Garlic is one ingredient that I use in almost every dish, so when I saw this recipe floating around my Google reader from so many different blogs, all giving the dish such rave reviews, I knew I had to try it! For those that aren’t as sure about using garlic, don’t be afraid! When garlic is roasted, the flavors tend to become much more mild and subtle. The recipe calls for the use of a whole chicken, but I happened to have only chicken thighs on hand, so I used what I had. Overall, the chicken was really moist and tender and the sauce added an extra punch of flavor. I happen to have the flexibility of living close to work, so I actually roasted the garlic and shallots on my lunch break in order to get a head start. I’m sure you could do the same the morning of or maybe even the night before if you are in a time crunch.
Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic
1 whole chicken (3½ to 4 pounds), cut into 8 pieces and trimmed of excess fat (I used 6 bone-in chicken thighs)
Ground black pepper
3 large heads garlic (about 8 ounces), outer papery skins removed, cloves separated and left unpeeled
2 medium shallots, peeled and quartered pole to pole
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1 sprig fresh rosemary
1 bay leaf
¾ cup dry vermouth or dry white wine
¾ cup low-sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees. Dissolve ¼-cup salt in 2 quarts cold tap water in large container or bowl; submerge chicken pieces in brine and refrigerate until fully seasoned, about 30 minutes. Rinse chicken pieces under running water and thoroughly pat dry with paper towels. Season both sides of chicken pieces with pepper.
Meanwhile, toss garlic and shallots with 2 teaspoons olive oil and salt and pepper to taste in 9-inch pie plate; cover tightly with foil and roast until softened and beginning to brown, about 30 minutes, shaking pan once to toss contents after 15 minutes (leave foil on during tossing). Uncover, stir, and continue to roast, uncovered, until browned and fully tender, 10 minutes longer, stirring once or twice. Remove from oven and increase oven temperature to 450 degrees.
Using kitchen twine, tie together thyme, rosemary, and bay; set aside. Heat remaining 1-teaspoon oil in 12-inch heavy-bottomed ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat until beginning to smoke (I used a cast iron Dutch oven); swirl to coat pan with oil. Brown chicken pieces skin-side down until deep golden, about 5 minutes; using tongs, turn chicken pieces and brown until golden on second side, about 4 minutes longer. Transfer chicken to large plate and discard fat; off heat, add wine, chicken broth, and herbs, scraping bottom of skillet with wooden spoon to loosen browned bits. Set skillet over medium heat, add garlic/shallot mixture to pan, then return chicken, skin-side up, to pan, nestling pieces on top of and between garlic cloves.
Place skillet in oven and roast until instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of breast registers about 160 degrees, 10 to 12 minutes. If desired, increase heat to broil and broil until skin is crisp, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from oven and transfer chicken to serving dish. Remove 10 to 12 garlic cloves to mesh sieve and reserve; using slotted spoon, scatter remaining garlic cloves and shallots around chicken and discard herbs. With rubber spatula push reserved garlic cloves through sieve and into bowl; discard skins. Add garlic paste to skillet. Bring liquid to simmer over medium-high heat, whisking occasionally to incorporate garlic; adjust seasoning with salt and pepper to taste. Whisk in butter; pour sauce into dish and serve.
Source adapted from: The Way the Cookie Crumbles, originally from Cooks Illustrated