Chicken with 40 cloves of garlic

This recipe is one I’ve cooked before, but I wanted to cook it again, partly because it’s good and partly because I wanted to blog about it. I can’t remember the first time I heard about it, but I was definitely in my teens. I also have a copy of French chef Camille le Foll’s book Les Classiques de Camille (available in English as well) with a recipe for it. So I was totally aghast when I was watching an old episode of Nigel Slater’s Real Food (complete with a very young looking Nigella Lawson) with him and a bunch of snobby foodies (one of them was Alastair Little) talking about the dish as though it was a totally bizarre urban legend. You can actually watch the episode here, and they start talking about ‘the myth’ around 11 minutes on. Alastair Little said he never heard of it, so proceeded to make up a version. I’d love to be so smug as to think that just because I’d never heard of a recipe, it must be made up. Maybe one day.

Needless to say, I think Alastair Little is a ponce. Very good at cooking, but every time I see him on TV, I wish I hadn’t.

Anyway, I had heard of chicken with 40 cloves of garlic, and I’ve cooked it, and it is nice. So I thought I’d cook it again. Here’s the costing.

Wallace Red Freedom Endorsed chicken : £4.73
Fresh parsley : £1.19
Bunch sage : from garden
Thyme : £1.19
Rosemary : from garden
Bay leaf : from garden
150ml olive oil : store cupboard
3 bulbs garlic : 89p

Grand total : £8.00 exactly. Spooky. And, shameful, because I grow all these herbs in my garden, but they are sort of dwarf, mini versions I dare not pick any leaves from, in case they die…

Week Five : Chicken

So here’s the chicken – no specific type needed, so I thought I’d get this Freedom Endorsed chicken from Sainsbury’s which was on special offer. Sorted.

Next step was to separate out the cloves of garlic – no peeling needed, thank goodness. If you ever wondered what 40 cloves of garlic looked like, this is for you.

Week Five : 40 cloves of garlic

Surprisingly few, right?

Week Five : Macro garlic

But still, so good looking. Ah, garlic…

Week Five : Seasonings

Anything that starts with garlic, herbs and olive oil has to turn out good, right?

Chop a sprig of parsley, sage, thyme and rosemary and sprinkle it over the chicken together with salt and pepper, and cover with the olive oil. A lot of olive oil. Then, pop the bay leaf inside the chicken, and scatter the garlic around the edges.

Week Five : Chicken ready to go

Then you roast it for an hour and half, either covered with foil or a lid.

Week Five : Chicken with 40 cloves of garlic

Once you take it out, the garlic should be delicious and soft, and you can squeeze it out of its skin… and eat it! Yum. Or spread it on the delicious chicken meat.

Week Five : Garlic on bread

Serve it with crusty bread and a green salad. I also made roasted cherry tomatoes from the garden, sprinkled with a little sugar, dried thyme, salt and olive oil.

Herby tomatoes

So, what’s the verdict? Was it too garlicy…?

No such thing.

The scores.

M gave it 8. He likes garlic.

I gave it 8.5. I like garlic too. And, it’s a quick and easy recipe, unusual and very delicious! If you like garlic… you will love this.