40 Cloves Garlic Chicken is a classic Provençal dish of chicken pieces pan roasted in olive oil and aromatics together with copious amount of garlic cloves.
Say what! Yes, its forty, nothing more and nothing less but why? It may sound absurd but trust me, it’s not, in fact it is one of the best ways to prepare a chicken, simple and flavourful. I wanted to try making this at home for quite some time now but perhaps, like you ,who haven’t tried them, I was bit sceptical. Would the garlic overpower the dish? Would my breath smell awful for the whole week? Why not just 10 cloves just to be safe? Many questions on my mind but regardless of my scepticism I made it and I’m glad I did, the garlic lover inside of me told me just do it.
So where did it begin This classic French dish traditionally is prepared with a whole roast chicken where it is baked in a sealed casserole with the garlic cloves and a bouquet garni. However, people find it easy to cook in smaller portions for better individual serving, better handling while cooking and you got to choose your favourite chicken cut, hence it evolved to be like our recipe for today. I know the large quantities of garlic might sound excessive, but this dish highlights the soft side of garlic, like Gru from Despicable me when Agnes want’s a cuddle. For some reason the slow cooking process tames the strong garlic flavour and aroma, it then creates a buttery mild puree infused with garlic that is so nice to spread on crusty toast or mash on rice.
Season chicken with salt and pepper. Set it aside.
In a heavy pan heat olive oil over medium high heat. Add the chicken then sear all sides for 2-3 minutes each side or until golden brown in colour.
Lower the heat then add the garlic, cook until edges turn light brown. Increase the heat back to high then add the white wine, let is boil while deglazing the pan. Pour the chicken stock and add the chicken back in together with the thyme and nutmeg. Bring to a boil, cover the pan then simmer in low heat for 25 minutes. Remove the chicken once again from the pan, set it aside.
In a small bowl, whisk together flour and milk, pour this mixture into the pan, add the butter. Whisk the sauce while cooking and once thick add the chicken back in, coat the chicken with the sauce.
Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper then serve.