If you’ve ever watched an episode of Emeril Live you’ll know that every time the enthusiastic chef adds “gahhhlic” to a dish, the studio audience erupts in applause. Well, I must say, if that studio audience had been in my kitchen while I cooked this evening, there would have been a thunderous standing ovation with a continuous duration of no less than 7 minutes. That is because tonight I made 40 cloves chicken. That’s 40 cloves of garlic, mind you, and it took me about 7 minutes to peel them all.
And it seems like a lot of garlic. But it’s not raw; the flavor is closer to roasted garlic, which, if you’ve never had, you need to make some. Like right now.
I loosely followed a combination of Emeril’s, Alton Brown’s, and Ina Garten’s recipes which I searched for on Food Network and served the aromatic fowl with Parmesan mashed potatoes and sauteed spinach. Here’s how to make the chicken. (Did I mention it’s delicious?)
40 Cloves Chicken
1. Heat a bit of oil in a sturdy pot on the stove. Prep your chicken (if using a whole bird, as I did) and season liberally with salt and pepper. (Use whatever parts of the chicken you like best or have available. I generally buy my chickens whole and so have to section them myself). Cook the chicken in the hot oil in batches, about 3-5 minutes on each side, or until a nice brown sear has been achieved.
2. While the chicken is cooking, smash and peel 40 cloves of garlic. This is about 3 heads of garlic. (Admittedly, I used closer to 45 or 50 cloves, but some of them were on the smidgey side).
3. Keep the seared chicken on a plate to one side and turn the heat down to medium. Add the garlic cloves to the pot and sautee gently until they begin to turn golden brown and you can smell them. Next, I added a splash of red wine because that is what I had on hand to help deglaze the pan and add an extra layer of flavor to the dish. You could use cognac or white wine or you could skip that part entirely. Then I added about 2 1/4 cups reduced sodium chicken broth and brought the whole thing to a boil, scraping off the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. (You could also use white wine here or a combination of white wine, chicken broth or stock, or water or whatever poaching liquid you have around). And you may want to put the lid on here to prevent too much of your liquid from evaporating.
4. Once the liquid has come to a boil, add the chicken back to the pot along with 10 good sprigs of thyme and a bay leaf. Reduce the heat, put the lid on the pot, and simmer for at least 30 minutes.
5. After about 30 minutes, remove the chicken from the broth and keep warm on an oven-safe dish and covered in aluminum foil at about 200F.
6. Now it’s time to make the sauce. Ladle out about 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid and whisk in a spoonful of flour. Once it’s combined, pour that mixture back into the rest of the cooking liquid. Raise the heat again to bring it up to a boil. Add another splash of red wine (or cognac or white wine or not) and about 2 tablespoons of heavy cream. Whisk together and boil for at least 3 minutes. The sauce will get a little thicker and more opaque and creamy looking.
By this point, you’ll probably realize that you’ve essentially made a simplistic garlic soup. Many of the garlic cloves will have begun to dissolve or break off into smaller chunks and slivers. But the smell is fantastic.
7. Check the seasoning of the sauce – you may need to add some salt and pepper. When you’re ready, plate the chicken and pour the sauce (and garlic) over top.
Or you can just try to make the mood creepier, what with thinking about vampires and all:
Why, yes, that is a triad of (decorative) bones arranged to make a candelabra. I found it at TJMaxx. Since the garlic sauce should be taking care of any undead vampires I might run into in the next 48 hours or so, I figured I could afford to get a little spookier with the decor. I imagine it’s very likely the scent of garlic will eek from my pores, unbidden, tomorrow. But hopefully it’s not too bad. No wonder folklore says that garlic will help keep you from getting sick: no one with germs will want to get near you! Right? That, or, possibly even viruses don’t like the smell of garlic?
Well, anyway. This may just be the most unique (and delicious) thing I’ve ever done with garlic. I was seriously licking the sauce from my plate after I had polished off the chicken and sloshed my mashed potatoes through it. But it may be well worth your while to try out this recipe, especially as cold season encroaches upon us and you desire some immune defenses (that is, if you don’t wish to start your own line of garlic flower necklaces). I’ll definitely be keeping this one in my repertoire. So in the words of Emeril, BAM!
[insert applause here].