From America's Test Kitchen Season 4: Chicken in a Pot
In most versions of chicken with 40 cloves of garlic, the garlic is soft and spreadable, but its flavor is spiritless. The chicken is tender, but the breast meat takes on a dry, chalky quality, and its flavor is washed out. We wanted to revisit this classic French dish to make it faster and better, so it would boast well-browned, full-flavored chicken, sweet and nutty garlic, and a savory sauce. Using a cut-up chicken rather than a whole bird ensures that the meat cooks quickly and evenly. We roasted the garlic cloves first to caramelize them and develop their flavor, then added them to the braising liquid with the chicken. Cooking it all with a two-part pan-roasting/braising technique kept the chicken moist, and finishing the chicken under the broiler made the chicken skin crispy. Some shallots and herbs added flavor to the sauce, and several roasted garlic cloves, smashed into a paste, thickened and flavored the sauce. A few tablespoons of butter, swirled in before serving, added richness.
Serves 3 to 4
Try not to purchase heads of garlic that contain enormous cloves; if unavoidable, increase the foil-covered baking time to 40 to 45 minutes so that the largest cloves soften fully. A large Dutch oven can be used in place of a skillet, if you prefer. Broiling the chicken for a few minutes at the end of cooking crisps the skin, but this step is optional. Serve the dish with slices of crusty baguette for dipping into the sauce and onto which the roasted garlic cloves can be spread.