40 Cloves of Garlic Chicken Casserole

40 Cloves of Garlic Chicken Casserole
I saw this dish being made on a cooking show. There was no printed recipe at the end but luckily I had quickly jotted down the ingredients list as he made it. 

Unfortunately I have no photos of me making this dish but the photo on the left is when it was done. 

I'll make it again and I promise I'll take pictures this time as I go along! 

Meantime here's what you need:

  • 1 whole chicken (or you can cheat and use chicken pieces - legs, thighs, breasts)
  • 40 cloves of garlic. You heard me right. 40 cloves. Trust me. It does not taste like strong garlic when you're done. The garlic turns sweet and tender in the cooking. 
  • 1 tsp. of rosemary (if you have fresh, use 2 tsp chopped)
  • 1 tsp. of marjoram (if you have fresh, use 2 tsp chopped. You can substitute oregano here)
  • 1 tsp. of Fine Herbes (the cooking show didn't use this but I love Fine Herbes so I used it)
  • 1 tsp. of basil (if you have fresh, use 2 tsp. chopped)
  • 3 Tbsp. Virgin Olive Oil 
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup of water or chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup of white wine  
  • White Veloutine
  • 1/2 cup milk or cream
If you have a whole chicken you need to cut it into parts. I did this for the first time when I made this dish and it wasn't that difficult! First cut off the wings and toss them in a stock pot to make some yummy broth for another time. Then slice between the legs and breast and force apart with your hands to make the final cut easier. You're going to end up with the legs being cut into two sections each - the drumstick and the thigh. Then cut the breasts. Eventually you end up with 2 drumsticks, 2 thighs and 2 breasts. 

Toss all the leftover chicken into your stock pot with the wings, add water, salt and pepper, a carrot, celery and onion and bring to a boil. You aren't using this in this recipe but you can make a nice soup stock now and freeze it for later use. Simmer this stock for a couple of hours on the stove top then strain and freeze. 

But back to the 40 cloves of garlic chicken dish! 

Put the olive oil in a large skillet and bring to medium heat. Put your chicken pieces in the hot oil and add salt and pepper. I used Sea salt for this. You are going to brown the chicken a nice golden brown on each side. This takes about 10 min. per side. 

When brown add your 40 cloves of garlic. There is a nice trick for peeling that many cloves - cut the ends off each clove and toss in a cup of very warm water for about 10 minutes. Remove from the water and the skins slide off very easily. If the cloves are different sizes, cut the larger ones in half. Trust me you need 40 cloves, don't cheat and do less.

Add your spices - basil, marjoram, rosemary, fine herbes and  continue cooking for about 3 to 4 more minutes. Now add the wine and the water or chicken broth. I used chicken broth that I had frozen previously. 

Cook another 15 minutes then pour into a casserole dish and bake covered in 350' oven for 1 1/2 hours. Remove chicken and place on platter, then add garlic (use a slotted spoon to remove it). Add about 3/4 cup cream or milk to the juices and stir. I added white Veloutine to thicken this mixture. Then ladle about 1/2 a cup over the chicken on the platter. 

Bingo it is ready to eat! The garlic is so sweet and tender after cooking for so long. Next time I'm going to do a side dish of fried mushrooms and ladle some of the sauce over them too. 

For last night's supper I made cauliflower-potato mashed with cheese and another dish of sauteed then baked Sweet bell peppers, onion, zucchini and believe it or not, watermelon. It was all topped with cheese Panko and was pretty tasty! I will have to write that recipe out and take photos another time. 

And I probably should explain my accidental use of frozen watermelon which turned out really yummy! I thought it was frozen red pepper until I started sauteing it. Yeah, pretty funny. But it added an interesting flavor to the vegetables.


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