Many years ago, on my first trip to New Orleans for Mardi Gras, I was shopping for take-home souvenirs. I found a deck of playing cards that also had 52 recipes on them. Included in those recipes was one for Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic. Now, I love my garlic, so when I saw this recipe my eyes got as big as a 50 cent piece with joy! I decided I’d make it for my group of my twenty-something year old friends. I didn’t tell them what it was exactly, but everyone wanted a second helping. When someone finally asked what the dish was called I said “Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic” and even the people who swore they hated garlic thought it was delicious! I’ve been making this recipe since then.
The recipe is straight forward and super easy to make. The 40 cloves of garlic in the dish become sweet and almost buttery in the cooking process. The garlic mellows and has a lovely mild aroma. I use chicken thighs in my recipe because they stay juicy and don’t dry out while roasting.
Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic is originally a French dish that was made popular in the U.S. by the great American chef and author, James Beard. His recipe includes nutmeg and vermouth and you should definitely give that version a try. It’s also delicious. You can find his recipe by clicking here.
Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic
- 8 pieces of bone-in chicken thighs, washed and pat dry
- Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 Tbs. unsalted butter
- 40 garlic cloves, peeled
- 1 Tbs. minced fresh rosemary
- 1 Tbs. minced fresh thyme
- 1/4 cup white wine
- 3/4 cup chicken stock
Preheat an oven to 400°F.
Season the chicken on both sides with salt and pepper. In a wide cast iron skillet or Dutch oven, over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil and butter. Working in batches, brown the chicken, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate.
Add the garlic to the pan and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Remove the pan from the heat. Add the chicken, rosemary, and thyme and stir to combine. Cover the pan, transfer to the oven and roast for 20 minutes. Baste the chicken with the accumulated juices. Continue roasting, covered, until the chicken is cooked through and the juices run clear when the meat is pierced with a knife, about 30 minutes more.
Transfer the chicken to a platter; leave the garlic in the pan. Cover the chicken loosely with aluminum foil to keep warm.
Set the pan over medium heat and mash half of the garlic cloves with the back of a spoon. Add the wine, deglaze the pan by scraping the brown bits from the bottom, and cook for 2 minutes. Add the stock and cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Taste and add additional salt and pepper if needed. Plate the chicken and spoon the sauce over the chicken. Serve with toasted bread to dip the sauce in. Enjoy!