Chicken with Forty Cloves of Garlic

by Emily Kemme
Chicken with Forty Cloves of Garlic

Garlic, cousin to the onion and other aromatics using in cooking, is valued for its versatility and even has medicinal uses. I like garlic because of what it can do for a sauce. The individual cloves remind me of some people I know — difficult to separate from their pod, with an initially pungent and strong personality, after you get to know them and let them simmer for a while, their flavor mellows and sweetens. Like those people who take time to mellow, garlic is a cooking essential. Here, individual cloves soften and almost melt to create a delectable, buttery sauce for pan-sautéed chicken, giving you a chance to really understand the power of those little cloves.

Chicken with Forty Cloves of Garlic

Garlic is prized for its medicinal qualities, it champions garlic bread, and can scare vampires away. It’s the staple of cuisine worldwide. Have you ever tried braising it? The result is buttery, smooth, and unimaginably wonderful.

Chicken with Forty Cloves of Garlic Recipe

4 – 5 lbs bone-in chicken pieces, mixture of legs and thighs

40 cloves of garlic, from about 3 heads, papery outer skins removed

Note: you probably thought I was kidding, or would let you slide here, but no. You’ll need all 40 cloves to create this sauce. To remove the skins, place garlic in a heavy pot with lid and shake vigorously. Alternatively, place in a stainless steel bowl, cover with its twin, and shake. There are many gadgets available for purchase which claim to do the job, but you can probably find something in the kitchen just as easily. The result? An unbruised clove, which will thank you when you’re preparing this beautiful sauce.

8 – 10 sprigs fresh thyme

2 cups dry white wine

4 T unsalted butter, divided

2 T extra virgin olive oil

3 T sherry (not cooking sherry, which contains salt), divided

1/4 cup coconut milk

Note: So Delicious Coconut Milk is a great product that is readily available in the baking isle of most grocery stores. It comes in many varieties and flavors, but for cooking purposes, I use the unsweetened/30 calories version.

Chicken with Forty Cloves of Garlic

Simmering chicken and forty cloves of garlic gives a buttery, luscious new personality to garlic’s bite. Garlic becomes a gorgeous rock star in this recipe.

In large, deep pot or Dutch oven, heat 2 T butter and olive oil over medium high heat. Brown chicken pieces in batches until deeply colored on all sides and skin releases easily from pan bottom. Remove chicken pieces to clean bowl.

Add garlic to pot and sauté on medium low until browned.

Add 2 T sherry and wine to pot and increase heat to boil, scraping up browned bits from bottom and sides.

Reduce heat to lowest setting and return chicken to the pot, including any juices that have accumulated in the bowl. Tuck thyme sprigs between chicken pieces. Cover and simmer for 30 to 40 minutes, or until chicken juices run clear.

Remove chicken to clean bowl and discard thyme. Cover with foil to keep warm.

Increase heat to medium high and reduce sauce until it coats the back of a spoon. Lower heat and swirl in remaining 2 T butter and 1 T sherry. Salt and pepper to taste.

Serve chicken with garlic in warmed shallow bowls with Roasted Cauliflower and Fennel Purée, or Creamy Mashed Potatoes.

Serves 4 – 6.

Chicken with Forty Cloves of Garlic

Nestle this luscious dish up to a nutty roasted cauliflower and fennel puree. It’s comfort food defined.

Menetou-SalonStephanie Davis, wine educator and co-host of the Wine Two Five podcast, thinks this recipe is for the fearless and passionate garlic lover. Even so, garlic enthusiasts needn’t choose between red or white to find a nice pairing. A medium-bodied Chardonnay, in a slightly oaked Burgundian style, would be beautiful. Alternatively, a light Pinot Noir from Menetou-Salon, a subregion of the Loire Valley in France, would be stylish and not too overpowering. In the end, you want to experience the buttery garlic flavor, otherwise, why bother with the effort of 40 cloves? Priced at $22/bottle.

Like this blog post? Subscribe to my newsletter so you won’t miss out on future blog posts!

Award-winning author Emily Kemme writes about human nature, illuminating the everyday in a way that highlights its brilliance. Follow her on her blog, Feeding the Famished,, or on Twitter @EmFeedsYou . Life inspired. Vodka tempered.





Related Articles

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.