Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic

Yesterday, my parents came over to paint a room and hang out at our construction-free new house. Joey and I attended the E3 Expo. My mom offered to make us dinner, so we searched through our recipe books and finally decided on Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic. I realize it sounds ridiculous, and so does Ina Garten--the recipe's author. However, the garlic doesn't taste strong and sharp, instead it is sweet and tender. In fact, in the end, the chicken didn't taste "garlicky" at all--instead it got its flavor from the wine and cognac in the recipe. It was pretty good though, so good that my dad wanted to add it to my mom's official repertoire!

Don't let the longish ingredient list turn you away! Also, my mom said this was sort of time you may want to consider making it on the weekend--or at least pealing the garlic the day before.

2-3 whole heads garlic (40 cloves)
2 3 1/2 pound chickens (my mom recommends getting all one style of chicken like a package of thighs and legs or a package of breasts because the cut up whole chickens had a lot of weight that was unused)
Black Pepper
1 T unsalted butter
2 T olive oil
3 T Cognac, divided (you can buy the mini bottles at liquor stores like BevMo)
1 1/2 Cs dry white wine (we found a picnic pack that comes in 4 small bottles so we don't wast it all)
1 T fresh thyme
2 T flour
2 T heavy cream (this recipe includes making a sauce...I might not excel at this recipe)


Separate the cloves of garlic and drop them into a pot of boiling water for 60 seconds. Drain the garlic and peel. Set aside.

Dry the chicken with paper towels. Season liberally with salt and pepper on both sides. Heat the butter and oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. In batches, saute the chicken in the fat, skin side down first, until nicely browned, about 3 to 5 minutes on each side. Turn with tongs or a spatula; you don't want to pierce the skin with a fork. If the fat is burning, turn the heat down to medium. When a batch is done, transfer it to a plate and continue to saute all the chicken in batches. Remove the last chicken to the plate and add all of the garlic to the pot. Lower the heat and saute for 5 to 10 minutes, turning often, until evenly browned. Add 2 tablespoons of the Cognac and the wine, return to a boil, and scrape the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Return the chicken to the pot with the juices and sprinkle with the thyme leaves. Cover and simmer over the lowest heat for about 30 minutes, until all the chicken is done.

Remove the chicken to a platter and cover with aluminum foil to keep warm. In a small bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup of the sauce and the flour and then whisk it back into the sauce in the pot. Raise the heat, add the remaining tablespoon of Cognac and the cream, and boil for 3 minutes. Add salt and pepper, to taste; it should be very flavorful because chicken tends to be bland. Pour the sauce and the garlic over the chicken and serve hot.

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