November 9, 2010

BAKED CHICKEN WITH 40 CLOVES OF GARLIC


1 tbsp. olive oil
4 lbs. bone in chicken pieces, skinned
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
40 lg. cloves garlic, unpeeled (about 4 heads)
1 3/4 c. dry white wine
4 sprigs thyme or 1/4 tsp. dried
1 sprig rosemary or 1/4 tsp. dried
2 tbsp. cognac
Chopped fresh parsley
12 (1/2" thick) slices coarse bread

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Heat oil over medium heat in a heavy bottomed, flame proof casserole wide enough to accommodate the chicken in a single layer. Add chicken and season with salt and pepper. Saute for 5 minutes, then turn over and saute another 5 minutes. If the bottom of the pan scorches a little, don't worry, it won't affect the flavor of the dish. Remove chicken pieces from the pot. Add garlic, reserving 1 clove and saute, stirring, for 3 to 5 minutes, until beginning to brown.

Again, don't worry about scorching.Spread cloves in a single layer and return the chicken pieces to the pot. Add wine, thyme and rosemary and cover tightly. Place casserole in the oven and bake 45 minutes. After 45 minutes, check the chicken. It should be tender and fragrant. If it isn't quite cooked through or very tender, bake another 15 minutes. Remove casserole from oven. Heat cognac in a small saucepan and light with a match. Pour over the chicken and shake the casserole until the flames die down. Taste the sauce in the pot, adjust seasonings and sprinkle with parsley.

Toast the bread slices in an oven preheated to 350 degrees until they begin to color, about 10 minutes, then rub both sides with the cut side of the reserved garlic clove.
To serve, place a couple of garlic slices of toast on each plate and top them with a piece of chicken or two, some of the sauce in the pan and several garlic cloves which should be squeezed onto the toast.

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