Friday, January 21, 2011
Chicken with Forty Cloves of Garlic
We are fortunate to be members of a wine-oriented dinner club with four other couples. We’ve been going for five years now and every dinner seems to out-shine the last. The host couple picks the theme and the others fill in the other courses, each matched to a wine.
Last week we were at the home of Larry and Mimmye Goode, and the theme was wines from the Rhone Valley in France. They told the story of having gone to a small restaurant in Lyon in search of a dish recommended to them, Chicken with Forty Cloves of Garlic. They were happily surprised later to find mention of the restaurant, Chez Tante Paulette, in a book by Patricia Wells, Food Lovers Guide to France, with the recipe.
This is a classic French dish. I’ve always had it with the garlic stuffed inside a whole chicken that was then roasted, but this was a cut-up chicken, done on top of the stove. It was delicious that way, and quite impressive as Larry brought out the skillet with the flaming cognac.
The garlic turns out meltingly soft and is perfect squeezed out and spread onto the baguette toasts. They served roasted potatoes, but this is such a hearty dish that just a simple green salad would be enough to make a great dinner.
CHICKEN WITH FORTY CLOVES OF GARLIC
3 tbps. olive oil
1 tbsp. unsalted butter
1 chicken (3 to 4 lbs.) cut into serving size pieces
Salt and pepper
About 40 cloves garlic, separated from the head but unpeeled
1 cup dry white wine
8 baguette slices
1 clove garlic, peeled
2 tbsp. cognac or brandy
Chopped parsley for garnish
Heat the oil and butter over high heat, in a skillet large enough to hold the chicken in one layer. Season the chicken liberally with salt and pepper. Brown the chicken well on both sides. Reduce the heat a little. Add the unpeeled garlic, pushing them under the chicken so they will brown. Continue to sauté until the garlic skins are lightly browned, about 10 minutes longer. Add the wine and reduce by about half.
While the chicken is cooking, toast the bread on both sides in a hot oven. Cut the peeled garlic clove in half and rub over both sides of the toasts.
Heat the cognac in a small pan for about 20 seconds. Ignite with a match and pour over the chicken. Cook for an additional few minutes, shaking the pan gently a couple of times.
To serve, put the toasts around the edge of a warmed serving platter. Put the chicken on top and scrape the contents of the skillet over it. Sprinkle with parsley and serve immediately. Serves 4.
NOTE: If you don’t have a skillet big enough to hold all the chicken in one layer, divide all ingredients equally between two smaller skillets.