This recipe was originally from the Barefoot Contessa’s 40 Cloves of Garlic. I have to say 40 cloves was way too much garlic for just me and Joel, and I couldn’t bear taking the garlic out of 40 cloves. I actually felt it was too much garlic for even 4 people! I made adjustments to the original recipe, and scaled it down a bit for just two people. I used about 20 cloves–still one helluva a lot of garlic–probably enough for 4. The flavor was very garlicky, but integral to the flavor of the chicken. You really need to love garlic to eat this dish. It is very French, indeed. I had the butcher cut the breasts in 1/2 because they were unusually large. I served it with rice pilaf and a salad. Really delicious. A bit of an effort due to so much garlic. This is worth the effort, though. It was tres elegante for just the two of us but it would be a really nice dish for company. I removed some of the whole cloves from the sauce before serving. A few errant cloves on your plate are okay and even pretty tasty, I might add.
2 whole heads garlic (you’ll need about 20 cloves) I started out with 2 heads so I could pick 20 nice size garlic cloves
4 chicken thighs, bone and skin on
2 chicken breasts (if very large, ask butcher to cut in 1/2)
freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
3 tablespoons cognac (brandy) divided (2 and then another 1 at end)
1 1/2 cups dry white wine
1/2 tablespoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon all- purpose flour
1 tablespoon heavy cream
Separate the cloves of garlic and drop them into a pot of boiling water for about a minute. Drain the garlic, allow it to cool for a few minutes and then peel and set aside.
Dry the chicken with paper towels. Season liberally with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Heat the butter and oil in a large dutch oven pot (once again, Le Creuset is perfect.) Cook over medium high heat, but don’t let olive oil start smoking, you’ll want it hot enough to form a nice crust on chicken. In batches, saute the chicken in the olive oil/butter, skin side down (and don’t touch it) for about 5 minutes on each side. Turn with tongs or spatula, because a fork can pierce the skin. If the oil is smoking too much and burning chicken, turn down the heat. When each batch is done, transfer to a plate and continue to saute the rest of the chicken. Remove all the chicken to plate. Now add all of the garlic back to the pot on a lower heat. Saute for about 5 to 10 minutes, until garlic browns, but not burns, up. Scrape up any brown bits as you go. Add 2 tablespoons of cognac and the wine, return to a slow boil, and scrape up bottom of pan (de-glaze). Return the chicken to the pot with the juices and sprinkle with the thyme. Cover and simmer over the lowest heat for about 30 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through. After the chicken is cooked through, remove the chicken to a plate and cover with aluminum foil to keep it warm. Remove 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid and in a small bowl, whisk together 1 tablespoon of flour and then put into pot with the rest of the sauce. If it is still not thick enough, add a little more flour. I find that 2 tablespoons is too much flour–but you may need to add more to reach the appropriate thickness. Raise the heat, add the remaining tablespoon of cognac and the cream, and boil for 3 – 5 minutes. Taste for salt and pepper. I didn’t need any more because my chicken was sufficiently seasoned already. Plate the chicken, pour the sauce on top, add a few pieces of garlic and serve hot over orzo or rice. A salad or vegetable is also perfect.