Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic

9:00 pm on 17 May 2004

Poulet aux 40 gousses d` ail

(Serves 4)


  • 100mls olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • ½ tsp sugar
  • 40 large cloves of garlic, (about 4 large heads separated but unpeeled)
  • 1 chicken weighing between 1.2kg to 1.4kg
  • 12 shallots, peeled
  • 8 small potatoes, blanched and cut into chunks
  • Juice and zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 small sprigs of rosemary
  • 3 tbs coarsely chopped flat leaf parsley
  • 2 tbs coarsely chopped chervil
  • 2 tsp coarsely chopped basil
  • ½ bay leaf
  • 120gms flour approx. (for sealing the casserole)


Place the garlic and sugar into a bowl. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil, season and toss to coat. Heat the remaining oil in the casserole.

Season the chicken generously inside and out with salt and freshly ground pepper.

Turn chicken in the hot oil until a light golden.

Add the garlic cloves, shallot and potato, sprinkle over the herbs and seal the casserole.

Add enough water to the flour to make a soft dough, roll the dough between the palms of your hands or on the table to form a sausage shape long enough to go around the edge of the casserole.

Lightly brush the dough with water, put the lid of the casserole into place, press down and fold any excess dough up over the edge of the lid, pressing on it as you do so. Bake at 180c for 1.5 to 2 hours.

Take the casserole to the table and break the seal in front of your guests.

Cut the chicken into pieces, sprinkle each piece with a little sea salt and pepper. Spoon the herbs and garlic over the chicken and serve.

Your guests should split the garlic cloves and eat the creamy inside as a vegetable.

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