I've been talking about this dish for months - about how I wanted to make it, but 40 (FORTY!) cloves of garlic?? That sounded like overkill to me... However, I picked up 3lb of peeled garlic cloves from where else but my beloved Sam's Club, and thought to myself: what on earth are you going to do with all of that garlic?
So there it stood: me with company coming over and tons of garlic in my fridge that was begging to be used. Didn't help that we had just purchased 7lb of fresh chicken breasts (whole, unbeknownst to me) at $.99/lb... It was easy after that. The garlic ended up being so roasty soft and sweet; it was amazing.
I doctored the recipe because one of the dinner guests is pregnant, and apparently (according to AB) even if you cook with alcohol, not all of it cooks out! Who knew... Granted, the amount is negligible, but I wasn't sure how strict she was being, so here is the adapted recipe.
Chicken with Forty Cloves of Garlic
adapted from Ina's Barefoot in Paris
3 heads of garlic, about 40 cloves
1 c chopped cremini or button mushrooms
6 boneless chicken breasts, 4 drumsticks
cornstarch, for dredging breasts
kosher salt and black pepper
1 TB butter
2 TB olive oil
1 1/2 c chicken stock
1 tsp dry thyme plus 1 tsp fresh thyme, minced
1 TB fresh parsley, minced
3 TB all-purpose flour + 1/2 c extra stock or water
1/4 c heavy cream
If the garlic heads are whole, separate the cloves and drop them into boiling water for 1 minute. Drain, peel, and trim the root end. Set aside.
Dry the chicken with paper towels, and season with salt and pepper. Dredge the breasts in cornstarch to help form a crust so the chicken doesn't try out. Drumsticks shouldn't need this because they should have skin on. Heat the butter and oil in a large pot or dutch oven over medium heat. In batches, sear the chicken in the fat until nicely browned, about 3-5 mins per side. Turn with tongs or a spatula so you don't pierce the skin, and remove to a plate once a batch is done. When all the chicken has been moved to the plate, add all of the garlic to the pot.
Saute for 5-10 mins, turning often, until the garlic is evenly browned. Add the stock to the pot and bring back to a boil, scraping the brown bits from the bottom of the pot. Add the dried thyme to the pot, and then return the chicken to the pot. Cover and simmer over low for about 30 mins, until all the chicken is done. 20 mins into the simmer, add the mushrooms to the pot.
Remove chicken to a serving platter and cover with foil while you prepare the sauce. In a small bowl, whisk together the 1/2 c of stock or water with the flour, then whisk it into the sauce in the pot. Add the 1 TB fresh thyme to the sauce, along with the 1/4 c cream, and bring to a boil for 3 mins. Add salt and pepper to taste, and pour sauce over all the chicken. Finish with the fresh parsley.