James Beard’s Chicken with 40 cloves of garlic
August 1, 2010, 8:39 pm
Filed under: James Beard Project, Poultry, Technique

Fear not, the aroma when it’s cooking will convince you that 40 cloves of garlic is a wonderful thing. Truuuuuusssst meeeeee!

2/3 cup oil
8 chicken drumsticks and 8 thighs (I used 12 thighs because that’s what was in the package)
4 ribs celery cut into long sticks
2 medium sized onions, chopped
6 sprigs parsley
1 tablespoon fresh tarragon (or 1 teaspoon dried…I used dried)
1/2 cup dry vermouth (I only had 1/4 cup so I used 1/4 cup dry white wine as well)
2-1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Grated nutmeg (if yours is already grated, use a scant 1/4 teaspoon. Mine was whole so I just kinda grated it all over lightly)
40 cloves garlic, unpeeled.(this wound up being 2 big heads)

Put the oil in a shallow dish, add the chicken pieces (I skinned them first) and tuen them to coat all sides evenly with the oil.
Cover the bottom of a heavy 6-quart casserole (who has one that big? I don’t. I used an enamel turkey roasting pan) with a mixture of the celery and onion. Add the parsely and tarragon,

celery, onions, parsley and tarragon in a large casserole

and lay the chicken pieces on top. pour the vermouth (and white wine) over them, sprinkle with the salt, pepper, and add a dash or two of nutmeg, and tuck the garlic cloves around and between the chicken pieces.

ooo aaah

Cover the top of the casserole tightly with aluminum foil and then the lid (this creates an airtight seal so the steam does not escape). Bake in a 375 degree ovenfor 1-1/2 hours without removing the cover.


Serve the chicken, pan juices, and whole garlic cloves with thin slices of heated french bread or hot toast. The garlic should be squeezed from the root end of it’s papery husk onto the bread or toast, spread like butter, and eaten with the chicken.

I don’t know much about tarragon, but several of his recipes call for it with chicken and I am becoming a convert. It has almost a licorice flavor…only more herbal. I would love ideas for other uses for it.

I also have never been a fan of steamed chicken, it’s why I chose to remove the skin, as steamed skin is just gross. The household picky eater, a borrowed person of early teen age, ate this stuff UP, and it was delicious as leftovers the next day, which she also ate for lunch and supper.

I served it with boiled redskin potatoes instead of bread, and the garlic was really tasty smooshed into the taters. There were several instances of hand-smacking as people tended to reach into the pot and pick out the garlic. It was sweet and delicious and not at all overpowering. This was extrememly easy to make!


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