Chicken with Forty cloves of garlic
Luke and I love roast chicken. We love garlic. We had never tried chicken with forty cloves of garlic, and boy have we been missing out. We had a Farmer Angus chicken (only the best will do) and about three heads of garlic to make up the forty cloves needed. A large heavy casserole and good quality olive oil completed the picture.
I consulted the recipe in Nigel Slater’s Real Food. His suggestion is that this dish be made with fresh summer bulbs, otherwise known as spring or wet garlic. You can identify them by their skin which can be anything from a faint pink to a deep mauve. Those of you who have an established vegetable garden may be in luck. I had to settle for roasting garlic, which after an hour in the oven become caramelised, sweet and soft enough to squash to a puree.
Now if I had stuck with Nigel Slater’s recipe then I would have served the garlic cloves, once roasted, on the side. Instead I mashed them up, in the casserole, with all the herbs and chicken juices. I then added a little chicken stock to create an incredibly tasty gravy.
This dish is roast chicken heaven.
a large lemon, halved
a 2kg chicken
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
40 cloves of garlic
1 spring of fresh rosemary
1 sprig of fresh thyme
a bay leaf or two
a little chicken stock
Preheat the oven to 240 C°. Put the lemon halves inside the chicken. Using your hands, rub the bird with the oil and then season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Put into your casserole, uncovered, in the oven for about twenty minutes until golden brown.
Prepare the garlic by separating the heads into cloves. Take off the skin if you like, but it’s not necessary. Take the chicken out of the oven and scatter the garlic cloves and herbs around the chicken. This time put the lid on the casserole and return to the oven for about 45 minutes to an hour.
When the chicken is cooked, remove it from the casserole and put it on a serving plate to rest. Drain any juices that have come from the chicken back into the casserole. Remove the lemon halves from the chicken and carefully press with a fork to get all their juice into the casserole. Take a potato masher or fork, and squash all the garlic cloves with all the juices and herbs in the casserole. Add a little bit of chicken stock or water to create a gravy.