Sunday, April 28, 2013

Ina Garten's Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic and Penzey's Saffron Rice

Ina Garten, or the Barefoot Contessa has such easy recipes in her book, "Barefoot in Paris: Easy French Food You Can Make at Home,"I can actually say that I can cook French food well in my first attempts.  My latest endeavor was a tasty adventure into a garlic lover's dream, Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic.

40 cloves may seem like a lot, but since they are slow-roasted, it's the perfect number to achieve that mellow but sweet taste that sinks right into the chicken and makes the sauce memorable for guests at your dinner party.
Best of all, you can make this a day ahead and reheat.

Ina Garten suggests a Moroccan couscous recipe, but both of us prefer rice, so I made a saffron rice recipe from Penzey's Spices.  We thought it was the perfect accompaniment.

Though the garlic is mellow, it's still a LOT of garlic.  I suggest a mint-inspired dessert if you are serving guests.  You can't go wrong with mint chocolate chip ice cream, plain or sundaes.

3 whole heads garlic, about 40 cloves
2 (3 1/2-pound) chickens, cut into eighths
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 tablespoons good olive oil
3 tablespoons Cognac, divided
1 1/2 cups dry white wine
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons heavy cream

Separate the cloves of garlic and drop them into a pot of boiling water for 60 seconds. Drain the garlic and peel. Set aside.

Dry the chicken with paper towels. Season liberally with salt and pepper on both sides. Heat the butter and oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. In batches, saute the chicken in the fat, skin side down first, until nicely browned, about 3 to 5 minutes on each side. Turn with tongs or a spatula; you don't want to pierce the skin with a fork. If the fat is burning, turn the heat down to medium. When a batch is done, transfer it to a plate and continue to saute all the chicken in batches. Remove the last chicken to the plate and add all of the garlic to the pot. Lower the heat and saute for 5 to 10 minutes, turning often, until evenly browned. Add 2 tablespoons of the Cognac and the wine, return to a boil, and scrape the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Return the chicken to the pot with the juices and sprinkle with the thyme leaves. Cover and simmer over the lowest heat for about 30 minutes, until all the chicken is done.

Remove the chicken to a platter and cover with aluminum foil to keep warm. In a small bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup of the sauce and the flour and then whisk it back into the sauce in the pot. Raise the heat, add the remaining tablespoon of Cognac and the cream, and boil for 3 minutes. Add salt and pepper, to taste; it should be very flavorful because chicken tends to be bland. Pour the sauce and the garlic over the chicken and serve hot

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  1. Looks fabulous, Charlene. You can't go wrong with 40 cloves of slow-roasted garlic! If you can find it where you live, try using black garlic in some of your favorite's amazing!

    1. Oh my! Black garlic?? That has to be fabulous! Our favorite local garlic growers will be at our farmers market soon. They have so many varieties, I bet they have black. Thanks for the suggestion!

  2. That dish really does look nice but I'm a bit scared in regards to 40 cloves of garlic though. My head tells me that I'll stink out the whole of London for days :)

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  5. Charlene, this looks so delicious!! I am a garlic lover. Like that this dish can be made ahead of time and reheated. Mint chocolate chip ice cream would be the perfect dessert too!

    1. Thank you very much! Any garlic fan will enjoy this, and it was easier than I thought it would be.