Chicken with Forty Cloves of Garlic

“[This is] a Provençal recipe that I taught for years in my classes,” said James Beard. “And one that never failed to astonish the students because the garlic cloves become so mild and buttery when they’re cooked through!”–James Beard

LC What He Said Note

What he said. (Hey, we can’t say it better than James Beard. And we know it.)

Chicken with Forty Cloves of Garlic Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 25 M
  • 2 H
  • Serves 8


  • 2/3 cup olive oil
  • 8 chicken drumstick and thighs (or 16 of either)
  • 4 stalks celery, cut in long strips
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 6 sprigs parsley
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon, or 1 teaspoon dried
  • 1/2 cup dry vermouth
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Pinch nutmeg
  • 40 cloves garlic, unpeeled


  • 1. Put the oil in a shallow dish, add the chicken pieces, and turn to coat all sides evenly with the oil.
  • 2. Cover the bottom of a heavy 6-quart casserole with a mixture of the celery and onions, add the parsley and tarragon, and lay the chicken pieces on top. Pour the vermouth over the top, sprinkle with salt and pepper, add a dash or two of nutmeg, and tuck the garlic cloves around and between the chicken pieces. Cover the top of the casserole tight with aluminum foil and then the lid (this creates an air-tight seal so the steam won’t escape). Bake in a 375°F oven for 1 1/2 hours, without removing the cover.
  • 3. Serve the chicken, pan juices, and whole garlic cloves with thin slices of heated French bread or toast. The garlic should be squeezed from the root end of its papery husk onto the bread or toast, spread like butter, and eaten with the chicken.
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Testers Choice

Testers Choice

This is one of the easiest and best chicken with forty cloves of garlic that I have made. It’s great comfort food, and I was able to use some of the organic garlic we grow in our garden. The vermouth is a good way to keep the recipe the same as opposed to using white wine, which could change the taste depending on which white wine a cook chooses. I also liked the addition of tarragon which added a subtle flavour. It will definitely become a standard in our kitchen.

  1. jennifer trump says:

    I was newly married when I first made this, and the way it sounds in the recipe is pretty mundane, but I know for a fact the final dish TRANSCENDS the ingredients to a place beyond comfort food to luscious feasting. I confess to not liking tarragon and I used only parsley. This was by far the best tasting dish I cooked in the first 10 years of my marriage.

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