This classic French dish is traditionally made with a whole chicken and lots and lots of time. But my friends at Cook’s Illustrated created a streamlined version that is my new favorite chicken dish.
You start by brining the chicken, ensuring that it is well seasoned and juicy (you will thank me). Then you roast a ton of garlic with shallots. Next, you sear the chicken and then add it to the garlic mixture along with some fresh herbs.
The result is a wildly flavorful dish, with crispy-skinned chicken that is juicy and tender, and a rich and creamy sauce full of buttery garlic cloves and caramelized shallots. I mean, you could eat a whole loaf of bread just sopping up the juices. That good! The wine does something brilliant and the fresh herbs … ahhhh.
Don’t worry about being overpowered by the garlic. The roasting method, and later simmering, removes the hot bite and renders it soft and smooth and sweet. You’ll love it.
I’ve adapted it from Cook’s Illustrated, making it even easier for the home cook.
Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic
- One 3.5-4 pound chicken, butchered (or, as I did, buy two split chicken breasts, 4 drumsticks and 2 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs – cheaper than a whole organic chicken at Whole Foods and you don’t have to cut up a whole bird!)
- Ground black pepper
- 3 medium heads of garlic, outer paper skins removed, cloves separated but unpeeled
- 2 medium shallots, peeled and quartered
- 1 T EVOO
- 3/4 c. dry white wine
- 3/4 c. low-sodium chicken broth
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 sprig fresh rosemary
- 1 bay leaf
Preheat oven to 400. Dissolve 1/4 c. salt in 2 quarts of water (8 c.) in large container. Submerge chicken in the brine, cover and refrigerate 30 min. Remove chicken from brine, rinse, pat dry. Season both sides with pepper.
While the chicken brines, roast the garlic. My herb garden is growing like crazy so I was happy to snip some thyme and rosemary for this dish.
Combine garlic, shallots, 2 tsp EVOO, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper in a pie plate. Cover tightly with foil and roast until softened and beginning to brown, about 30 min., shaking the pan once halfway through. Uncover, stir and continue to roast, uncovered until browned and fully tender, 10 min. more, stirring once or twice. Remove from oven and increase oven temp to 450. The smell of the roasting garlic and shallots is intoxicating!
Heat remaining 1 tsp EVOO in large oven-safe skillet over medium-high. Brown chicken, skin side down, until golden, 5 min. Flip and brown the second side (do in batches if you are slim on room). Transfer to large plate and pour off the fat from the skillet. Off the heat, add the wine, chicken broth, thyme, rosemary and bay leaf to skillet, scraping up any browned bits. Set skillet over medium heat, add garlic mixture and return the chicken, skin side up, nestling on top of the garlic cloves. Place skillet in oven and roast until cooked through, 160-165 degrees. Remove from oven.
If your chicken isn’t nicely toasted on top, you can quickly broil it at this point, but I found that my chicken got TOO dark, so use your judgment. Next time, I won’t broil.
Cook’s Illustrated asks you then to go through a whole additional process of straining the juices, but I say just pour everything over the chicken when you serve.
Squeeze out the soft garlic cloves and spread them on a crusty baguette as you eat – it’s simply wonderful.
A wonderful dish to entertain with, as I probably will next time!
Enjoy, friends! xoxo