Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic

From Cook's Country | April/May 2013
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Why this recipe works:

To take the harshness out of this classic French dish while staying true to its name, we found that precooking the garlic cloves was key. Bone-in chicken thighs cook quickly, meaning less time for the garlic to mellow, but a mere 4-minute head start in the microwave softens it, and a pinch of… read more

To take the harshness out of this classic French dish while staying true to its name, we found that precooking the garlic cloves was key. Bone-in chicken thighs cook quickly, meaning less time for the garlic to mellow, but a mere 4-minute head start in the microwave softens it, and a pinch of sugar helps the cloves brown in the rendered chicken fat in the pan. Fresh thyme, sherry, and cream make a luscious sauce, and mashing half of the garlic into the sauce ensures that there’s sweet garlic flavor in every bite.

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Serves 4

You will need three or four heads of garlic to yield 40 cloves. You can substitute four bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts (halved crosswise) for the thighs, but reduce the cooking time in step 3 to 15 to 20 minutes.

Ingredients

  • 40 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 8 (5- to 7-ounce) bone-in chicken thighs, trimmed
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup dry sherry
  • 3/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch dissolved in 1 tablespoon water
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 bay leaf

Instructions

  1. 1. Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 450 degrees. Toss garlic in bowl with 1 teaspoon oil and sugar. Microwave garlic until slightly softened, with light brown spotting, about 4 minutes, stirring halfway through microwaving.

    2. Pat chicken dry with paper towels and season with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Heat remaining 1 teaspoon oil in 12-inch ovensafe skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Place chicken in skillet, skin side down, and cook until skin is well browned, 7 to 10 minutes. Transfer to plate, skin side up. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon fat from skillet. Reduce heat to medium-low, add garlic, and cook until evenly browned, about 1 minute.

    3. Off heat, add sherry to skillet. Return skillet to medium heat and bring sherry to simmer, scraping up any browned bits. Cook until sherry coats garlic and pan is nearly dry, about 4 minutes. Stir in broth, cream, cornstarch mixture, thyme, and bay leaf and simmer until slightly thickened, about 3 minutes. Return chicken to skillet, skin side up, with any accumulated juices. Transfer skillet to oven and bake until chicken registers 175 degrees, 18 to 22 minutes.

    4. Transfer chicken and half of garlic to serving dish. Discard thyme and bay leaf. Using potato masher, mash remaining garlic into sauce, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Pour half of sauce around chicken. Serve, passing remaining sauce separately.

Garlic in a Jiffy

Forty cloves is a lot of garlic—that’s the point of this recipe. Our tests have shown that prepeeled supermarket garlic works fine in this (and other) recipes. If you prefer to use heads of garlic, our favorite garlic peeler, Zak! Designs E-Z Rol Garlic Peeler, makes quick work of peeling.

USE THIS: The best tool for the job.

OR BUY THIS: Works fine in recipes.

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