Garlic becomes soft and sweet roasted alongside this whole chicken, imparting a mellowed garlic flavor for everyone’s favorite chicken dinner.
The stinking rose. Dracula’s repellant. A bad blind date’s breath mint. This is the beauty of garlic.
I don’t recall where I first read about a recipe calling for 40 cloves of garlic, but I do remember being somewhat shocked by the fact it was actually a recipe and not a misprint. It was when I first really started exercising my cooking chops and exploring things in the kitchen other than my mom’s spaghetti or our favorite Parmesan noodles. 40 cloves of garlic sounded so contrary, there must be a secret! I mean, I’m a real garlic lover, but 40 heads of garlic loving? That might be stretching things a bit.
But after making this dish over and over through the years, there’s really no mystery to it. Except for the fact that roasted garlic becomes soft, buttery and surprisingly sweet, making it a chicken dinner everyone will wonder why you don’t make more often.
About the Recipe
Whether it’s for weekday meal prep, Sunday family dinner or any night when I can take the guess work out of cooking, roasting a whole bird in the oven has become one of my all-time favorite dinners to make. Watch out Ina, I’m on your tail.
It’s so simple to do when you follow a simple formula that I explain here. The key is loosely stuffing the cavity with your choice of aromatics (garlic, celery, onion, lemons, leeks, carrots, etc.) and creating a butter rub under and over the skin for a juicy bird every time.
If you use a bird weighing more than 4 pounds, add about 10 to 15 minutes cooking time per pound and use an instant read thermometer to check for doneness at 160-165 degrees (the chicken will continue to cook as it rests) and when juices run clear.
This time around I kept my aromatics simple and let the garlic rise to the occasion. You can purchase already peeled garlic for the convenience. I used both pre-peeled and unpeeled garlic in my version, along with a whole garlic head cut in half to make for a pretty presentation. You’ll find that the garlic roasted in the peel becomes softer and more buttery than the peeled version.
So, depending on your objective—a soft garlic smash on toasted crostini, or mashed into the juices for gravy, or let’s just hurry up and get ‘er done—any which way will infuse your chicken with the perfume of nature’s beautiful stinking rose.
If you make this recipe, please let me know! Leave a comment below or take a photo and tag me on Instagram with #foodiecrusheats.
40 Cloves of Garlic Roast Chicken
- 1 4 pound whole chicken
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt divided
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper divided
- 3 heads garlic or 40 cloves peeled
- 1/2 onion quartered
- 1/2 rib celery cut into 3-inch pieces
- 1/2 carrot cut into 3-inch pieces
- 1/2 cup white wine or sherry
- 4 tablespoons butter softened at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon dried tarragon
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
Remove the neck and giblets from the whole chicken, rinse with cold water and pat dry with paper towels. Place in a roasting pan and season the inside of the chicken with 1/2 teaspoon of the kosher salt and 1/2 teaspoon of the freshly ground black pepper. Stuff the chicken with the onion, celery, carrot and 6 garlic cloves. Truss legs with cooking twine and tuck wings under bird.
In a small bowl, mix the butter, the remaining kosher salt and black pepper and the tarragon until blended. Gently work your fingers under the skin of the chicken breasts and rub half of the butter mixture under the skin, then rub the rest of the butter over the top of the chicken skin.
Scatter the remaining garlic cloves around the chicken and pour the wine or sherry into the pan.
Roast the chicken for 30 minutes or until the breast is firm and just beginning to brown in spots. Using tongs, turn the chicken breast-down, baste with juices and roast for 20 minutes longer, until the skin is lightly browned.
Using tongs, turn the chicken breast-side-up and baste again. Add a ½ cup of water if the pan is looking dry. Roast for about 20 minutes longer, or until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the inner thigh registers 160° to 165° and juices are running clear.
Transfer the bird to a cutting board and tent with foil. Carve the chicken and serve with the roasted garlic.
Garlic Lovers, UNITE!
Given our love for garlic, there’s more than just this garlic-tinged recipe to spread around. Here’s a few more lovelies I’ve found to share with your loved one.
20 Minute Honey Garlic Shrimp from Sally’s Baking Addiction
Cheesy Garlic Parmesan Spinach Spaghetti Squash from Peas and Crayons
Garlic Lovers Spaghetti from Gimme Some Oven
Thanks for stopping by, and here’s to getting into the kitchen to cook something good.
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