Yes, you heard right. 40 cloves of garlic and a chicken. A traditional French recipe, I stumbled upon in my “a little taste of France” cookbook. What? Really? What do you need 40 cloves for? But knowing the French are experts at cooking, and trying to increase my repertoire of French dishes, I tried it. And loved it.
First of all, I love baked garlic cloves with bread and this recipe allows you to soap up all the juices of chicken and garlic with the bread. So if you are feeling adventuresome, give it a try! Serves 4 people.
2 Celery Stalks, including leaves
2 springs of rosemary
4 sprigs of thyme
4 springs of flat-leaf Italian parsley
1 x 1.6 kg (3lb 8 oz) chicken
40 garlic cloves unpeeled
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 carrot, roughly chopped
1 small onion cut into 4 wedges
250 ml (1 cup) white wine
1 baguette, cut into slices
small springs of herbs
Preheat the oven to 200c or 400 degrees. Put a chopped celery stalk and two sprigs each of the rosemary, thyme and parsley into the chicken cavity. Add 6 cloves of garlic. Tie the legs together and tuck the wings under.
Brush the chicken liberally with some of the oil and season well. Scatter about 10 more cloves of garlic over the base of the large casserole dish. Put the remaining sprigs of herbs, chopped celery, carrot and onion in the casserole.
Put the chicken in the dish. Scatter the remaining garlic cloves around the chicken and add the remaining oil and wine. Cover and bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes, or until the chicken is tender and the juices run clear when the thigh is pierced with a skewer.
To serve, carefully lift the chicken out of the casserole dish. Strain off the juices into a small saucepan. Use tongs to pick out the garlic cloves from the strained mixture. Spoon off the fat from the juices and boil for 2-3 minutes to reduce and thicken a little.
Cut the chicken into serving portions, pour over a little of the juices and scatter with the garlic. Toast the baguette slices. Garnish the chicken with sprigs of herbs and serve with the bread to be spread with the soft flesh squeezed from the garlic.