Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic (Nigella)

I'm sharing this post with two events, firstly at I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC), where the theme for this week is "Potluck" and we can select any recipes from any of our previous featured chefs, and I have chosen to cook from Nigella's recipe.
The second event is Cook-Like-A Star, and the featured star for this month is Nigella Lawson, co-hosted by me, Kitchen Flavours together with Zoe from Bake For Happy Kids and Anjua from Simple Baking.

To submit to these two events, I've cooked "Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic". Ever since I've got the book "Nigella Kitchen", I've been meaning to make this dish. We love garlic in my house, my kids love eating chopped raw garlic with some soy sauce, a condiment that we never fail to request when we eat out at Chinese restaurants.

There are other versions of Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic, if you google for it, dozens of recipes would appear on the screen. I have not tried other versions, but this recipe of Nigella is a total winner.

The chicken pieces are first pan-fried until the skin are brown. Since I do not have a dutch oven, I have used a roasting pan to place the pan-fried chicken pieces and cover it tightly with a large piece of foil when it goes into the oven. The scallions, thyme and garlic are quickly stir-fried in the frying pan that I used to fry the chicken pieces. I actually counted the number of garlic cloves and when I reached 40, I can't help adding more! In the end I probably used about 50! What can I say, we are one garlic-loving family!

I then placed half the garlic in the roasting pan, top with the chicken pieces and the balance of the garlic on top. Add the white wine to the frying pan (I have used more white wine than the recipe calls for), swish it around to mix in the flavours and oil left in the frying pan, and pour over the chicken pieces. Season with a generous amount of black pepper and salt, with some sprigs of fresh thymes. Cover with foil tightly and bake for 1-1/2 hours.

It smells really good while the chicken is baking in the oven, so garlicky delicious. The chicken is so, so tender and moist. Very delicious. There's a fair amount of gravy collected in the roasting pan, and all the flavours from the chicken, the scallions, thymes, garlic and the white wine comes together in one delicious gravy. And the garlic, wow! So velvety soft and creamy, both the hubby and kids, keep digging for the garlic! Me too!  :)

Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic
(adapted from "Nigella Kitchen", Nigella Lawson)
Serves 4-6
2 tablespoons regular olive oil
8 chicken thighs (with skin on and bone in), preferably organic
1 bunch or 6 scallions
8-10 sprigs fresh thyme
40 cloves garlic (approx 3-4 heads), unpeeled
2 tablespoons dry white vermouth or white wine (I use 1/3 cup)
1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt or 3/4 teaspoon table salt
good grinding pepper

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Heat the oil on the stove top in a wide, shallow ovenproof and flameproof Dutch oven (that will ultimately fit all the chicken in one layer, and that has a lid), and sear the chicken over a high heat, skin-side down. This may take 2 batches, so transfer the browned pieces to a bowl as you go.
  2. Once the chicken pieces are seared, transfer them all to the bowl. Finely slice the scallions, put them into the Dutch oven, and quickly stir-fry them with the leaves torn from a few sprigs of thyme.
  3. Put 20 of the unpeeled cloves of garlic (papery excess removed) into the pan, top with the chicken pieces skin-side up, then cover with the remaining 20 cloves of garlic.
  4. Add the vermouth (or white wine) to any oily, chickeny juices left in the bowl. Swish it around and pour this into the pan too.
  5. Sprinkle with the salt, grind over the pepper, and add a few more sprigs of thyme. Put on the lid and cook in the oven for 1-1/2 hours.

Please stop by I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC) to view what my friends have made for this week's theme, "Potluck", and if you are interested to join us, please find out more details from IHCC.

I'm linking this post to Cook Like A Star, where the featured chef for this month is NIGELLA LAWSON. Cook Like A Star is an event organized by Zoe from Bake For Happy Kids, and the co-hosts for this month are Anuja from Simple Baking and me, Joyce from Kitchen Flavours. Cook or bake any of Nigella Lawson's recipes and link your posts to any of the hosts' linky which will stay open for the whole month of August. All submissions to this event must be current posts, published within the current month of this event, any older posts will be deleted. Please mention and link Cook Like A Star somewhere in your post. Do join us, everyone is welcome!

Cook Like A Star featuring Nigella Lawson, from 1st August to 31st August 2013

Ms. enPlace


  1. Hi Joyce .. 40 cloves of garlic , what a treat SOooooo yummy , a must try for the weekend . Thanks for shating :).

  2. ivy sew http://simplybeautifulhealthyliving.blogspot.comTuesday, August 20, 2013

    Hi Joyce, haven't try fish with so many garlic! But I like pork belly with lots of garlic and it's very flavourful. Will try this one day :)

  3. ivy sew http://simplybeautifulhealthyliving.blogspot.comTuesday, August 20, 2013

    *correction : chicken not fish, hahaha...

  4. 40 clove of garlic with Chicken looks delicious and mouthwatering.

  5. I made Silver Palate's version of this classic last fall ... delectable! Oh, I wish I could bring my empty plate YOUR way! It seems we both like chicken!

