Once there was a recipe that caught my attention. As an eager newish cook, I was intrigued. Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic sounded delightful and French. It also seemed extravagant, slightly tricky and memorable.
So naturally I made it for the first time at my monthly supper club. I couldn’t have been more excited. We were eating outside that evening and I triumphantly brought out the pan simmering with chicken covered with a creamy garlic sauce. Plated and ready to eat with my guests, I cut into the chicken and….
Mortified, I swiftly took away the plates and threw the chicken back into the oven in efforts to bring it to 165 degrees so not to poison my guests.
The truest of friends, they laughed off my error. We poured more wine, laughed and ate cauliflower gratin while the main dish became edible.
That was the day I dreamed up a scheme to never serve undercooked Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic again.How many years has it been since this mishap? Three maybe four? I have lost track of the years it has taken me to work through this recipe concept and get it right.
But first let me explain what exactly this recipe entails.
Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic is a traditional French dish. Chicken is braised with 40 cloves of garlic (yes 40…sometimes even 42-43) in a rich, sometimes creamy, sauce. It is decadent comforting and everything that’s right with the world.Garlic, depending on its preparation can exude different flavors into a meal. The garlic in this recipe, because it is cooked whole (not crushed, chopped or minced) does not overpower the dish.
This recipe requires three heads of garlic with each garlic clove peeled and left whole to be slowly simmered. It produces a sweet savory flavor and the garlic itself becomes soft and smushy which adds a creaminess to each bite.
I have tried several Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic recipes—from stovetop to oven to slow-cooker. Each recipe has given me insight into creating flavor and richness that makes this meal so memorable.My goal for this spin on the beloved French classic was to maintain developed flavor and perfectly cooked chicken that is expected from Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic. However I wanted to thicken the sauce and have it prepared casserole style. Lastly I wanted to top it off with one of my favorite French biscuits… gougères
Mostly, I desired to develop a recipe where I wouldn’t have to worry about serving raw chicken to my friends AND I could have the dish prepared the day before the dinner party.
So naturally I tried this new approach to Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic with a different set of dinner guests.Two days before the meal I mapped out the recipe, made my grocery list and picked up the required elements at Market Street.
Three heads of garlic (the heavier the head, the better the garlic). Organic chicken (cut-up by the very obliging butcher at Market Street). White wine. Heavy cream. Gruyere. Organic all-purpose flour. Pastured raised eggs.
And of course I couldn’t forget fresh flowers from the florist because every dinner party needs a touch of the outdoors.My trip to Market Street filled me with the confidence that this Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic Bake (topped with gougères ) would be a beaming success.
The meal was prepped the evening before the much-anticipated dinner party. The gougères , however were to be prepared 2 hours before the guests arrived.
At 6 pm the house was sparkling, the fireplace glowing, the table was set and the kids were out with Randy. One by one I scooped the gougères dough on top of the chicken mixture. The pan went into the oven, I removed my apron and poured a glass of prosecco.I set down by the fire and sighed.
My guests were greeted with the warmth of a home cooked meal and a stress free smiling hostess. Little did they know that my smile was one of achievement and satisfaction…these friends would not be getting undercooked chicken.That evening I corrected a cooking mishap and brought into existence a recipe that is one of my absolute favorites. Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic Bake.
Decadent. Memorable. French. Everything a dinner party should be.
Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic Bake
1 whole chicken, cut into 8 pieces
3 teaspoons kosher salt
3 heads of garlic
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup leeks (white parts only), halved and thinly sliced
1 cup dry white wine (I prefer pinot grigio)
1/4 cup dry sherry
8 sprigs thyme
4 tablespoons flour
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup mascarpone
2 cups low sodium chicken stock
gougères dough (click here for recipe)
- Evenly distribute 2 teaspoons of salt on both sides of the chicken pieces. Set aside.
- Separate the garlic cloves from the head of garlic. Do not remove the peels yet.
- Fill a small saucepan with water and bring to a boil. Place the garlic cloves into the water. Boil for 1 minute and remove. Let the garlic cloves cool, about 5 minutes.
- Remove the peel from the garlic cloves. Set aside.
- In a large dutch oven, or cast iron skillet, over medium-high heat, heat up the olive oil and 1 tablespoon of butter. In batches brown the chicken, 4 minutes per side (for a total of 8 minutes). Remove the chicken from the pan, set aside covered with foil and let cool.
- Remove the pan from the stovetop and let cool for 2 minutes.
- Lower the heat to medium, place the pan back onto the stovetop and melt 1 tablespoon of butter. Add the garlic and leeks. Cook until golden, about 3-5 minutes. Stir frequently so to not burn the garlic and leeks (if the garlic burns it will affect the overall flavor of this meal).
- Add the white wine to the pan and deglaze. Scrape up any brown bits. Add the chicken stock, sherry, thyme and 1 teaspoon kosher salt. Stir well.
- Add the chicken pieces back into the pan. Increase the heat, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes, covered.
- Remove the chicken and place onto a cutting board. Let the chicken cool for 15 minutes.
- (While the chicken cools, make the gougères dough, click here for recipe)
- Once the chicken is cool, remove the meat from the bone and cut into bite-sized pieces.
- Remove the thyme bundle from the pan sauce. Heat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Place the flour into a small bowl. Add enough pan sauce to the flour to make a slurry (gravy). Stir with a fork or whisk to work out any flour clumps.
- Add the slurry back into the pan with the remaining sauce. Whisk well. Bring the sauce to a simmer, and cook for 10 minutes.
- Add the sour cream, mascarpone, cream and cut chicken into pan. Stir well.
- Top the pan with small scoops of the gougères dough.
- Place the pan into the oven and cook for 30 minutes, or until the gougères are golden and the mixture is bubbling.
- Serve warm with crème fraiche mashed potatoes, click here for recipe.
Disclosure: This is a sponsored post on behalf of Market Street. All opinions are my own and I appreciate your support of the brands and companies I love.