Friday, November 11, 2011

Chicken with Forty Cloves of Garlic and Moroccan Couscous

Last week, I saw the episode of Barefoot Contessa where Ina Garten makes this meal and it looked really good.  I wish I had seen another blog post with this recipe reviewed.  I didn't read the ingredients correctly.  I thought it said that you should use 3-1/2 pounds of chicken instead of two whole chickens that weight 3-1/2 pounds each!  I wound up with a lot less chicken but it is still really good.  The other thing that I found out about the recipe while making it, is that you better make sure you pay close attention to the sauce when you are boiling it because it mostly likely will burn.  I had to open all my windows and put on the fan over my stove for about half an hour in order to get rid of the burnt smell in my house.  I thought I would have an intense smell of garlic in the house, not the smell of burnt garlic. The couscous is a cinch if you use store-bought low sodium chicken broth.  

Cook Time:  1 hr. 5 mins.
Servings: 6

3 whole heads garlic, about 40 cloves
2 whole (3-1/2 pound) chickens, cut into eighths
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon good olive oil
3 tablespoons Cognac, divided
1-1/2 cups dry white wine
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons heavy cream

Separate the cloves of garlic and drop them into a pot of boiling water for 60 seconds.  Drain the garlic and peel.   Set aside.

Dry the chicken with paper towels. Season liberally with salt and pepper on both sides.  Heat the butter and oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat.  In batches, sauté the chicken in the fat, skin side down first, until nicely browned, about 3 to 5 minutes on each side.   Turn with tongs or a spatula; you don’t want to pierce the skin with a fork.  If the fat is burning, turn the heat down to medium.  When a batch is done, transfer it to a plate and continue to sauté all the chicken in batches.  Remove the last chicken to the plate and add all the garlic to the pot. Lower the heat and sauté for 5 to 10 minutes, turning often, until evenly browned.  Add 2 tablespoons of the Cognac and the wine, return to a boil, and scrape the brown bits from the bottom of the pan.  Return the chicken to the pot with the juices and sprinkle with the thyme leaves.  Cover and simmer over the lowest heat for about 30 minutes, until all the chicken is done.

Remove the chicken to a platter and cover with aluminum foil to keep warm.  In a small bowl, whisk together ½ cup of the sauce and the flour and then whisk it back into the sauce in the pot.  Raise the heat, add the remaining teaspoon of Cognac and the cream, and boil for 2-3 minutes.  {I recommend watching the sauce very carefully because at this point it may burn.}  Add salt and pepper, to taste; it should be very flavorful because chicken tends to be bland.  Pour the sauce and the garlic over the chicken and serve hot. 

From Ina Garten’s 2004 cookbook, Barefoot in Paris.

Moroccan Couscous
Cook Time:  5 mins.
Serves: 6 to 8 servings

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter
¾ cup chopped shallots
3 cups chicken stock, homemade or canned
½ teaspoon Kosher salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
1-1/2 cups couscous
½ cup pignoli nuts, toasted
1/3 cup currants (or golden raisins)

Melt the butter in a large sauté pan, add the shallots and cook for 3 minutes over medium heat.  Add the chicken stock, salt and pepper, raise the heat to high and bring the stock to a boil.  Off the heat, add the couscous.  Cover the pan and let it sit for 10 minutes.

Add the pignoli nuts and currents (or raisins) to the couscous, stir and serve.

From Ina Garten’s 2004 cookbook, Barefoot in Paris.


The Creative Cook