40 Cloves of Garlic Chicken (Or in my case, 35)

My mom used to make 40 clove chicken, but I had forgotten all about it until I caught a rerun of Alton Brown the other day. I think it was halloween themed because this dish is sometimes jokingly called Vampire Chicken, thought it is actually a french classic. My mom probably used The Frugal Gourmet recipe, back from when PBS on Saturday mornings was the extent of “food tv.” My mom made this with a whole chicken, I’m sure of it. Most of there recipes I found called for cut up chicken except for Alton’s so I sort of used that, with a splash of smitten kitchen thrown in.

This seems like a long, time-consuming recipe, but it really isn’t. It took about 20 minutes to prep the garlic and brown the chicken and then it was in the oven for about an hour and a half. This recipe doesn’t taste like over-garlicky either. It is just amazingly moist roasted chicken.

40 Cloves of Garlic Chicken
makes: 1 chicken

40 cloves of garlic, peeled (I used three heads which resulted in 35 cloves, but a few were big ones.)
1 medium onion, roughly chopped (I used some leftover pearl onions plus some white onion)
handful of fresh thyme
whole chicken
1/2 c white wine
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt and pepper

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Rinse and dry chicken (check to make sure there isn’t anything lurking in the cavity), sprinkle with salt and pepper
  3. Heat large skillet or heavy bottomed pot on medium (or medium high) heat and melt olive oil and butter.
  4. Brown chicken 5 minutes per side in butter and oil.
  5. Remove chicken from pan (I put it on a platter for a minute, but a cookie sheet would work too)
  6. Add wine to pan, deglazing if needed. Turn off heat.
  7. Add onion, thyme and garlic to pan and place chicken on top.
  8. Cover and cook in the over for one hour.
  9. Uncover and cook for an additional 30-45 minutes until internal temperature is 165 degrees and juices run clear.
  10. Remove from pan. Yum!
  11. You can either carve and serve the sliced chicken or do a platter presentation. I also cooked some brussel sprouts in garlic and lemon and put those on the platter with some lemon wedges.

Pan before the chicken

Ready for the oven.

Bonus recipe!
Lemon Garlic Brussel Sprouts: rinse and halve brussel sprouts, trimming ends if needed. Heat some olive oil in a skillet, add sprouts and two minced cloves of garlic. Cover and cook for 10 minutes, until sprouts are soft and bright green. Squeeze half a lemon over sprouts and sprinkle with salt.


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9 Responses to “40 Cloves of Garlic Chicken (Or in my case, 35)”

  1. TMae says:

    I’ve never cooked a whole chicken before. I’ve left that in the column of “something good cooks do,” but this seems easy and SO YUMMY I might move myself into the “I play a good cook on TV” role, and give it a shot. I mean, I love chicken, and I love garlic, so I don’t see much to lose.


    Suzanne Reply:

    I made a whole chicken for the first time this summer. The first one was HORRIBLE AND DISASTROUS, but that was because I tried to make it on the grill. The second time I just threw the thing in the over and it was frickin’ delicious. FRICKIN’.


  2. Alana says:

    I am making this this week, too!
    But I am using chicken breasts instead of a whole chicken.
    Did your house smell of garlic all day?


    Amy Reply:

    It smelled like garlic while it was cooking and then just faintly after dinner until bedtime.


  3. Brigid Keely says:

    I make this a lot. A few notes.

    1) there is no reason to rinse a chicken, unless you drop it on the floor or something. People used to think you could/should wash away salmonella. When you rinse a chicken, all you’re doing is splashing raw chicken juices and water around your sink. Cooking the chicken kills the salmonella.

    2) I buy peeled garlic at the store, because the money that costs is totally worth not spending time peeling that shit I mean SERIOUSLY.

    3) I use boneless chicken breasts because I have a THING about dealing with bones (unless I am going to make soup or something) and I dislike dark meat.

    4) I save the garlic, mash it up, make garlic bread and use the leftover roasted garlic in mashed potatoes.


    Amy Reply:

    I’m going to throw the garlic in the soup pot with the bones to make stock. Funny, I never thought about rinsing in regards to salmonella. I’m just rinsing and plastic residue and/or what ever was floating in the factory air between the plucking and the plasticing. Chicken grosses me out. I assume there is poop on the birds and rinse them. It really doesn’t take that long to peel them. If you slice the top of the head, they come apart and peel pretty easily. It was 75 cents for 3 heads of garlic. A jar is about $5. Totally worth it for 15 minutes of time. To me. I also don’t mind peeling garlic.


  4. This looks delish. And so simple. I would love for it to go into my regular recipe rotation, but whole chickens are nearly impossible to find in Japan. I wonder if I could do it with bone-in chicken legs? Probably?


    Amy Reply:

    I think you could easily do it with bone in pieces or quarters. In fact, a ton of recipes call for that. It would be great! Cook on the stove or the oven. You’d just need to adjust the cooking time.


  5. Keyla says:

    Kathy Griffin and Joan Rivers are subversives?There is a nonfiction book, “Rapture Plot” with accurate doctnentauiom?Nedra shoud have perhaps heeded her own advice, again from Ecclesiastes 5:2-3: “let thy words be few…a fool’s voice is known by multitude of words.”


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