Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Don't Judge a Book by it's Cover

Oh what Frank (Sinatra), a glass Cotes du Rhone and some roasted garlic will do for a girls spirit.

I was feeling tres unproductive today as I have been addicted to my new book (which isn't even good, "The Paris Wife" ... I know, I'm such a sucker for titles.  It's about Ernest Hemingway and his wife during their time in Paris.  Sounds great right?  I'm at page 298 out of 400 and nothing has yet to happen.)  Anyway, after a very lazy day, I decided making a time consuming French recipe would make me feel like a contributing member of society.  I picked up a new French cookbook the other day and am determined to try most of the recipes before I leave this place so I decided to delve into my first challenge: Roasted Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic (I had a headache just thinking about that much garlic).

So, I began with finding the right bird.  My first stop was Marche du Passy. They carry only the freshest things and there are 2 different butchers in the the marche.  Unfortunately, all of the chickens still had heads attached and that just looked way to complicated.  On to the the Monoprix (normal grocery store).  The chicken was astronomically expensive but at least it didn't have a head so I decided it would do. I think that was actually the hardest part of this recipe.  As daunting as the title may sound, it is actually one of the easier meals I've cooked in a while.  Here is the recipe:

Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic

2 celery stalks, including leaves
2 sprigs of rosemary
4 sprigs of thyme
1 chicken
40 garlic cloves, unpeeled (key word! unpeeled)
1 T. olive oil (plus more for coating chicken)
1 C. white wine
1 carrot, roughly chopped
1 small onion, cut into 4 wedges
1 baguette, cut into slices

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Put one chopped celery stalk, one sprig of rosemary and one sprig of thyme into the chicken cavity.  Add 6 cloves of garlic.  Tie legs together and tucks wing tips under.

Brush chicken lightly with olive oil and season well.  Scatter 10 more garlic cloves over the base of a large casserole dish.  Put the rest of the herbs, celery carrot and onion in the casserole.

Put the chicken in the casserole dish on top of the herbs and vegies.  Scatter remaining garlic around the chicken and pour in olive oil and white wine.  Cover and bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes. 

Carefully lift chicken out of the casserole dish to a cutting board.  Strain the juices into a small saucepan and use a pair of tongs to pick out all of the garlic cloves from the strained mixture.  Spoon off the fat from the juices and boil for 2-3 minutes until it reduces and thickens. 

In the meantime, slice the baguette and drizzle slices with olive oil on a baking sheet.  Toast the slices in the oven (same temp is fine) until just toasted.  Cut the chicken into serving portions and pour some of the juices on top and scatter with garlic.  Serve the chicken with the toasted baguette slices.  The best part is squeezing the soft roasted garlic onto the baguette slices. Perfect compliment to the juicy chicken! 

My first stab at this recipe went pretty well.  I was a little disappointed that the jus from the chicken was not darker.  I will have to figure out what to change to make this happen next time! My favorite part of the whole thing is the delicious roasted garlic.  I must admit, next time I may by a delicious rotisserie chicken down the street and just roast some garlic! I know it would taste just as good, if not better... and it would be cheaper.  Nevertheless, nothing beats a therapeutic night in the kitchen.

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