40 Cloves and a Chicken

40 Cloves and a Chicken

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)
  1. Heat oven to 350°F.
  2. Season the chicken all over with salt and pepper. Coat the chicken pieces on all sides with 2 tablespoons of the oil.
  3. 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.
  4. 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


Add yours
  1. 1

    I’ve made this twice now. The only thing I do differently is add some fresh rosemary sprigs. This is so simple and delicious. You need to have that crusty bread, but as a suggestion, make a baked potato, and use the cooked oil and garlic instead the potato instead of butter. Holy cow, it’s amazing! (And, if you have oil and garlic left over, save it and use it on top of foccacia!)

  2. 3
    Allison C

    Squeezing some lemon juice in there makes it even more amazing, the smell immediately reminds me of home and of when my dad would make this!

  3. 5

    Made this tonight and loved it! I only cooked it for about 55 min. and the meat was cooked through! I have a lot of olive oil left in the pan (fine by me I poured the garlic olive mixture on top of my mashed potatoes) is this because I didn’t cook it to the full extent? The picture shown looks like the chicken soaked it all up.

  4. 8
    Robert R.

    Tried it. Added some fresh rosemary to it as well. For the record, it was orgasmic. I feel like I need to unbuckle my pants and smoke something now.

    • 11

      I cut 4 breast in half. Works great. I also added 4 potatoes cut in half and a full cup of olive oil for dipping. Only draw back to this recipe is the time it takes to peel 40 cloves of garlic.

      • 12

        Throw an entire bulb in a mason jar, screw tyhe lid on and shake like crazy. It not only breaks it up for you, if you shake it enough it peels the cloves. It honestly works.

      • 13
        Brooks DAVIS DDS

        I symphatize, but having made this marvelous dish, 40 cloves is an estimate. I go on the upper side on the cloves, a few rosemary woody sprigs from my back yard, a lemon cut in half and pre-warmed via the microwave, I don’t find that thyme the recipe calls for does a thing to this recipe. Bone in chicken pieces work great, they are moist to the end. Dark pieces as in chicken thighs go well with the bone in chicken breasts. At 1.5 hours, no peeking, 350 degrees after Browning, just follow the recipe instructions, but you can substitute the thyme for rosemary , or use a combo. Lemon and chicken work well, use regular olive oil, not extra virgin, it holds up better with the long cook time at 350 degrees, tight fitting lid on your whatever is a must….

    • 14

      I cut chicken breast in half and potatoes cut in half and a full cup of olive oil for dipping. Only draw back to this recipe is the time it takes to peel 40 cloves of garlic.

  5. 15

    Pretty sure Suzanne Somers had this in her recipe book like, 20 years ago!!!! Delicious!!! AND garlic is so good for keeping your immune system up in the cold winter months!!

  6. 16

    My mother made us this dish many years ago, she always made it with Vermouth. I’ve not met any one who didn’t LOVE it. And the sopping is wonderful.

  7. 18

    This sounds tasty but 350F for 1 & 1/2 hours covered? Seems excessive. Wouldn’t the chicken be rather over cooked in an hour and half baked in a covered pan? Maybe not. I would think 45 minute to an hour would be max. Or more fat/oil and at lower temp to make it a true confit.

    • 19
      Brooks Davis

      Not at all, Swaim. The tight fitting lid on your salute pan does it. Remember, there is NO water at all in this recipe, the olive oil will not boil, no steam, the chicken falls off the bone when done.

  8. 22
    Andrea Braun

    I never peeled the garlic. Separate into cloves and then after cooking, you can squeeze them onto your bread. They pop right out.

  9. 24
    Andrea Braun. Poetiklicense@gmail.om

    I never peeled the garlic. Separate into cloves and then after cooking, you can squeeze them onto your bread. They pop right out.

    • 27

      When garlic is cooked like this, it’s more sweet – less pungent. I don’t think it’s excessively garlicky – it’s so good!

  10. 30
    Katie Gnagey

    Obviously, every head of garlic is going to vary. But usually when I make this 3 to 4 heads of garlic is all I need. If you end up with a little extra garlic don’t be afraid to throw into the pot as well. I have done this with 60 cloves of garlic and it turned out just as good. It’s a quick, easy, budget friendly and delicious meal that is a favorite at our house!

  11. 35

    I have seen people misunderstand the difference between a head of garlic and a clove of garlic. You buy a whole head at the store – should feel heavy for its size and be firm all over. When you prepare this recipe, you will break the head apart into individual cloves and peel each. Fastest way to peel this large qty is to get two metal bowls of the same size, turn the 2nd upside down over the first, hold the rims together and shake vigorously for a minute or so. You should then be able to pick out most of the cloves from their papery wrappings.

  12. 36

    This dish is so great. Highly recommend having that bread on the side! Spreadable delicious garlic is just one of the great details about this recipe!

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