Comfort food is honestly a cuisine in itself. Personally, I don’t cook only one type of food or cuisine, mainly because I love experimenting around. My focus is always on re-creating those recipes that can easily be cooked by anyone and also those that speak volumes of flavor. I have stumbled upon many versions of the 40 Cloves Garlic Chicken and today I will present my version of this sumptuous dish.
Chicken with 40 cloves of garlic may sound crazy, but it is nothing but a genius recipe. If you have never tried roasted garlic before, please let this be the first. This dish brings out the best of roasted garlic, mushrooms, caramelized onions and of course, the chicken.
One thing that I had trouble with when recreating this recipe was finding the right substitution for wine. Mostly all recipes for this particular dish calls for a splash of wine. While that may work for many, personally I am not a fan of cooking with wine, mainly because it wasn’t something I grew up with. However, I have tried to compare my version of this dish to the regular, and it is equally as good. So if you aren’t a fan of cooking with wine either, definitely try out some of my substitutions and let me know if they work for you!
Wine is used in cooking for multiple reasons, one of the reasons being to de-glaze the pan. Essentially what it does is incorporates in all the juices from the meat stuck to the pan and that usually is where most of the delicious caramelized flavors come from. Another big reason is to bring some acidity to the dish. One of the most commonly used ingredients for acidity is lemon juice, which really helps to cut through the sweetness of the caramelized garlic and onions, and really brings the dish to life. So, for every quarter of a cup of wine, I would use a mix of one tablespoon of lemon juice (or your choice of a citrus fruit), 1 tablespoons of white wine or apple cider vinegar and 2 tablespoons of water.
Play around with the flavors and also add in your favorite herbs to create your own version of this dish. This is one of those simple recipes which can easily be played up or down or a dinner party or just a Sunday Brunch, so Make It Your Way
8 chicken thighs/legs
2 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
2 tbsp unsalted butter
40 garlic cloves (I used 42!)
1/2 cup white wine (or 2 tbsp citrus juice and 2 tablespoons of vinegar)
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 cup of water
2 cups of sliced mushrooms
Half a medium sized white/yellow onion sliced
2 tbsp brown sugar
2 sprigs fresh tarragon chopped
1 sprig of rosemary
3 tbsp heavy cream
2 tsp freshly grated lemon zest
First heat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and set an iron skillet, with 2 tbsps of olive oil, over medium heat. While your skillet heats up, sprinkle 1 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper on each piece of chicken.
Once the skillet is warmed up, place the chicken on the pan to brown the skin, evenly on each side. Remember we are just trying to brown and crisp up the skin, so this shouldn’t take more than 5-10 minutes. Once completed, take the chicken off the pan and set it aside.
Now place the garlic and onto the skillet and fry for about 1 minute. Once the garlic is slightly browned, add in the onions and let them sweat for another 2-3 minutes.
Now add the tarragon, rosemary, mushrooms, brown sugar, 1 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper and fry for 5 minutes till well incorporated.
Once the onions and mushrooms have sweat and released their juices, add the wine (or lemon and vinegar mix), 1/4 cup of water and cook for another 2-3 minutes.
At this point, place the chicken back onto the skillet and carefully place the chicken into the oven for 30 minutes, till meat is fully cooked through.
Once completed, place the skillet back onto the stove pan over low heat. At this point, pick out the pieces of chicken only and set aside on a plate. Now add in 1/4 cup of water, 1 tbsp lemon juice and mix in all the juices together. Now add in the cream, zest of lemon and allow the sauce to come to a gentle boil. At this point, taste your sauce to make sure you like the balance of flavors and season with salt and pepper if necessary. Once ready, place the chicken back into the skillet, sprinkle some freshly chopped tarragon and serve with bread!