Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Ina Garten's Chicken with Forty Cloves of Garlic
I'd like to take a moment of your time to tell you about three of my favorite things: cream, cognac, and garlic. Each of these ingredients is certainly impressive by its own right. Each adds a certain complexity of flavor, texture, and richness to food that can't be replicated by anything else. These ingredients are really special; whether they're used every day or for a fancy affair, they're sure to please and impress. But what if we were to combine them into one delicious dish that's so wonderfully good it makes your heart skip a beat at your first taste and your senses melt into pure and lovely food bliss. There is such a dish, my friends, and it's Ina Garten's incredible chicken with forty cloves of garlic.
You start with the best chicken you can find (use dark meat, it works wonders here) and brown each piece in butter until lightly crispy. Then, you take the peeled cloves of 3 whole heads of garlic and gently saute them in the bubbly mixture of chicken fat and butter that remains (that probably either sounds really vile to you or as painfully delicious as it does to me). When the garlic is soft and golden brown, you pour in a touch of cognac and a bit of white wine and the delicious brown bits that stuck to the bottom of the pan swim up into a beautifully fragrant sauce. You put the chicken back into the pot, sprinkle the whole thing with fresh thyme, and let it simmer away for a half hour.
When the chicken is done, you take it out of the pot once more to reveal the decadent sauce below. You add a bit of flour to thicken things up, a bit more cognac, and a good touch of cream, and the sauce has transformed into a rich, garlicky, aromatic concoction just begging to be eaten by the spoonful. When you pour the sauce back over that crisp, tender chicken, you'll have to do everything in your power not attack the plate with your bare hands, alarming family members or dinner guests who are probably waiting patiently to try your masterpiece. And a masterpiece it is. Served with some herbed couscous to absorb all of those sinfully tasty juices, this couldn't be a lovelier, more comforting, and certainly not more delicious meal.