It may seem a little crazy to add this much garlic to a dish, but actually it works very well. Because it is stewed for quite some time the taste of the garlic becomes deliciously sweet and mild, it also helps to tenderize the chicken, so you end up with the most tasty succulent chicken, and it also makes the sauce even more tasty than it already was. But beware, if you don’t like garlic, don’t make this, as it is still a very garliccy dish.
The original recipe suggest to serve this with both mashed potatoes and bread, but I think that is complete overkill. It already is quite a rich dish, so two carbs is definitely too much. Keep the mash for a dish with lighter sides, and only serve with bread. Or do as I do and serve with some rice, which also works perfectly to soak up the sauce and garlic. The original recipe also suggests to add some small shallots, but I think those make the sauce too sweet. I prefer to serve a fresh salad on the side.
Chicken with 40 cloves of garlic (serves 4)
Adapted from the Hairy Bikers
1.35 kg oven-ready fresh chicken
2 bay leafs
few sprigs of thyme
25 g butter
1 tbsp sunflower oil
40 garlic cloves (from 2-3 bulbs), unpeeled
150 ml white wine
250 ml chicken stock (made with 1 stock cube)
100 ml (double) cream or crème fraîche
flaked sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 200C.
Remove any string from the chicken and place the lemon, a sprig of thyme and 1 bay leaf inside the cavity. Generously season the chicken inside and out with plenty of flaked sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Melt the butter with the oil in a large flameproof casserole. Brown the chicken over a medium-high heat for a couple of minutes on each side.
Add the whole garlic cloves and shallots to the casserole, nestling around the chicken. Pour over the white wine and chicken stock. Add the other bay leaf and sprigs of thyme. Cover the casserole with a tight-fitting lid and bring the liquid to a simmer on the hob, then transfer to the oven for 1 1/4 hours, or until the chicken is thoroughly cooked and the garlic is completely softened. Transfer the chicken to a platter and cover with a piece of foil. Transfer the garlic to another plate and squeeze the garlic out of its skin into a bowl. Return the casserole to the hob, when the sauce is very thin cook it on high heat for a few minutes to reduce the liquid, then stir in the cream (or crème fraîche). Bring to a gentle simmer, stirring. Cook for three minutes. Season to taste and pour into a jug.
Carve the chicken into chunky pieces and serve with the sauce and garlic. Eat with rice or bread and a fresh salad.