How ‘Bout Food – Chicken & Forty-ish Cloves

It is Friday, y’all.  PRAISE DAGON.

It’s cold as R’lyeh’s Balls out there, and I am in the mood for some cozy time in the kitchen.  So perhaps it’s time for some Chicken & Forty Cloves.


I love this recipe in a way that is deep and wide, mostly because the Maillard Reaction and garlic are on my top five favorite things list.  This is a staple for every paleo/ancestral template kitchen for a wide variety of non-woo reasons.  Firstly, it is easy and hella cheap to keep a few chickens in the freezer.  You can get split/eighth chickens pretty easily and they stack well in the freezer.  You can also use thighs or drumsticks, if you (like we) prefer the flavor and texture of dark meat.  A container of peeled garlic cloves is about $2 for a cubic noseload of delightful garlicky bon-bons.  Secondly, the bone broth you can make with the remains of this recipe is truly aces.  I usually serve this with potatoes and something delightful and green (tonight, it’ll be sauteed broccoli with harissa), but you can easily do double greens, cauliflower rice/mash, or sauteed carrots or beets.  I think tonight I might get fancy and make the gorgeous sweet potato and shallot roast that I usually save for special occasions.

Here’s how you do it:

Yield: 4 servings.

Some 3-4 pound collection of bone-in chicken parts, of your choosing.  I find that thighs are the most economical choice.
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons of ghee (or fat of your choice)
40 large garlic cloves (I often sneak some extras in, not gonna lie)
1/2 cup dry white wine (if you do not drink or keep alcohol in the house, you can use unsweetened white grape juice)
1/2 cup bone broth (or canned/boxed stock, if you don’t have any bone broth on hand)

Tools required: A good dutch oven (Mine is a Lodge ceramic coated cast iron), a nice sturdy wooden spoon

1. An hour or so before you’re due to start working, take the chicken out of the fridge, and let it rise in temperature.  If you like, you can start to peel your garlic cloves while this happens, and set up a pretty mise en place.  Take a picture.  Blog that ish.  Make it pretty.  Have a glass of wine or a cup of tea while you do this.  Talk to a lover or friend, or listen to some music.

2.  Sprinkle salt and pepper (I also sometimes add Harissa, Garam Masala, or Berbere, if I’m bored) to generously coat the skin of the chicken parts. Put your ghee/other fat into your dutch oven and bring it to the point where it is hot, but not smoking.  A good test is to flick a bit of water at the pan — if it spits, it’s ready. Add chicken skin side down and let it sizzle without f*cking with it for about 5 minutes, then turn and repeat.  It should be a nice, even golden brown with some crispy browner bits along the edges.  You don’t want to scorch it, so make sure you’re monitoring the heat and adjusting to what the fats you’ve chosen need from you.

3. Lower heat to medium. Remove the chicken parts and place them in a bowl or on a plate.  Put your garlic cloves in the pan, and saute stirring frequently.  When the garlic is uniformly light brown in color and starting to get a little translucent (10 or 11 minutes), add the wine/juice and your bone broth/stock.  Scrape the crispy sticky bits off the bottom of the pan with a nice sturdy wooden implement to deglaze.

4. Put the chicken parts back in the dutch oven, on top of the garlic cloves.  Cover that ish, and cook for about 10-15 more minutes over medium heat.  I trust y’all know when chicken is done cooking — juices from a thick thigh or breast should run clear.

How ‘Bout Food – Chicken & Forty-ish Cloves

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