Chef Jennie: Forty Clove Garlic Chicken

Chef Jennie is back and today she is sharing the perfect fall recipe: 40 Garlic Chicken. Enjoy!

This is my favorite comfort food of all time. It’s simple, hearty, healthy and delicious. It reminds me of the family meals of my childhood, sitting eagerly at the kitchen counter as I watched my mom work her magic. With extreme care and thoroughness, she would pierce the raw chicken skin in intermittent dashes and then slip the forty garlic cloves into their forty slots.

After coating the bird in olive oil and stuffing it with rosemary, she would pop on the lid and send the pan swiftly into the oven. An hour later the chicken would reappear to greet the whole family, who had been lured into the kitchen by the aroma of roasting garlic and were now hovering over the pot.

Years later I learned from my aunt Mary Ann that there was a faster way to make the same dish. 

Rather than meticulously placing the garlic cloves throughout the chicken skin, you can just plop them into a Dutch oven with some fresh herbs and olive oil. Set the whole chicken right on top, squeeze a lemon over it, season with salt and pepper and you’re done! 

And guess what? You don’t even have to preheat the oven. Just put the chicken straight in, crank up the heat to 450° and let it be.

While the chicken is doing its thing, prepare a side dish or enjoy the extra time with your family and friends. Be sure to get a crusty baguette ready – the roasted garlic cloves are incredibly tender and perfect for smearing like butter.


  1. Don’t preheat oven.
  2. Peel garlic cloves and place on the bottom of a ceramic pot with lid, a Dutch oven or a large deep pan with aluminum foil wrapped tightly over it (in that order of preference). If using a ceramic pot, immerse and soak in water for twenty minutes prior to using.
  3. Add enough olive oil to lightly cover the bottom of the pan (about ¼ cup) and top with fresh herbs, roughly concentrating everything in the center.
  4. Place chicken, breast side up, directly on top of the herbs and garlic. Squeeze lemon all over chicken, sprinkle with a moderate amount of black pepper and salt generously. Very generously. It’s hard to over-salt this chicken. If you have time, you can also sprinkle salt, pepper and extra herb sprigs into the cavity.  Note: No need to wash the chicken before placing it in the pan. Cooking it thoroughly will kill any harmful bacteria and will avoid having it splash around the sink area.
  5. Cover and place in cold oven. Turn heat up to 450°F (230°C) and cook for one hour. For the last 15 minutes, remove cover so that the chicken skin browns.* To see if it’s is cooked through, cut along the leg joint and check the color around the bone. If the leg falls away easily and the meat around the bone is no longer pink or opaque, it’s ready!
  6.  Portion and serve with oil and garlic from pan drizzled over top. Eat with toasted baguette and warm blackberry jam, along with roasted vegetables, or with a simple salad.

* If preparing the chicken at high altitude, cook for one hour and 20 minutes, removing lid for last 20 minutes.



  • 1 whole free range chicken
  • 40 cloves peeled garlic (or about 3 heads; big cloves count for two)
  • 4 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 4 large sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 springs fresh sage 
  • 1 whole lemon


  • Sea salt
  • Ground pepper
  • Extra virgin olive oil


Patterns in today's post: Carmen, Amapola and Linea.


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