Introduction: Chicken With 40 Cloves of Garlic

About: Full time scientist and amateur maker. Looking to improve my making skills, I spend most of my free time renovating or working with cameras or wood. I'm hoping to learn plastic, metal and leather working skill…

Trust me, its not too garlic-ky

My wife likes to grow garlic in our veg patch, only home-grown garlic is like a tomahawk missile. This dish really takes the edge of the garlic and you can serve this dish to anyone without fear of garlic breath. This rustic French dish is real peasant style food, it's got great taste but made with basic ingredients, basic techniques. You'll be left with a lot of sauce, which you can mop up with toast smothered in the cooked garlic puree. The idea is you fish through the sauce finding cooked garlic cloves to open up and smother on little toasts.

The other thing about this recipe is it's super easy. If you don't have an ingredient just skip it. It'll be fine. The actual amounts can be up or down. It doesn't matter.

Step 1: Chill the Wine ...

Lets get our priorities in order. This may be a peasant dish but we're not animals. First we need to find a nice dry chardonnay and get it slightly chilled, a nice 16C / 60F would do.

Step 2: Ingredients. Dice the Veg and Prep the Meat.

You will need

  1. A chicken (butchered down into pieces).
  2. White wine (about a glass)
  3. Chicken stock (about 2 cups / 500ml / half a quart)
  4. 40 cloves of garlic ( - unpeeled - ), trust me, 40, seriously.
  5. Bread, I used a sliced baguette.
  6. Mirepoix / soup base
    1. 1 carrot - diced
    2. 2 stalks of celery - diced
    3. 1 onion - diced
    4. A good handful of fresh herbs such as fresh bay leaf, thyme, rosemary, parsley.
  7. Lemon (not authentic, but lemon can really lift this dish)
  8. Olive oil

You will also need

  1. A casserole pot, slightly larger than the chicken.
  2. Knife
  3. Chopping boards.

Note and substitutes

  • My chicken was 1.9kg and was plenty for 4 people with some left over. Here's a good instructable for cutting down a chicken. 6-8 chicken thighs would be an OK substitute. Dried herbs should also be OK but dial back the amount since dried herbs are less voluminous.
  • I used one cutting board. But I gave it a good clean after cutting down the chicken.
  • Store bought stock tends to contain a lot of salt as a preservative. If you're using store bought stock there's probably no need to add extra salt. I've not put salt and pepper on the ingredients, add these as per your own discretion. I add a good twist of each from the grinder to the chicken before frying it.
  • This dish is typically made with a whole chicken with the cavity filled with carrot celery and onion and cooked in the oven but I prefer to cut down the chicken and use the carcass for my next batch stock at the same time. By butchering the chicken into pieces, we need far less stock and wine. Cutting the chicken into smaller pieces also reduces the cook time from about an hour and a half down to 15 - 20 minutes.

Step 3: Get Some Color on the Chicken.

Put the casserole pot on the high or medium-high heat. Once hot, add some cooking oil, then start frying the meat in small batches so the pan is never crowded. We're just trying to generate some flavor by getting a nice color on the chicken. There is no need to cook the chicken right through yet. Once all the meat is brown on all sides return all the chicken to the pot and arrange so its evenly distributed, not just a big pile in the middle.

Step 4: Add Garlic, Mirepoix and Wine. Then the Lemon Juice and Stock.

Add the garlic, the diced veg, any herbs you're using and the wine. I like to reserve some fresh thyme leaves and fresh parsley leaves for the end. Other herbs like rosemary or any dried herbs need to be cooked.

Give the pot a bit of a jiggle so that the veg doesn't all just sit on the top. Cook for a couple of minutes and let the wine reduce.

Turn down the heat to low, add the stock, enough to almost cover the meat. Add a squeeze of lemon juice. Let the mixture simmer until the chicken is cooked. 15 - 20 minutes would be about right, depending on how big your pieces are.

Step 5: Pour a Glass of Wine and Chill for a Bit.

I said it took about 15 -20 minutes to cook, but I just sit down with a glass of wine. When the glass is empty the chicken is cooked. If you're unsure chicken is cooked when you prick into it and the juices are clear.

Once your glass is empty start making your toast. I sliced up a baguette put a bit of olive oil on it and toasted it in the oven. I also made a side of baby carrots with a dash of honey.

Step 6: Enjoy.

There should be a lot of sauce ... And a lot of toast to soak up that chicken-y goodness. You should be able to find little cloves in the sauce, they should feel very soft. Squeeze them onto the toast like this and dip into the sauce as you eat.