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Chicken with 40 cloves of garlic

Yes – you read that right. 40 cloves of garlic. Apparently it was popular in the old days when cooking an old chicken. The great American cook Julia Childs liked to cook three heads of garlic whole leaving a buttery and sweet taste and “still kissable”.

When cooked, squeeze the soft flesh of the garlic and spread it on bread, big hunks of baguette, to enjoy with the chicken and the juices…

There are loads of different versions for this recipe, add cream, or cognac, some use pieces of chicken. This recipe is an easy to make version using a whole chicken. And it’s utterly scrumptious.

Serves 4

40 cloves of garlic
1 chicken
2 tablespoons olive oil
250 ml dry white wine (1 cup)
One onion
One carrot
2 stalks celery (leaves can be left on)
2 sprigs or teaspoon rosemary
4 sprigs or teaspoon thyme
Tablespoon chopped parsley (optional)


Preheat oven to 400°F/200°C (Gas Mark 6).

Peel the garlic.

Pop half of the chopped celery, rosemary, thyme, parsley and 6 cloves of garlic inside the chicken.

Slaver the chicken with oil and season well. Scatter the rest of the garlic in the base of a cooking dish with the rest of the celery, rosemary and thyme, plus roughly chopped carrot and onion.

Place the chicken in the dish, add the wine to the dish. Cover and bake for about 1hr 20 minutes. The juices should run clear when you pierce the leg with a skewer.

Lift the chicken out and leave to one side. Strain the juices into a pan and boil for a couple of minutes to thicken it.

Serve the chicken with some of the garlic pieces and the juices. Spread the garlic over bread, or toasted bread. You can also add the garlic to soups and stir fries for a burst of flavour. You can keep it in a small, sealed container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

More French finger-lickingly good chicken recipes

Classic coq au vin

Poulet Gaston Gerard – a Burgundian classic

Poulet roti – it’s a must! 

Spring chicken with walnut and prune stuffing

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