Chicken with Garlic Cloves ( a recipe review)

Chicken with Garlic Cloves ( a recipe review)
  • Sumo

For years now I’ve seen a recipe for “Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic” popping up. I’ve run across it in cooking magazines, cookbooks and food blogs. I googled  it and there are 3,320,000 sites with this recipe or a mention of it. Could it really be so special that everybody in the world is making it? Would it taste so amazing that it would be worth the effort of peeling all that garlic?

There are only two of us ( and I absolutely hate to peel garlic), so I cut the garlic down to 20 cloves instead of the usual number of 40. Pretty sure it was still enough to keep any vampires away. The garlic gets a really mellow flavor as it roasts in the oven with the chicken, so don’t worry about an over powering garlic bomb—it’s actually quite mild.

Yes, you might need a breath mint

Have any of you ever tried this funky little garlic peeler? Do they really work? I usually just squish my garlic clove under the flat edge of a knife and then take the skin off. It works well, but then you end up with flat garlic. You could also try this method if you had two large metal bowls. I can imagine myself losing control during shaking and having garlic fly all over my kitchen.

With over 3 million recipes for “Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic”, I chose to use this one from Alton Brown on the the Food Network as my inspiration. I changed it because I thought the amount of olive oil was insane in the original recipe.

Ingredients (for 2 people)

  • 4 full chicken legs (with thighs), skin on
  • 1-2 Tablespoons Ghee for browning the chicken
  • 5 sprigs of fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1 whole head of garlic (about 20 cloves)
  • 1/2 cup home made chicken stock or bone broth
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

What to do

  1. Rinse and pat your chicken dry. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Brown it on both sides over high heat in a frying pan with some ghee or oil of your choice.
  3. Lay your browned chicken out in a baking dish and toss on the peeled garlic cloves.

    Almost more garlic than chicken!

  4. Mix the chicken broth and oil together and pour over the chicken.
  5. Pull the leaves off of the thyme sprigs and sprinkle them over the top of everything.
  6. Add additional salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Bake in a pre-heated 350 F (175 C) oven for 45 minutes to an hour (until chicken juices run clear).

    Hot from the oven

The Verdict

Well, it was good tasting chicken, but I honestly don’t know that it merits a gazillion recipes. I would make it again, but I would make a gravy out of the garlic cloves and pan drippings. We served this with roast cauliflower and I mashed up some of the garlic and pan drippings with my cauliflower. It was really delicious and I’m going to be trying out a gravy recipe based on it. I also think adding some white wine or vermouth to the chicken stock and olive oil would make the dish a bit more interesting next time around.

My dinner plate



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  1. Wow that looks sooooo appealing. I am definitely going to give this a try also. That browned chicken skin just looks incredible.

  2. Hi Danrex,
    I love chicken skin! I can’t believe I ate skinless chicken for so many years. I love your avatar picture 😉