|James Beard gets the credit for introducing American cooks to the traditional French dish incorporating a large quantity of garlic cloves with roasted chicken. All these many years later, numerous adaptations abound. In my updated version, I've reduced the amount of oil by quite a bit, and upped the ante on garlic by 10 cloves - since we're no longer gasping at the concept of 40 cloves. Also, instead of dry vermouth, which was more of a staple when martinis were in fashion, my recipe calls for a blend of dry sherry and white wine.
4 heads (about 50 cloves) of garlic, unpeeled
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly oil a 6-quart casserole.
Separate the heads of garlic into cloves (see note below). Drop the cloves into a pot of boiling water and simmer for 1 minute. Remove the cloves, rinse under cold water until they're cool enough to handle, drain again, and peel.
Place the chicken pieces in a dish and drizzle with the oil, turning each piece to coat thoroughly. Place the celery, Walla Walla Sweets, tarragon, and garlic cloves in the bottom of the casserole. Add the oil-coated chicken, then drizzle with the sherry and white wine. Sprinkle with a bit of salt and pepper, then cover the casserole tightly with a sheet of aluminum foil, sealing it well so the steam won't escape. Bake for 1-1/2 hours. When ready to serve, take off the foil, being very careful not to burn yourself from the steam, and remove the casserole from the oven. Serve the chicken with the roasted garlic cloves.
Yields 8 servings.
To separate the heads of garlic into cloves: place each head, root side down, on a firm cutting surface. Place a flat heavy object (such as a cast-iron skillet) on top of the head and press down firmly (the head will try to scoot out from beneath your press, so some counter jiggling and pressing will be necessary). The cloves miraculously disengage from the root and center stem into a papery pile..
© 2001. Jan Roberts-Dominguez
©Oso Sweet Onions