A full-flavored chicken dish with sweet and nutty garlic | TribLIVE.com
Food & Drink

A full-flavored chicken dish with sweet and nutty garlic

The recipe for Chicken With 40 Cloves Of Garlic appears in the cookbook “How to Braise Everything.”
“How to Braise Everything”

Perhaps an arbitrary number of cloves, the 40 in this French dish are iconic; while the chicken braises, the generous cloves become appealingly soft and spreadable. But their flavor is often spiritless.

Another offense: The chicken is tender, but the breast meat dries out and tastes wan. We wanted to revisit this classic dish to make it faster and better, so it would boast well-browned, full-flavored chicken, sweet and nutty garlic and a savory sauce.

Using chicken pieces rather than a whole bird ensured that the meat cooked evenly — and quickly. We roasted the garlic cloves first to caramelize them and develop their flavor and then added them to the braising liquid with the chicken.

Finishing the braised chicken under the broiler made the skin crispy. Some shallots and herbs added flavor to the sauce, and several roasted garlic cloves, smashed into a paste, thickened and flavored the sauce. If using a kosher chicken, skip the brining process. Avoid heads of garlic that have begun to sprout (the green shoots will make the sauce taste bitter).

Tie the rosemary and thyme sprigs together with kitchen twine so they will be easy to retrieve from the pan. Serve the dish with slices of crusty baguette; you can spread them with the roasted garlic cloves.

Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic

Servings: 4

Start to finish: 2 hours

3 large garlic heads, cloves separated and unpeeled

2 shallots, peeled and quartered lengthwise

5 teaspoons olive oil

Salt and pepper

2 sprigs fresh thyme

1 sprig fresh rosemary

1 bay leaf

4 pounds bone-in chicken pieces

(2 split breasts cut in half crosswise, 2 drumsticks and 2 thighs)

34 cup dry vermouth or dry white wine

34 cup chicken broth

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 2 pieces and chilled

Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 400 F. Toss garlic and shallots with 2 teaspoons oil, 14 teaspoon salt and 14 teaspoon pepper in pie plate; cover tightly with aluminum foil and roast until softened and beginning to brown, about 30 minutes, shaking pie plate once after 15 minutes to toss contents (foil can be left on during tossing). Uncover, stir and continue to roast, uncovered, until garlic is browned and fully tender, about 10 minutes longer, stirring halfway through roasting. Remove pie plate from oven and increase oven temperature to 450 F.

Using kitchen twine, tie together thyme sprigs, rosemary sprig and bay leaf; set aside.

Season chicken with salt and pepper. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in 12-inch oven-safe skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Add chicken skin side down and cook until well browned, 5 to 8 minutes, reducing heat if pan begins to scorch. Using tongs, flip chicken and lightly brown second side, about 3 minutes; transfer to large plate. Pour off fat from skillet. Off heat, add vermouth, broth and herb bundle to now-empty skillet, scraping up any browned bits. Place skillet over medium heat, add garlic mixture, then nestle chicken skin side up on top of and between garlic cloves.

Transfer skillet to oven and cook chicken until breasts register 160 F and drumsticks/thighs register 175 F, 10 to 12 minutes. If desired, heat broiler element and broil chicken to crisp skin, 3 to 5 minutes.

Remove skillet from oven (skillet handle will be hot) and transfer chicken to platter. Using slotted spoon, remove 10 to 12 garlic cloves and set aside. Transfer remaining garlic cloves and shallots to platter with chicken. Discard herb bundle. Place reserved garlic cloves in fine-mesh strainer set over bowl. Using rubber spatula, push garlic cloves through strainer; discard skins. Add garlic paste to sauce in skillet and bring to simmer, whisking occasionally to incorporate garlic. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Off heat, whisk in butter. Serve chicken, passing sauce separately.

Nutrition information per serving: 577 calories; 277 calories from fat; 31 g fat (8 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 173 mg cholesterol; 1033 mg sodium; 24 g carbohydrate; 3 g fiber; 8 g sugar; 40 g protein.

Categories: Lifestyles | Food Drink
TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.