Knowing that this Kaleidoscope dinner would be like cooking for a crowd, with my family of 4 plus a friend staying the night, and the other family with 6, 4 of them being teens. We needed some serious protein portions! I picked up 2 whole chickens from the store and went to work. Its been quite a few years now since I finally sat myself down and mastered breaking down the bird, but I must admit it is one useful skill! The time involved is minimal, once you know where to look for the correct joints to sever, everyone ends up with a cut of chicken they like, and if I’m into it, I get some “free” homemade chicken broth from the carcass. If you haven’t yet mastered this skill, do give it a try …. you’ll be quite proud of yourself when you do! Ok, you can wimp out and use breasts, thighs, whatever you find already cut for you, but you’ll also have to carry the guilt of not having given it a go yourself.
Forty clove chicken is one of those wonderful dishes where you end up with both chicken and a nice cream-less creamy sauce all from one pan. Fewer dishes! Yes! Don’t let the garlic frighten you away. It bakes right along with the chicken and mellows into a light flavor.
1 chicken, cut into legs, thighs, and breasts, with breasts cut in half
40 cloves garlic, very coarsely chopped
1 cup white wine
1 tsp rosemary
1 tsp tarragon
salt and pepper
1. Heat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Sprinkle salt and pepper on each side of the chicken pieces, and pat in place.
3. Spread chicken pieces out in a roasting pan, allowing a bit of room between each piece. Add garlic, distributing evenly across the roasting pan. Add wine, rosemary and tarragon.
4. Cover lightly with foil and bake for 40 minutes, turning chicken half way through. Chicken should be 170 degrees. Transfer chicken to the serving plate.
5. Using a fork or potato masher, gently smash the garlic pieces and stir to incorporate with the pan juices and wine. It should look like a slightly lumpy gravy when you finish. Pour over chicken and serve.
* Personally, I love the flavor of tarragon in this dish. Other than that, if you don’t have rosemary, go ahead and substitute some other similar herb that happens to be in your pantry.
* Cutting each breast in half makes each piece more even in size which is important when cooking it all for the same amount of time. Another benefit: portion control.
* This is not the time to peel all of that garlic! Buy the kind that has already been peeled. And you don’t need to get all particular and count out the garlic cloves. Just pour a whole bunch of cloves on your cutting board, give them a few quick chops and toss them on the chicken.
* I was amused to see how many You Tube videos show how to cut up a chicken! It truly never occurred to me to film myself breaking down a bird and sharing it with the world. Time to expand my goals!