Chicken with Forty Cloves of Garlic is one of those quintessential dishes everyone has to try at least once in their lives. While some people may be turned off by the amount of garlic, this is actually one of the least garlicky dishes I've ever had. Something happens when the garlic simmers in the sauce and you end up with something surprisingly delicate. In fact, this is the perfect dish for when you'd like to make something special for someone who isn't crazy about bold flavors. So don't be alarmed. I'm sure you'll be just as surprised as I was by how subtle the garlic taste is and how wonderfully moist the chicken comes out.
I left out the Cognac since I didn't have any and I skipped the blanching step with the garlic. Instead I just peeled the cloves by slightly smashing them. Next time I'd probably just buy a jar of peeled cloves from the store to make it easy.
Would I make this again? Honestly, I don't know with this one. While the dish was definitely good, I felt like it lacked a punch. I've never had Chicken with Forty Cloves of Garlic before though so I'm not sure how this dish compares to other ones, but I think it definitely needs some red pepper flakes or something to bring it up a notch.
Chicken with Forty Cloves of Garlic
3 whole heads garlic, about 40 cloves
2 (3 1/2-pound) chickens, cut into eighths
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
1. Separate the cloves of garlic and drop them into a pot of boiling water for 60 seconds. Drain the garlic and peel. Set aside.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. 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.
Source: Ina Garten