Despite the fact that this is classic European peasant fare, modern cooks tend to avoid it because unless you have a chronic vampire problem, 40 cloves seems…excessive. Ah! But when cooked into the dish the result is a smooth, sweet, earthy flavor and an aroma that wraps the kitchen like a hug. Make sure you have bread on hand to spread the soft cloves onto and don’t forget to sop up that oil. Yes, all of it!
40 Cloves and a Chicken
- 1 3-to-4 pound broiler/fryer chicken (cut into eight pieces)
- kosher salt (to taste)
- black pepper (freshly ground, to taste)
- 2 tablespoons plus 1/2 cup olive oil (not extra-virgin)
- 5 sprigs fresh thyme
- 40 cloves garlic (peeled)
- Heat oven to 350°F.
- Season the chicken all over with salt and pepper. Coat the chicken pieces on all sides with 2 tablespoons of the oil.
- In a 12-inch straight-sided oven-safe sauté pan over high heat, cook the chicken for 5 to 7 minutes per side, until nicely browned. Remove the pan from the heat; add the remaining 1/2 cup oil, the thyme, and garlic cloves. Cover and bake for 1 1/2 hours.
- Remove the pan from the oven and set aside for 15 minutes with the lid on. Serve family style with plenty of toasted bread to spread the softened, fragrant garlic on.
Yields: Approximately 6 servings