  6. Hi Joyce,

    Have you wonder why 40 cloves of garlic but not 41, 42, 43 or...??? I saw some recipes asking for 30 cloves of garlic?! Why 30, not 40??? Why these specific numbers? Are they magic numbers??? - LOL!

    I'm attracted to these recipes with "magic" number too but have not tried any of these recipes yet. If I'm trying these sort of recipes, I wish to try this Nigella's recipe first :D


  7. I was wondering the same question as Zoe, why specific numbers ?!! I bet this chicken is tasty & a comforting food too .

  8. The name of this dish is funny, i thought you really count the garlic, but find out that you put more than that...thanks for sharing this funny dish and give me a good laugh with the fish name! Have a great day ahead, Joyce!

  9. Hi Joyce, I love this dish too and I also added more than 40 garlics!

  10. Hi, Joyce. I don't think I've had a Nigella recipe that I haven't liked. Have not tried this one. I think it's Alton Brown's version my husband likes to make. I think I'd prefer this one though because of the green onion.
    Thank you for linking. It looks great and perfectly browned.

  11. Hi Joyce,

    Wow! It's been so long since I've seen a recipe for chicken with 40 cloves of garlic. I just checked a couple of my James Beard books to see if he had a reason for using the number 40 but he doesn't say why. (I believe this is an original recipe by him:) What he does say is when he taught it in his classes, his students were always "astonished" at how good it tasted. He also suggests squeezing the cloves from their papery pouch onto fresh toasted Italian bread and spreading it like butter. (he too was a huge fan of garlic:)

    Thanks for sharing, Joyce. The aroma must be intoxicating at your house, lol...

  12. If I'm not mistaken, this is a French recipe, right? I have always wanted to try this too, but worried my hubby would not accept the super garlicky taste. Hehe!

  13. Good morning Ms Joyce,
    Thanks for sharing. I have tried the Stuffed Chicken and my family loved it.
    Now I have to try this but not sure about so many garlice, can we reduce instead?
    Have a good day

    1. Hi Elaine,
      I'm glad your family loved the Stuffed Chicken!
      For this dish, you can reduce the garlic, but the garlic is what makes the dish so tasty. During the long cooking process, the strong taste of the garlic has significantly reduced, what you will taste is really creamy, soft and smooth garlic with a hint of sweetness. You don't have to eat the garlic. They will still be with the skins, so you can remove them easily. Hope you give this dish a try, it is delicious!
      Thank you for stopping by, will be visiting you soon. :)

  14. This sure looks like a delicious recipe with all that garlic goodness!

  15. i have heard of this recipe before with the 40 cloves. It always seemed like to much garlic to me but it always looks so delicious so it must be the perfect amount of garlic right? yours looks amazing

  16. Wah, 40-50 cloves of garlic, what a special dish! I also like eating garlic but my children don't. This would be a very expensive dish if I cook it at home as I usually use garlic imported from Europe if I can't find Australian grown.

  17. Hahahaha my other half will run away and probably leave the house if I cook this! Looks amazing though!

  18. Joyce, this sounds like a great version of the classic recipe - less complicated than some and allows the chicken and roasted garlic to be the stars. Looks delicious!

  19. 40? Wow, that's a lot, but I think, just like u, I would dig in for the garlic too :)

  20. I've seen a version of this from Ina Garten. I'll have to try it!

  21. I adore garlic, so I have no doubt that this would be a favorite! Thank you for sharing yet another delicious post. I hope you are having a beautiful Wednesday. Half-way to the weekend!

  22. Joyce I am resubmitting my apple pie coz i gotten some techn glitz and my blog post got deleted. Please cancel the first one as the link cease to exist now. Sorry.

    1. Hi Edith,
      No problem. Already deleted the first submission. You may re-submit your new one now. Thank you for linking!

  23. Joyce, 50 cloves of garlic? I think I can handle that too because I eat garlic like nobody's business LOL! Am bookmarking this recipe :)

  24. i'm also like your son, always ask for raw garlic with soy sauce. i will eat the tender cooked garlic too..wow so many of them...will cause bad breath or not? LOL!

  25. Hey Joyce, I've seen Nigella cooked this dish on one of her cookery progs on BBC. I took down the recipe and have been meaning to cook this dish, but have put that aside.. So glad you cooked this dish. I'm sure this chicken with 40 cloves of garlic was delish. We love garlic, too. The vermouth helps in making the taste of the garlic more subtle. I'm glad to cook up this dish. Thanks for the recipe as mine was scribbled on a piece of paper :-)

  26. Hi Joyce, I just tried to post a comment but had an internet crash just as a pushed send, so don't know if it went through or not.

    I love "all-time-classic" recipes like this, though this is one that I am still yet to try. Perhaps next weekend, instead of our usual Sunday roast chicken, I might have to give this a try.

    I totally love that you increased the quantity of garlic and wine - you are my kind of cook :-)

    Thanks for joining in at IHCC Pot Luck this week, Joyce, and special thanks for bringing Nigella to the party.

  27. I made this a while back when IHCC cooked with Nigella and I still remember just how incredible it was. Such perfect comfort food! ;-)