Chicken with 28 Cloves of Garlic
I am one of the few people out there that doesn’t drool over the smell of garlic cooking. The recipe suggests bringing the casserole to the table so that everyone can enjoy the lovely aromas, I, on the other hand, opened all of the windows in my house to get the smell out while it was cooking. This is not to say that it didn’t taste good, it was, indeed, delicious, those heavy aromas flavored the chicken beautifully. Garlic tastes good, or at least it makes things taste good, I don’t necessarily like the way that it tastes directly on my tongue, or the taste in my mouth for the hours after I have eaten it.
Italian food, for some reason has this reputation for being heavy with garlic, this is a myth, possibly stemming from the immigrants who went to America. They probably used garlic to keep themselves healthy in the squalid conditions that many of them lived in when they made it there. This is my own theory, but it makes sense, Italians guard themselves to a fault from illness, they cover themselves until mid-summer to protect themselves from drafts, so using a natural antibiotic to keep themselves healthy in bad and unfamiliar conditions makes a lot of sense.
I was short 12 garlic cloves, so I didn’t make the classic 40 clove chicken, but I think the effect was the same, they were monstrous cloves.
Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic
from 1,000 Jewish Recipes by Fay Levy
- One 3-pound chicken, cut into 8 pieces
- salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 2 to 4 tbsp olive oil
- 2 ribs celery, cut into thin slices
- 1 large sprig fresh thyme or 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 tbsp chopped fresh Italian parsley
- 40 medium cloves garlic, unpeeled
- 1/4 cup brandy
Preheat oven to 350°F. Sprinkle the chicken pieces lightly with salt and pepper. In a deep, heavy, enamel-coated cast iron casserole with a tight fitting lid, or in a Dutch oven, mix oil with celery, thyme, bay leaf, and 1 tbsp parsley. Add chicken pieces and stir well to coat them with the mixture.
Separate the garlic cloves from the heads and remove any loose skin. Add the garlic and brandy to the casserole. Cover tightly. Bake chicken for 1 hour 15 minutes. To check whether chicken is done, insert a skewer into the thickest part of the thigh; juices that from chicken should be clear. If juices are pink, continue baking chicken a few more minutes and check again. Keep it warm, covered, until ready to serve.
If you like, bring the casserole to the table so everyone enjoys the aroma (her suggestion, I oddly don’t love the smell of garlic, nor does my husband). Discard the bay leaf and thyme sprig. Sprinkle chicken with remaining parsley. Serve chicken pieces with garlic cloves and a spoonful of the juices.
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