Sauté of chicken with 40 garlic cloves

It is well-established that David is a fan of garlic. He will often gleefully double or even triple the amount of garlic called for in a recipe. However, when I came across this recipe, which has long been ear-marked for us to try, he found that his garlic lust had met its match.

Recipe

from The Country Cooking of France
Serves 3-4

1 3½-4 lbs chicken, cut into 8 pieces
3 tbsp butter
3 to 4 heads of garlic, separated into cloves, unpeeled
1 bouquet garni (parsley sprig, bay leaf, thyme sprigs)
2 cups chicken broth
salt and pepper
1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley

Season chicken pieces with salt and pepper. Melt half of the butter in a sauté pan over medium heat until it stops foaming. Add chicken pieces, skin side down, and brown thoroughly, 5 to 7 minutes. Turn and brown the other side, 2 to 3 minutes longer. Add the garlic cloves and chicken brown, cover, and cook over low heat for 10 minutes. Uncover and simmer until well reduced, 10 to 15 minutes. Add the bouquet garni and cover again until chicken is tender and falls easily from a 2-pronged fork, 10 to 15 minutes longer.

Transfer chicken pieces and half of the garlic to a serving dish, cover with foil and keep warm. Work the liquid and vegetables through a strainer, into a saucepan, pressing hard to extract all the garlic pulp. Bring the sauce to a boil, take it off the heat, and whisk in the remaining butter in small pieces. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Spoon the sauce over the chicken, sprinkle with the parsley, and serve.

Musings

A few notes on preparation: We ended up doing a ¾ recipe.

The sauce was the big winner of this recipe, with its a wonderfully round, rich flavour. The garlic was by no means overpowering, as it mellowed nicely over the course of cooking. You could also squeeze out the soft garlic pulp from the extra garlic that had been set aside, which was also quite tasty. The chicken was a touch on the dry side actually, and D was not sold on the way the chicken itself was cooked. He speculated that perhaps braising it in the oven instead on the stove, where the heat would be gentler, might improve things. Otherwise, a super delicious dish, and one I hope we improve upon in the future.

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