21 June 2010

40-Clove Garlic Chicken

40-clove garlic chicken is exactly what it sounds like: chicken cooked with 40 cloves of garlic (give or take). While it may sound excessive, the final result tastes great. Providing everyone around you has the same meal, nobody will notice the garlic breath you inevitably will have after eating this! I ended up serving this with oven-roasted potatoes and asparagus. The traditional recipe includes a whole chicken, quartered or cut into 8 pieces, but I decided to go with boneless chicken breasts, as that was what I had available.

40-Clove Garlic Chicken

1 lb chicken (any kind you want, but I used boneless, skinless chicken breasts)
4 garlic bulbs
bunch of fresh thyme
olive oil

Start by heating the oven to 350 degrees F. Next, separate all the garlic cloves from the bulbs and peel them. The fastest way to do this is simply to smash the clove by pressing the "side" (the flat part) of your knife on top of them, and the garlic should come right out. Just make sure you don't press too hard, as you're not looking to smash the garlic, just peel it. We're not making mashed garlic here! Cut off and discard any browned parts of the garlic cloves and set aside.

Cut the chicken into roughly 1-inch pieces. Place in a large, oven-proof pot (a dutch oven works really well for this) together with about two tablespoons of olive oil. Brown over medium heat without cooking the chicken completely through. Add the garlic cloves, about 5 twigs of thyme and salt and pepper to the pot. Cover and place in the oven for 1h30m.

If you wish to serve this with potatoes, it's a good time to start preparing them as soon as the chicken goes in the oven. Peel two or three large potatoes and cut into bite-sized pieces. Place the potatoes in a roasting pan and toss with some olive oil (about two tablespoons should do it), salt, pepper and paprika. Place the potatoes in the oven (together with the chicken) and roast for the remainder of the chicken's cooking time, which will probably be closer to 1h15m at this time. Make sure you stir the potatoes occasionally, and check them when they've been in the oven for about 45 minutes to make sure they're not going to be roasted to oblivion.

If you're making asparagus, I suggest tossing the vegetables with some olive oil, salt and pepper and roasting in a shallow pan for the last 20 minutes of the chicken's cooking time.

Once all the food is ready, remove the thyme twigs from the pot and serve with a glass of red wine, a cold beer or whatever else you have available.

And, again, make sure everyone you think you'll be close to for the next day or two eats the same thing, because you'll be eating a lot of garlic!