Sunday, 12 December 2010

chicken on forty cloves of garlic - alternative chicken

I'm revisiting an old favourite and cooking chicken with forty cloves of garlic. Sounds a bit mad, if you aren't crazy for garlic, fortunately I don't know anyone who isn't crazy for garlic.

Cooked like this the garlic becomes a softly flavoured sweet paste, best squeezed out of the husk onto toast, or, fried bread. Now, that's decadence.

The chicken in this dish is almost blonde, and the flesh is softly succulent.

The magic of this dish is the opening of the casserole. Put it on the table, in front of the hungry and crack it open. The delicious odour emanating is hard to beat. Never mind bisto. Coming from a large family of permanently hungry people, the smell had to satisfy for some time, while the bird was carved, and the stop gap was being allowed to eat the flour and water paste that had sealed the flavours in. Teeth breakingly delicious.


1 chicken, about 4lb/2kg
at least four heads of garlic, the larger the better
a snug fit
pepper olive oil

casserole just big enough for the bird
flour and water


  • take off the outer husk of the garlic heads and twist the cloves off the rooty bit - put just the cloves into the casserole
  • wash and dry the chicken, pulling off any bits of fat you can
  • put herbs into the cavity
  • sit the chicken on the cloves of garlic and pour on some generous glugs of good olive oil
  • the lid is tied on because the chicken's a bit big for the pot
  • liberally sprinkle with pepper and salt

  • put the lid on the casserole and seal it with flour and water paste - don't worry about it looking beautiful, it won't, just make sure it's well sealed
  • put into medium oven, Gas Mark 4 for 1.5h
  • take the casserole out and let it sit for around 20m - the juices improve
  • put the casserole on the table and crack it open - removing the bird carefully, so it's juices stay in the pot

tuck in

a roasted tint - the flesh is blonde
I like this with steamed potatoes and a big green salad, with family dressing, along with some good hunks of bread to mop up all juices

the flour paste is good and sticky 

other chicken recipes: roast chicken flattened chicken marinated chicken strips

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