Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic

It’s so fabulous when a recipe on a blog grabs your attention.  It makes you immediately rush out to purchase the necessary ingredients, come home to cook up a storm and all going to plan, the recipe is a huge success with all members of the family including the fussy eaters.

Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic

There is a blog I have been following since my early days of Hotly Spiced called Fig Jam and Lime Cordial by CeliaCelia’s blog is well written, beautifully photographed and always has many and varied recipes.


Last week Celia shared a recipe, Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic she found on Nigella’s website.

Today I decided I would cook this for the family’s mid-week meal.  The recipe requires only a few light-on-the-wallet ingredients and is simple to prepare.  You must try this recipe.  It’s so simple, easy, inexpensive, tasty and delicious.  You’ll love it.  I served it with rosemary potatoes, a fresh salad and of course, a red wine.  My only advice would be that when you begin the cooking process, you need to be sober in order to accurately count the 40 cloves of garlic.

Nigella uses thigh cutlets in her recipe and that would have been my preferred choice however, as none were available, like Celia, I used chicken drumsticks and they were equally as delicious.

Here’s the link to the recipe and a video that shows Nigella in action with this recipe. 

Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic
Recipe type: Poultry
Cuisine: French
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
A wonderful chicken dish with a surprising number of garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoons regular olive oil
  • 8 chicken thighs (with skin on and bone in), preferably organic
  • 1 bunch or 6 scallions
  • 8 to 10 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 40 cloves garlic (approximately 3 to 4 heads), unpeeled
  • 2 tablespoons dry white vermouth or white wine
  • 1½ teaspoons kosher salt or ¾ teaspoons table salt
  • Good grinding pepper
  1. Preheat the oven to 180C (350F).
  2. Heat the oil on the stovetop in a wide, shallow ovenproof and flameproof Dutch oven (that will ultimately fit all the chicken in one layer, and that has a lid), and sear the chicken over a high heat, skin-side down. This may take 2 batches, so transfer the browned pieces to a bowl as you go.
  3. Once the chicken pieces are seared, transfer them all to the bowl. Finely slice the scallions, put them into the Dutch oven and quickly stir-fry them with the leaves torn from a few sprigs of thyme.
  4. Put 20 of the unpeeled cloves of garlic (papery excess removed) into the pan, top with the chicken pieces skin-side up, then cover with the remaining 20 cloves of garlic. Add the vermouth (or white wine) to any oily, chickeny juices left in the bowl. Swish it around and pour this into the pan too. Sprinkle with the salt, grind over the pepper, and add a few more sprigs of thyme. Put on the lid and cook in the oven for 1½ hours.
  5. Make Ahead Note: Chicken can be browned and casserole assembled 1 day ahead. Cover tightly and store in the refrigerator. Season with salt and pepper and warm the pan gently on the stovetop for 5 minutes before baking as directed in recipe.


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  1. This looks amazing – and VERY Nigella – thanks for sharing!

  2. Anything with 40 cloves of garlic sounds pretty rockstar to me. You can never have too much garlic, in my opinion. (Especially if you’re not going to be kissing anyone anyway.)

  3. Gian John Banchero says:

    Whenever I make this nice garlicky recipe I always throw in ten more cloves of garlic for good measure… !!!

  4. looks great and I am exactly the same way get excited about seeing a recipe on a blog get all the ingredients and cook it he he

  5. We’re a garlic loving family, so I’m sure we’d love this meal too.

  6. Wowsa, 40 cloves of garlic? We do love garlic, but nobody better come near us after a meal like this! I’m off to check out the recipe.

  7. If it’s got garlic, I’m all for it! This is a great recipe and you’re right, very easy to follow. Thanks for sharing the recipe and for pointing me in the direction of Celia’s blog.

  8. I remember seeing Nigella make this recipe and thinking how good it looked, then promptly forgot about it. It looks delicious here with the drumsticks, too, and inspires me to give it a try, plus I enjoyed going to the Fig Jam and LIme Cordial website and Nigella’s too. Thanks!

  9. I love garlic and chicken yum, and the rosemary is growing wild in the back yard so I now know what is for dinner tonight. Thanks, the kids and husband don’t give me much inspritaion but this dish has!

  10. Garlic is just about my favourite ingredient in the world, and Celia is one of my favourite people too!

  11. What’s not to love, chicken and garlic a marriage made in the oven! This looks absolutely delicious and it actually doesn’t sound too daunting to make either.

  12. I made this chicken many years ago thinking OMG no one will eat this with so much garlic!! But it was absolutely awesome! It shocks people to hear that many garlic cloves are used the the flavor is terrific. I’m so glad you posted this, I really need to make it again very soon!!

  13. I’ve seen NIgella make this recipe and I thought I would like to someday too. Although, as your warned, my wine would be constantly filled and I’m afraid I might put in 400 cloves know how you get distracted. 38, 39, what? oh where was I? Oh yes, 14, 15, 16….!
    I peaked at your shocker, that sure was a shocking story Charlie Louie, you should really DUMP that so called ‘friend’. I bet you could think of a million nasty things to say to her, but you’re too nice a person to say them. Hope she reads your blogs.

  14. I love this dish and it is nice to see another interpretation of it. Looks great! Like you, I love finding recipes on fellow bloggers sites that inspire me. There is a lot of tallent out there!

  15. the chicken looks so delicious and juicy!

  16. I’ve heard of the 40 cloves of garlic chicken but an Ina Garten version instead. Great post!

  17. This is one of our favourite meals to make, we normally buy a big, crusty loaf of bread for all the oil and roasted garlic too. Mmmmmmm…

  18. Marvellous stuff, now I know what to make for supper 🙂

  19. I love this recipe too and the flavour of the garlic and chicken meld so well together! 😀

  20. I love Ceila & her blog, but she posts so much! Between her & Not Quite Nigella I have trouble keeping up.

    And I have a pasta recipe with 30 cloves, so this’ll be a challenge.

  21. Heh, my friend made something like this a while back and I was shocked by the amount of garlic. I should make this for my father the next time my parents are visiting me – he rages about people who eat too much garlic, saying it’s anti-social. I think he’d pass out if he knew how much was going into the chicken dish, haha 😀

  22. Charlie, thanks for trying this, and the shout-out! Glad you loved it as much as we did! 🙂

  23. Is is wrong that I was uberly excited by the idea of 40 cloves of garlic?? 🙂 Thanks for sharing the link to Celia’s site and the recipe.

  24. This looks divine *Grabs a tissue to wipe up my drool*. The title really got me though as FIG JAM is one of my “SWEAR” Words when you know I kick my toe or drop a chair on my foot in front of the kids. Sheesh, did I actually just admit that? Time to go to bed Sonia! 🙂

  25. I saved this one away when I saw it on Celia’s blog. Looks delicious!

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