Forty reasons to eat garlic

12th April, 2011 - Posted by admin - Comments Off

Chicken with forty cloves of garlic

The weather has been toying with us: sunny during the day, chilly at night, not winter, not yet spring. Blah.  It’s not warm enough for an entirely cold menu and still cool enough that having the oven on is a nice idea.

Combine that with the fact that chicken has been ridiculously cheap lately and chicken with forty cloves of garlic starts to sound like a good idea.

Do a Google search for this recipe and the number of results is staggering. Everyone claims to have the original, the best, the only forty clove chicken recipe. The simple fact is that this recipe and variations on it have been knocking around for a long time. The recipe below creates a very flavorful pan sauce that goes well over mashed potatoes or noodles. Other versions involve dredging the chicken in flour or sautéing the garlic first. This one is fairly straightforward.

Forty cloves sounds like a lot of garlic – and I won’t lie: it is. However, roasted garlic becomes an entirely different thing from the pungent fresh stuff. Plus, it’s really good for you.

Garlic has been in our diet for over 6,000 years and was used as a currency in Egypt – a land where money apparently grew in bulb form. The only part of the garlic plant that can’t be eaten is the root cluster at the base, making it very economical plant.

Medically, garlic is suspected to help reduce cancer risks, along with possibly lowering cholesterol and blood pressure. It is an antibacterial and helps with cold symptoms.

So really, by eating a whole lot of garlic, you are doing yourself and your loved ones a favor. Not to mention drastically reducing your chance of vampire attack.

When purchasing garlic, look for firm heads that aren’t sprouted. Cloves that have started to sprout can still be eaten, but tend to be bitter. Once your garlic is home, store it in a dry place at room temperature. The refrigerator is not a friend to fresh garlic, but once it’s peeled, it can be chilled in an air-tight container.

Once all your garlic cloves are peeled, trim off the hard root end – it doesn’t soften with cooking and biting into one will really put a damper on the evening.

Mince up the parley as fine as you can and don’t skimp on it. If you’ve only ever encountered parsley as a garnish, then you are in for a treat. Parsley has a bright green, fresh flavor that pairs very well with both garlic and white wine. Do not use dried parsley in its place. Dried parsley is essentially bottled dust and has no place in kitchen where actual food is being prepared. If there’s dried parsley on your spice rack, just toss it. Keep the jar for something else, that part is useful.

The directions below specify in what order the ingredients go in the baking dish. In all honesty, I’ve made this with chicken on the bottom and everything dumped on top and vice versa – it’s always been delicious. As long as the wine and lemon juice make it in, you can’t go too wrong.

Once everything is assembled, cover with foil and bake for forty minutes. Prepare for your house to smell amazing and if you don’t know your neighbors, you may meet them when this is coming out of the oven.

Serve with mashed potatoes or noodles and a crusty bread to soak up the sauce.

Chicken with Forty Cloves of Garlic
Serves 6

1 chicken (3 -3.5 lbs) cut up
40 cloves of garlic, peeled
3/4 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup olive oil
4 stalks celery, diced
2 teaspoons dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 cup fresh parsley, minced
Pinch of red pepper flakes
Juice of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place chicken in a single layer in a baking dish. Layer garlic cloves over the chicken.

2. Pour wine and olive oil over the chicken. Spread celery over everything and top with basil, oregano, parsley, pepper flakes, lemon juice, salt and pepper.

3. Cover with aluminum foil coated with cooking spray and bake for 40 minutes. Uncover and bake for an additional 15 minutes, until chicken is cooked through and browned.

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Posted on: April 12, 2011

Filed under: Dinner

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