chicken with 40 cloves of garlic


I first came across this recipe on the Barefoot Contessa show years ago, I was very fascinated by the number of garlic used.  That was my first experience with so many cloves of garlic, to my pleasant surprise the garlic tasted really sweet and without the normal strong taste.  From then I have developed a new loving relationship with garlic, I love to roast them slowly in the oven and serve them with a nice Brie, ahhh….now I know why garlic is also called the stinking rose.

One of the challenges of making this dish  was peeling the 40 cloves of garlic, it said in the recipe to stick it in hot water, but I was doing it the wrong way and so I ended up having to peel them with a knife.  Then I got lazy once and bought the ready peeled garlic cloves from the store, and I found they are not as fragrant as the freshly peeled ones.

I tried it differently this time, I separated the cloves and trimmed the “root” end of it, and put the separated cloves in boiled water for a minute, and then took them out, and they came off easily when I squeezed the ‘head” of the cloves….vola,…..they are so easy to peel!

This got to be my favorite dish, and even though I have a non-chicken eater at home, she makes an exception whenever I cook this.  The sauce is really good, and this time I could not find fresh thyme, the only ones I could get came in with the rest of the ” poultry blend”, I ended up using both rosemary and thyme, and I found I love it that way.  Next time I will for sure throw in some fresh rosemary as well.

So here is the recipe I used from the Food network, it is a rich creamy dish goes well with steam rice or pasta.


  • 3 whole heads garlic, about 40 cloves
  • 2 (3 1/2-pound) chickens, cut into eighths
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons good olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons Cognac, divided
  • 1 1/2 cups dry white wine
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream


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.


About mamaj

mom with two grown up girls, children pastor, avid knitter, coffee-lover, bear-collector. I love reading, hanging out with my girl friends and yes, I am owned by a golden lab, Jaden.

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