Recipe: Chicken With Forty Cloves of Garlic

garlick chicken recipeI know what you’re thinking: “forty cloves of garlic???” I thought the same when I first came across this recipe but trust me it really works, and the garlic flavour is in no way overpowering.

I found this recipe while looking through a Mediterranean cooking book and thought it looked like a really good meal to make on a rainy day. The flavours are great, the chicken is really tender and moist, and the sauce is very fragrant and tasty. 

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 6 chicken breasts, on the bone with skin on
  • 2 small onions
  • 40 garlic cloves
  • 1 lemon
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil
  • 6 sprigs thyme
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 100 ml water
  • 50 ml white wine
  • salt & pepper to taste


I use a heavy cast iron casserole pot for this, and I would certainly recommend you do the same. The flavour you get from using a heavy pan like this is second to none, and the heavy lid ensures the meat steams away and releases a good amount of liquid, without drying out. You can buy them in most cooking stores and supermarkets these days, and they’re not as expensive as they once were, so go out and make the investment, trust me it’s worth it!

Start by cutting the onions into wedges and skin the garlic cloves. This takes ages and is a bit tedious, but it’ll be worth it for the flavour. Slice the lemon into thick slices. Generously season the chicken with salt & pepper.

Heat the olive oil in the casserole dish over a high heat. Add the chicken and onion and cook for about 15 minutes, turning occasionally until the chicken is browned on all sides.

Add the thyme, 2 bay leaves, lemon slices and garlic cloves. Baste with the oil and meat juices and pour in the wine. Leave to simmer for about 5 minutes, then turn the heat down to a low and add the water.

Cover with a tight fitting lid and cook on a very low heat for about 1 hour. After an hour, remove the lemon slices and leave to simmer for another half hour.

There was a lot of sauce from this dish as you can imagine. So I used some of the liquid to cook my basmati rice in. It resulted in a wonderfully fragrant and garlicky rice to go with the chicken- truly delicious!


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