Sunday, December 4, 2011

40 Clove Garlic Chicken

I know what you’re probably thinking. “Forty cloves of garlic? That’s a lot of garlic!”

Yes, forty whole cloves. Seems like a whole lot of bad breath, a whole lot of peeling, and a whole lot of time trying to get the smell off your hands. At least, that was my first reaction. The sound of having so much of this one particularly pungent ingredient could either turn you on or off. At first glance, it seems that forty cloves just might be pushing the limits of aromatic enticement, even for the smelliest of garlic lovers.

Turns out, this dish is not nearly as intense or as in-your-face garlicky as the name might first imply. And that’s a good thing. That’s because after the cloves are evenly browned in the pan, they are braised along with a seared, whole cut up chicken, reducing them to rich, slightly nutty, sweet versions of themselves that melt into a tasty paste, similar to roasted garlic. You can eat the whole cloves and not even get garlic breath.

So did I peel every clove? Psht. No. Why would I do that, when the grocery store sells whole pints of em’ already peeled? Unlike the chopped garlic in the jar, which has a funny, unnatural smell/taste to it, it is still fresh garlic. I don’t care what kind of culinary purist you are, whether or not you sat there and peeled each clove will not be evident, nor will it make a difference in the dish. There is a trick to quickly blanching the garlic in boiling water to make peeling easier (see original recipe link with recipe), but I personally don’t want to do that either. Save some time and use pre-peeled.

Speaking of the original recipe link, I referenced Ina Garten’s well-reviewed Chicken with Forty Cloves of Garlic recipe for this dish. She’s not my favorite, but her food is good. Plus, it’s always fun to impersonate her while cooking. “Yeess, I’m going to be bringing to this to a faahbulous picnic in the Hamptons. My wonderful husband Jeffrey’s gonna love it.”

I wanted to alter the recipe more, but it seemed so good on its own. I especially love the addition of Cognac. The main difference in my recipe is that I used cloudy apple cider instead of white wine. Not that I have anything against white wine—apple cider was just more convenient at the time and it worked out deliciously. The chicken came out so tender; it was amazing with the rich garlic clove sauce (made by thickening the cooking liquid). It was great the first time with mashed potatoes, and the leftovers with couscous were even better. I bet you Jeffrey loved this one!

40 Clove Garlic Chicken
Derived from Food Network, Ina Garten, “Chicken with Forty Cloves of Garlic
Yield: 4 servings
- 40 cloves of garlic, peeled ( I purchased pre-peeled ones from the grocery store)
- 1, 3-4 pound chicken, cut into pieces
- Kosher salt
- Ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons good olive oil
- 3 tablespoons Cognac, divided
- 1 ½ cups cloudy apple cider
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream
• Clean and thoroughly dry the chicken. Season the pieces liberally with salt and pepper on both sides. Heat the butter and oil in large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Sauté the chicken in batches, skin side down first, until nicely browned on both sides, about 3-5 minutes. If the fat is burning, turn the heat down to medium. Transfer the chicken to a plate and reserve.
• Add the garlic to the pot. Lower the heat and sauté 5-10 minutes, turning often, until evenly browned. Add 2 tablespoons of the Cognac and the apple cider. Bring to a boil, scraping the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Return the chicken to the pot with the juices and sprinkle with the thyme. Cover and simmer on the lowest heat for about 30 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through.
• Remove the chicken to a platter and cover with foil to keep warm. In a small bowl, whisk together ½ cup of the sauce and the flour, then whisk back into the sauce in the pot. Raise the heat; add the remaining cognac and the cream. Boil for 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Pour the garlic over the chicken and serve hot.


5 Star Foodie said...

I've heard so much about this dish and never made it, Junior loves garlic since recently and would totally love this.

Linda Harding said...

I'm the same as 5 Star Foodie... I've heard about it so many times, but have never tried to make it, nor have I had the pleasure of eating it! I'm with you on not peeling the garlic yourself... garlic-ky fingernails are not fun!

Trix said...

I am of the mind that you cannot have too much garlic in a dish so I know I would LOVE this. I am not a huge fan of the Ina either but hey - if the food's good that's what really matters. And I agree: it is not cheating to get already-peeled garlic!!

Claudia said...

I've made this. We all love it - and you are amazingly not overpowered by the garlic just beautifully "one with the garlic."

Mother Rimmy said...

I've seen this recipe before and was hesitant to give it a try - garlic breath and peeling all those cloves was a turn off. You've convinced me with the option to buy cloves already peeled. Great tip!

Karen said...

I always wanted to try chicken with 40 cloves but still haven't. Your post is making my mouth water for it now! I would definitely go the route of pre-peeled...why spend all that time??

angela@spinachtiger said...

Love 40 clove chicken. An easy way to peel fresh garlic. Take two stainless bowls. One acts as lid. Put whole garlic in and hold two bowls together and shake. It really works. It's what chefs do. Just in case you make this again and have skinned garic.

Victoria said...

What a classic! I thought the same thing once upon a time, 40 cloves! Seems like a lot, but it's just perfect :) Good tip with the pre-peeled garlic!

herbal products said...

Clove adds a brilliant and tasteful falvor to this chicken dish. Clove also boosts the nutritional value of this dish.