Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic
Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic is an easy and delicious meal for dinner, especially for garlic lovers! Tender chicken thighs are braised in an aromatic sauce with garlic, brandy, and fresh thyme.
40 cloves of garlic might sound like a lot, but if you’ve never had mellow and sweet garlic cooked like this, you’re in for a treat!
Garlic in its raw form can be quite spicy and strong, but the garlic here is quite the opposite.
It’s similar to roasted garlic, and has a very soft texture and mellow flavor.
This garlic chicken dish is one of my all-time favorites. The flavors go so beautifully together, and it’s all made in one pan. I even serve the chicken right in the pan I cook it in.
If I had to characterize this recipe, it’s definitely all about the aromatics.
Fresh thyme, garlic, and a little bit of Brandy are the stars of the dish, and since chicken takes so well to other flavors, it picks up all those flavor notes and aromas.
It’s also a very comforting dish, but in a way that’s healthier than most of the recipes you’d think of as “comfort food.” It’s gluten-free, dairy-free, and low carb friendly.
Step by Step Overview:
Pat the exterior of the chicken pieces dry with paper towels, then season all over with kosher salt and black pepper.
I usually season chicken by eye, but as a rule of thumb, I recommend 3/4 teaspoon per pound of chicken.
Then begin cooking the seasoned bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs in a pan for about 5 minutes over medium heat. I recommend using a large dutch oven or a wide braiser pan, but any skillet with a lid works too.
Place the chicken skin side down into the pan. I do not add any olive oil to the skillet, as the skin will render its own fat, but feel free to use some if you wish.
When the chicken skin is golden brown, flip and cook for a few minutes on the other side:
Remove the chicken to a plate, and cover loosely with aluminum foil to keep warm.
After the chicken has been removed, there should be plenty of brown bits and chicken fat leftover on the bottom of the pan. That’s all wonderful flavor to incorporate into the sauce!
Add garlic cloves to the pan and cook for 5 minutes, then add fresh thyme and keep cooking for another 3 minutes:
How do you peel the garlic?
Nearly all grocery stores sell pre-peeled garlic, which makes this dish really easy since all the work is done for you. That’s what I use.
If you want to use actual heads of garlic that you peel yourself, you’ll need about 3 for 40 cloves. Separate each head of garlic into individual cloves and blanch them in boiling water for 1 minute. Remove the garlic and peel (if they don’t peel easily, stick them back in the water for 30 seconds).
Deglaze the pan by adding Brandy or Cognac:
It adds a great flavor and aromatic quality to the dish, but if you wish to omit the alcohol, you can substitute chicken stock.
If you don’t have Brandy or Cognac, you can substitute a dry white wine.
Next add chicken stock to the pan:
Bring the liquid to a simmer using medium-high or high heat, then add the browned chicken back to the pan.
Cover with a lid, and cook for 20 minutes, until the chicken is fully cooked to a temperature of 180F inside.
Once again remove the chicken from the pan, this time to a baking sheet.
Pop the chicken thighs under the broiler for a couple minutes, to crisp and brown the skin:
In the meantime, you will be left with the sauce in the pan:
Cook the sauce over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes, until the liquid reduces down considerably:
Now you can add the crispy skin chicken thighs back to the pan, and serve it all together:
Garnish the top with fresh thyme, or even a squeeze of fresh lemon juice if you enjoy some acidity with the chicken. It’s a great, easy dinner, with tons of flavor!
And for something really easy, simply add some crusty bread for soaking up the sauce. You can also spread the soft garlic cloves on each bite. Enjoy!
Recipe FAQ and Tips
Browning the chicken is an important part of the recipe, so not entirely. However, once you get through step 6 of the recipe and have brought all the liquid up to a boil, you can transfer everything to the crock and cook on high for 1.5-2 hours or low for 3-4 hours, until the chicken reaches 180 degrees F.
Yes, though you will need to be more careful about making sure the meat is not overcooked. Pull the breasts off the heat once the meat reads at 160F with an instant-read thermometer. It will continue rising another 5 degrees or so from carryover cooking.
Keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic
- 3.5 lbs chicken thighs bone-in and skin on
- 40 peeled cloves of garlic*
- 1/4 cup Brandy or Cognac
- 1/2 cup chicken stock
- 10 sprigs fresh thyme
- Pat the chicken skin dry with paper towels, then season the chicken on both sides with salt and pepper.
- Heat a braiser pan or high-sided saute pan with a lid over medium heat, and add the chicken thighs skin-side down. Cook for about 5 minutes, until fat has rendered and the skin is golden.
- Flip and cook the chicken for 3 minutes on the other side, then remove all the chicken to a plate. Cover loosely with aluminum foil to keep warm.
- Add the garlic to the pan, and saute for 5 minutes, until golden.
- Add the thyme and cook for another 3 minutes, until the thyme has wilted.
- Add the Brandy or Cognac to deglaze the pan, then add the chicken stock. Bring to a simmer, then add the chicken back to the pan.**
- Cover with a lid, turn the heat to medium low to maintain a gentle simmer, and cook the chicken for about 20 minutes, until the interior temperature is 180F.
- Remove the chicken to a sheet pan, and place the chicken skin side up under the broiler for a few minutes, until golden brown and crispy. Make sure to watch closely so the chicken doesn’t burn.
- In the meantime, cook the sauce over medium high heat to reduce the braising liquid, until slightly thickened.
- Serve the sauce and crispy chicken together. Enjoy!
Nutrition is estimated using a food database and is only intended to be used as a guideline for informational purposes.
Post updated with new photos, writing, and recipe in August 2018. Originally published April 2011.