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40 Clove Garlic Chicken

  • Author: Resha
  • Total Time: 45 mins
  • Yield: 4-6


slightly adapted from Cook’s Illustrated


  • 40 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 8 bone-in chicken thighs, trimmed of excess fat
  • Kosher salt and pepper
  • 2 shallots, finely minced
  • 1/2 cup dry sherry
  • 3/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch dissolved in 1 tablespoon water
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon rosemary, roughly chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • pinch of red pepper flakes


  1. Pre-heat your oven to 450 degrees.
  2. In a small microwave-safe bowl, toss garlic with 1 teaspoon of oil and sugar. Microwave for about 3-4 minutes until slightly softened. It’s normal to see light brown spotting.
  3. Pat the chicken and chicken skin dry with paper towels. Try to avoid leaving any moisture on the surface or it will not brown correctly. Season the chicken with 1 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper. Heat the last teaspoon of oil in a 12-inch ovensafe skillet just until you start to see whisps of smoke. Place chicken in skillet skin-side down, and cook until the skin is well browned, about 7-10 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate, skin-side up and set aside. If you don’t have a 12-inch skillet, use what you have and just cook the chicken in batches if necessary. Discard all but 1 tablespoon of fat and reduce the heat to medium-low. Add the shallots (if using) and cook until softened, about 3-5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until evenly browned (like a toasted straw color), for about 1 minute.
  4. Remove the skillet from the heat briefly, and add the sherry to the skillet. Return the skillet to medium heat and bring the sherry to a simmer and scrape up the delicious brown bits at the bottom of the pan. Cook until the sherry coats the garlic and the pan is nearly dry, about 3-5 minutes. Stir in the broth, cream, cornstarch mixture, thyme, rosemary, cayenne pepper, red pepper flakes and bay leaf, and simmer until slightly thickened, about 3 to 4 minutes. Place the chicken you set aside earlier back to the skillet — skin side up, with any accumulated chicken juices from the plate. Cook the chicken until for about 18-22 minutes, or until it registers 175 degrees on an instant-read thermometer.
  5. Place the chicken on serving dish along with about half of the whole garlic cloves. Discard the thyme and bay leaf, and with a potato masher, mash the remaining garlic into the sauce. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Serve the sauce with the chicken and enjoy.


If you do not have an oven-proof skillet, feel free to use what you have. A large baking dish, or braising pan will work great. Just be sure to adjust the cooking time in the oven because chances are you’d be starting out with a cold baking dish and you’ll need to allow just a few extra minutes for everything to come up to temperature.

  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 30 mins


  • Serving Size: 8
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