chicken legs with forty cloves of garlic

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…more or less. Actually, I used 3 bulbs of garlic, the big kind called elephant ears. I adapted the recipe from one I found on Food 52 which itself was adapted from a James Beard recipe.  I cooked this chicken the way the Thais cook with cilantro, with the root. In the end, the chicken was seasoned just right, aromatic with garlic, celery, and the cilantro. We ate the drumsticks with thick slices of fresh whole wheat Farmer’s Bread that had the cooked garlic rubbed into it like a paste. You would think that the  garlic would have a pronounced flavor but it was mild compared with raw garlic.  Now you can have your garlic and enjoy it too.

Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic
8 whole chicken legs
1-2 teaspoons kosher salt (if using bouillon cube, reduce salt)
40 cloves garlic (3 bulbs), peeled
1 cup Chinese celery, stripped of leaves, chopped into 2 inch lengths
2 tablespoons olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
Freshly ground nutmeg
4 sprigs cilantro with the roots, washed well
1/4 cup dry white wine
1/3 cup chicken stock made from 1/3 of a bouillon cube
Crusty bread or toast for serving

  1. Heat the oven to 375ºF. Season the chicken legs all over with the salt. To cut calories, I stripped the skin off 4 of the legs. Arrange the chicken legs in a single layer in an ovenproof baking dish with a tight-fitting lid.
  2. Scatter the garlic and celery into the gaps between the chicken pieces, and then drizzle everything with the olive oil. Grind some black pepper and a bit of nutmeg over the chicken and vegetables and arrange the parsley on top. I used cilantro with the roots still attached.
  3. Pour in the wine and the chicken stock. Cover the dish tightly with aluminum foil and put on the lid. Bake the chicken for 45 minutes to 1 hour, without removing the lid until the 45-minute mark. When the chicken is really tender, and the garlic is soft enough to spread, remove the dish from the oven.
  4. Serve the chicken in shallow bowls with plenty of the fragrant sauce; spread the softened garlic on the bread and then dunk it into the sauce as you eat your chicken~Merrill Stubbs, Food 52.
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