Biting Off More Than I Could Chew

RECIPE: Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic

So… yeah. Have you ever gotten to the point with an activity where you’re like, Dude, I’ve pretty much got this handled. There’s not really anything I can’t just sort of figure out and take on about this if I really try?

I had apparently gotten there with cooking. Or at least I thought I had, you know, until yesterday, when I discovered I was oh so very wrong.

This week has been Jason’s first week on a new diet. I’ve been trying to be a supportive wife and make meals that will be easy for him to modify to fit his dietary restrictions. I decided, therefore, to throw together something I remember making about 10 years ago when I first started cooking, Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic, because I remembered it mostly being about chicken and garlic, both things Jason can totally eat and actually likes.

I didn’t remember exactly how the recipe went, so I Googled a few and it turns out it’s mostly just like: take a whole chicken, cut it up, saute it a little, saute 40 cloves of garlic, add liquid and cover until chicken is done. So I figured I’d just get ‘er done.

When I went grocery shopping for the ingredients for this meal, I perused the raw chicken-y area and it was clear the cheapest option for getting a bunch of chicken in different forms, was to just buy an entire chicken. Even though I usually remain in the ‘boneless, skinless, chicken breast’ arena when dealing with raw chicken, I figured, Whatever, it’s a super easy recipe, I can handle chopping the bird up into pieces. I’m a badass and I chucked that full chicken into the cart.

That was my first mistake. The second was proceeding yesterday to attempt to cut the entire chicken up without ever even having really seen an entire raw chicken before and without doing any research on how it should be dismantled.

Yep. It was an utterly disgusting and scarring disaster. I’m pretty sure I have post-traumatic stress. It’s possible I’m drinking wine right now just to try to erase the memory. In case I haven’t been clear here: I DO NOT RECOMMEND BUTCHERING YOUR OWN CHICKEN. I recommend paying the extra, inflated price tag so that you don’t have to look at things like the rib cage, neck and internal organs of an animal that kind of make you think of the body parts of your children or pets while you’re using poultry shears to cut through its joints. In my opinion, it’s just not worth it.

But if you do decide that you’re a badass and can handle it (and want to), then use the tutorial my dad posted about. Do not, I repeat, DO NOT just make it up as you go along because it really can’t be that hard. You will end up an hour into dealing with the internal organs of another creature, hands raw from having washed them eleven times already, contemplating just how you got to this dark scary place in your life and questioning every choice you’ve ever made. You also might be crying large salty tears into the central cavity of your bird and wondering if your husband will be really upset if you ruin his diet and order pizza.

That said, I AM a badass, so I got ‘er done. Eventually. After all the crying. And the dish itself was delicious and healthy. It also would have been super easy if I’ve just used 4 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts. Next time, I will.

Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic
Recipe type: Dinner
Author: Elizabeth
Prep time: 2 hours
Cook time: 45 mins
Total time: 2 hours 45 mins
Serves: 6
  • 1 whole chicken, cut into 8 parts (or 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts if you’re smart)
  • 40 cloves of garlic, peeled (about 3 heads)
  • 1.5 cups of chicken broth
  • 1 cup of white wine
  • olive oil
  • 5 large carrots, peeled and chopped into large pieces
  • 1 French baguette
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Put carrots on a cookie sheet tossed with a small amount of olive oil. Bake 30 minutes or until they start to get black on the edges. Stir halfway through.
  3. Heat a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in a large pan on medium high.
  4. Add chicken to pan. Brown a couple of minutes on each side. Remove and set aside chicken.
  5. Add more oil to the pan.Toss in garlic and brown for a few minutes, stirring regularly.
  6. Put chicken back into the pan, on top of the garlic. Add wine and broth. Cover and simmer 25 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.
  7. Toast French baguette.
  8. Remove chicken from the pan and set aside. Turn heat up on pan and simmer until sauce is reduced to one cup.
  9. Serve chicken topped with garlic and sauce and carrots on the side. Spread extra garlic cloves on the baguette.


This entry was posted in 4 Wine Glasses, Dinner, Poultry. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Biting Off More Than I Could Chew

  1. Aunt Peg says:

    You put into words how I felt some 45 years ago when that’s the only way chicken came!! I had to go get the neighbor boy who’s dad was butcher to help me get that bird ready for the pan. Maybe this is the reason I don’t enjoy cooking. I have been scarred by the “whole” chicken nightmare. Thanks for the smile!

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