for that Dutch Oven that I am now so in love with.
I had been waiting to make this dish that looks ever so delicious on the pages of Barefoot Contessa ever since I scored the book. The picture of crisp brown chicken skin dotted with thyme leaves smothered in a creamy wine sauce loaded with all those buttery, nutty garlic chunks had been taunting me for over a year!
First, I needed the vessel. Then I was waiting for someone else to enjoy it- because the veggie-man in the house couldn't possibly.
But last week, in a moment of weakness, I could wait no longer.
I decided to try my hand at this Provençal favorite, and was fully prepared to eat every last morsel for leftovers, by myself, even if it took all week!
I have adapted this slightly from Ina's original recipe, by using thighs and drumsticks instead of cutting whole chickens into pieces, for ease and convenience really. And as with all French cooking, quality is de rigeur, so use the best free-range or organic chicken you can find.
Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic
- 3 whole heads garlic, about 40 cloves
- 3 1/2 pounds free range/organic chicken drumsticks and thighs
- Coarse salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons good olive oil
- 3 tablespoons Cognac, divided
- 1 1/2 cups dry white wine
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream
Separate the cloves of garlic and drop them into a pot of boiling water for 60 seconds. Drain the garlic and peel. Set aside.
Dry chicken well with paper towels. Season liberally with salt and pepper on both sides. Heat the butter and oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Saute the chicken in batches- in the fat, skin side down first, until nicely browned, about 3 to 5 minutes on each side.
Turn with tongs or a spatula; Don't pierce the skin with a fork! If the fat is burning, turn the heat down to medium. When a batch is done, transfer to a plate and continue to saute until all chicken is browned.
Remove the last chicken to the plate and add the garlic to the pot. Lower the heat and saute for 5 to 10 minutes, turning often, until evenly browned. Add 2 tablespoons of the Cognac and the wine, return to a boil, and scrape the brown bits from the bottom of the pan.
Return the chicken to the pot with the juices and sprinkle with the thyme leaves. Cover and simmer over the lowest heat for about 30 minutes, until all the chicken is done.
Remove the chicken to a platter and cover with aluminum foil to keep warm.
In a small bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup of the sauce and the flour and then whisk it back into the sauce in the pot. Raise the heat, add the remaining tablespoon of Cognac and the cream, and boil for 3 minutes.
Add salt and pepper, to taste; it should be very flavorful because chicken tends to be bland. Pour the sauce and the garlic over the chicken and serve hot.