The Number 40

Forty is a big number…

Especially when you hear the number 40 in conjunction with cloves of garlic. Chicken with 40 cloves of garlic?

Garlic is good, we all know that. But 40 cloves? That is just about 3 whole heads! For a moment I worried I was being lead astray by this recipe. 40 cloves would certainly be far too much garlic. 40 cloves would be overwhelming. Garlic can be such a bully, and using that much of it would put all of the other flavors at such a disadvantage. Nobody likes a bully.

Then I read further: this garlic gets roasted. Roasted into gooey, sweet, unctuous heaven that intermingles charmingly with sweated onion, white wine and thyme. I may have been filled with trepidation, but I am so happy I made this recipe. It’s definitely on my make again list.

Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic

(recipe ever so slightly adapted from Nigella’s Kitchen)


2 Tbsp olive oil

8 chicken thighs (skin on, bone in)

salt and pepper

2 1/2 Tbsp thyme leaves

1/2 a small onion, finely diced

40 cloves of garlic, unpeeled

1 Cup white wine

  • Preheat the oven to 350° F.
  • On the stove, get a pan piping hot.
  • Season the chicken thighs on both sides with a smattering of salt and pepper.
  • Sear the chicken in the olive oil until brown and crisped, skin side down first. This will take 2 batches unless you have a truly giant pan. Set the chicken aside for a few moments after it is seared.
  • Reduce the heat on the stove, and to the remaining fat in the pan, add 1/2 of the thyme leaves as well as the diced onion. Stir for a  short moment, until fragrant and the onion goes translucent. Deglaze the pan with the white wine and reserve.
  • In an oven safe roasting dish, tumble in 20 of the garlic cloves. Arrange the chicken thighs atop the garlic, skin side up, and then sprinkle over the remaining garlic.
  • Over top of the chicken, pour the winy sauce. Sprinkle over the remaining thyme leaves.
  • Place the dish into the oven and cook for 1-1 1/2 hours, until the chicken is cooked through.

At dinner, Mister, myself and our guests dined on the chicken with lemon roasted potatoes and a salad. There was more roasted garlic present in the dish than was eaten that night, but a quick whiz of the peeled roasted cloves along with the remaining winy juices in the blender made for a tasty sauce for any leftovers.

The Mister rating:  “Uber-tender and mecha-tasty, a garlic lover’s fantasy.” (I’m not sure what mecha-tasty means, but I’m told it’s good)

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