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I first had this dish cooked by a friend when we were all holidaying in the south of France whilst at Uni. I remember the fear and the guffaws about this amount of garlic, especially as it was for a group of 8 or so of us and around 100 cloves were used. Even if you’re not a fan (Father) of garlic, I defy you not to love this dish. It is superb. The garlic ends up melting into a gooey, smokey, sticky-sweet gravy that lovingly coats the chicken. It leaves you smacking your lips and thanking the French.

Part of this dish requires chicken stock, and as a whole chicken is required, you may as well make some stock. We, (I say we, but it’s mostly Jamie that gets chicken hands) always make stock when we buy a whole chicken. It’s just way better than bought stock and it’s nice to use up all the bird. This recipe only requires a bit of stock, but as you’re jointing the bird anyway, may as well use the carcass to produce the stock, and save the rest…

Homemade Chicken Stock

So, once jointed, throw the carcass into a large saucepan, cover with water and add in the following if you have them: 7 or 8 peppercorns, one onion (quartered but the skin can be kept on), one carrot (halved, again skin on), a few sprigs of thyme or parsley, couple of bay leaves and some celery stalks if you have them. Simmer on a low heat for about an hour or two. Then strain through sieve and we keep our stock in the freezer unless using right away. If you’ve got a roasted carcass from a joint then that produces a lovely, darker stock, and produced in the same way.

Roasted Chicken With Forty Cloves Of Garlic – Serves 2 (plus some for leftovers)

1 small whole chicken, jointed

40 cloves of garlic, skin on

Bouquet garni of thyme, bay and rosemary

Large glug of dry white wine

Good glug of chicken stock (see above for method)

Season the chicken pieces, and heat a few good glugs of good olive oil in a heavy casserole dish. Brown the meat all over (do this in stages). Remove the meat from the pan. Add some more oil and cook the garlic cloves for a couple of minutes (you don’t want them to colour). Add the wine and reduce for a minute or two. Add back the chicken, then the stock and then the herbs. Stir around for a bit and put in a pre-heated oven at 175c. Turn the chicken pieces every half hour or so and cook in the oven for about an hour.

As I served this with homemade baguette, I removed from the oven to whack the oven up for the baguette, and re-heated the chicken dish on the stove-top ten minutes before the baguettes were ready.

To Serve:

Homemade baguette

Green salad of baby chard leaves, fennel leaves, lettuce and rocket (all from the garden) and some sweet onion and avocado. Dressed with a lemony vinaigrette.

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