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Forty Cloves of Garlic and a Chicken [Fierce Foodie]

How much do you really love your friends?  Sure, you’re willing to cook for them, but do you love them enough to peel dozens of cloves of garlic? John Thorne, my favorite food writer, gives this recipe for chicken with 40 cloves. As a garlic lover, I highly recommend biting the bullet and freeing them of their pesky skins. It’s completely worth it for the unique, luxurious pleasure of eating them by the creamy spoonful. So come on, the smell will wear off…in a day or two.


John Thorne’s Chicken and 40 Cloves of Garlic
(courtesy of – Serves four


3-1/2 to 4 pound chicken, cut into serving pieces
Salt and pepper
40 cloves of garlic (about 4 heads)
1 to 2 tablespoons fruity olive oil
A bouquet garni of several sprigs of parsley and a branch of thyme
Chapons [crusts] of country bread, toasted in olive oil


Preheat oven to 200F. Season the pieces of chicken with salt and pepper. Examine the cloves of garlic. If they are fresh and firm—and if you care to—use them unpeeled. Otherwise, peel them carefully discarding any soft or moldy ones and cutting away any brown spots and assertive green sprouts. Choose a flameproof casserole with a well-fitting lid, just large enough to hold the chicken pieces comfortably. Heat the olive oil in it over medium-high heat and, when it is hot, quickly brown the chicken pieces on all sides. Do this in batches, removing each piece to a platter as soon as it is done. When all the pieces have been browned, put the garlic cloves into the hot oil and sauté these, stirring constantly, for two or three minutes, until they soften begin to brown a little at the edges.

Remove the casserole from the heat and return the chicken pieces, stirring so that they and the garlic cloves are well mixed. Work the bouquet garni down among them, cover the pot tightly with foil, and press on the lid. Cook for four hours. The chicken will be meltingly tender and suffused with the garlic. Serve with fried crusts of bread, which are to be spread with the soft garlic.

featured image credit: (mostly absent)

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