Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic

April 12, 2022

When I asked Andrew if he had a hankering for anything when I was planning for my Sunday Supper his only request was something French. So I opened up a cookbook and landed on a random page, Poulet aux Quarante Gousses d’Ail, Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic. This trick doesn’t always work, I’ve opened to an aspic before(not a fan), but thankfully this turned out to be a wonderful Sunday Supper.

This dish originated back in the day when an old hen had outlived her laying capacity. The old girl would be cooked gently with herbs, wine, butter and three heads garlic, making for a delicious dish. Today the 40 cloves of garlic creates an amazing garlic essence in the chicken, you can taste the garlic but it doesn’t have an overwhelming garlic flavor. And the chicken comes out incredibly tender, almost like a confit.

The following recipe is a combination of recipes. I used pieces from The Essential Mediterranean Cookbook, NYT Cooking and Julia Child’s recipe.

Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic

  • Servings: 6-8
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  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 6-8 chicken thighs, bone in skin on
  • 4 celery ribs, cut in half
  • 2 carrots, cut into 4 inch slices. (cut once lengthwise and once across)
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 1 medium shallot, chopped
  • 6 parsley sprigs, plus more for garnish
  • 1 teaspoon dried tarragon, or 1 tablespoon chopped fresh ( I used fresh)
  • ½ cup dry vermouth
  • ¼ cup dry white wine
  • 2 ½ teaspoons salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  •  dash grated nutmeg
  • 40 cloves garlic, peeled or unpeeled ( I peeled mine because I wanted to smoosh them)
  • 2 tablespoons of flour
  • Crusty bread for serving


  1. Salt and pepper the chicken, keep at room temperature for 30 minutes before browning. (This is a good time to prep your veggies.) Preheat oven to 375F degrees.
  2. Heat a 6-quart Dutch oven/braiser on medium high, add 3 tablespoons of olive oil until shimmering.
  3. Place chicken skin-side down in the pot and sear the skin until browned, about 8 to 10 minutes. Work in batches if necessary. Remove the chicken pieces from the pot to a plate and discard all but 2 or 3 tablespoons of the fat from the pot.
  4. Saute the onions and shallots in your pot for a minute or two. Then place the celery and carrots, making a bed for your chicken. Lay the chicken pieces on top. Pour on the vermouth and white wine. Sprinkle with herbs, salt and pepper and a dash of nutmeg. Tuck the garlic cloves in and around the chicken pieces. Cover the casserole tightly with aluminum foil, then the lid. Bake 90 minutes without removing the lid.
  5. After the 90 minutes are up, remove chicken from the pot and cover with the “pot foil”.
  6. Place the pot on the stove top over medium heat. Ladle out about 1 cup of the cooking liquid (try to get only liquid) and whisk in 2 tablespoons of flour, a little at a time to avoid lumps. Once the mixture looks smooth, add back into the pot and stir until slightly thickened. This is when I smooshed my garlic cloves, but that is optional.
  7. Serve chicken topped with garlicky sauce and a sprinkle of parsley. I recommend removing the skins before saucing, they will not longer be crispy.

This dish goes quite well with roasted potatoes and a nice crusty French bread. We also ate leftovers on top of a baked potato with a side salad. SO good!

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