Chicken with Forty One Cloves of Garlic

The original name is “Chicken with forty cloves of garlic”. A friend of mine was wondering why Ali Baba and this delicious chicken were associated with the same number: forty!? Somewhere, somehow, thieves should get less credit than garlic! That was cute. She had a point! hahaha So here we go: Poulet aux 41 gousses d’ail!

This classical french dish is definitely a very easy chicken recipe, with great flavors. The preparation time is minimal and the outcome great! We all need to have this recipe handy and think about it when we don’t have time to be “standing actively” in the kitchen. A little preparation, seasoning and that’s it! The oven takes care of the rest.

The “41” cloves of garlic are more for the idea than the exact number! And as you might already know, slow roasted garlic has a mellow, sweet buttery flavor and is easier to digest than its raw version. Don’t be scared by the amount of garlic!! You won’t be disappointed.

Bon Appétit!

Chicken with Forty One Cloves of Garlic

Adapted from The Food of France. A Journey for Food Lovers.
Serves 4

2 celery stalks, including leaves, chopped
2 sprigs of rosemary
4 sprigs of thyme
4 sprigs of flat-leaf parsley
1 whole chicken (around 1,6 kg / 3 lb 8 oz)
41 garlic cloves, unpeeled
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 carrot, roughly chopped
1 small onion, cut into 4 wedges
1 cup (250 ml) white wine

Prep and scale all the ingredients.
You will need a large casserole dish with an oven safe lid (I used a cast iron pot), cooking twine, a serving dish and a small serving bowl. 

Heat the oven to 200C (400F).

In the chicken cavity, put one chopped celery stalk, 2 sprigs of rosemary, 2 sprigs of thyme and 2 sprigs of parsley, 10 cloves of garlic. Tie the legs together using a cooking twine and tuck the wings tips under the whole chicken. Rub the chicken with half of the olive oil and season well with salt and black pepper. Set aside.

Put 10 cloves of garlic on the bottom of the casserole dish with the remaining herbs, the chopped celery, carrot and onion wedges. Place the whole chicken on top. Scatter the remaining 21 garlic cloves around the chicken. Add the rest of the olive oil and one cup of white wine. Cover and put in the oven for 1 hour and 30 minutes or until the chicken is tender and the thigh juices run clear. (you can check that with a skewer or a small sharp knife).

To serve, carefully lift the chicken out of the casserole dish and place it in a serving dish.  With a slotted spoon remove all the chopped vegetables and garlic cloves and place them around the chicken in the serving dish. Cover with aluminum foil and set aside for a few minutes.
Put the casserole with the remaining cooking juices on the stove, over medium-high heat. Boil for just a few minutes to reduce and thicken the sauce a little bit. Place in a small bowl.

Serve the chicken with the sauce on the side.
You can serve this dish by itself, with potato purée or small pasta to catch all the delicious juices… or with lightly toasted french baguettes slices on which you can squeeze the soft garlic cloves. It’s divine!! :)