Saturday, September 25, 2010

Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic and Apple Onion Butternut Squash Gratin

So, I went to see The Town yesterday with some friends, and before the movie I invited them over for dinner. I had a whole roasting chicken in the freezer from Trader Joe's, so I decided to make Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic from Ina Garten's recipe. For sides we had Butternut Squash, Apple, and Onion Gratain and Mixed Green Salad.

So, it didn't go exactly like that. I DID have to take the chicken apart, which I've never done before. It wasn't to bad, really. I mean, I'm sure I could have done it and gotten a little more meat off the chicken and made it look more professional, but it really was pulling the limbs and cutting where they meet the bird, and then cutting the breast off the breastbone.

The fact that with this recipe it simmers in sauce for half an hour after searing the surface makes the meat really tender, and the sauce was really tasty. I used pre-peeled garlic, but I still blanched them since comments on the website indicate that it was helpful not only in the peeling process, but started getting the garlic soft.

3 whole heads garlic, about 40 cloves
2 (3 1/2-pound) chickens, cut into eighths
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 tablespoons 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, saute 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 saute all the chicken in batches. Remove the last chicken to the plate and add all of the garlic to the pot. Lower the heat and saute 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 1/2 cup of the sauce and the flour and then whisk it back into the sauce in the pot. Raise the heat, add the remaining tablespoon of Cognac and the cream, and boil for 3 minutes. 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.

The Butternut Squash, Apple, and Onion Gratain is something I have made in the past. I love making it with tart apples, and using thyme in the seasoning.


Cooking spray
1/2 cup flour divided
2 teaspoon salt divided
2 pinch nutmeg divided
1 tsp dried thyme divided
1 butternut squash - peeled, seeded and sliced
4 apples - peeled, cored and sliced
1 sweet onion, thinly sliced
1 cup veggie stock
1 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350. Spray 9- x 11-inch glass baking pan with cooking spray.
Place half of the flour, salt, nutmeg and thyme into a large plastic bag. Add half the squash, apples, and onions; shake until lightly dusted.
In glass dish, layer the first 1/2 of squash, apples, and sweet onion. Pour 1/2 cup stock over the top, then sprinkle 1/2 of cheese. Repeat step 2 with remaining veggies and add to glass dish. Pour remaining stock over the top, and cover with foil.
Bake in preheated oven for 40 minutes.
Take out and sprinkle with remaining cheese. Return, uncovered, to oven; bake for another 5 minutes. Let sit for 5 minutes before serving.

By the way, The Town was a nice, tight little heist movie that was obviously made by someone from the Boston area who knows and loves the town. Little details like the fact that you could see the Logan Airport tower through the window of Jon Hamm's characters office were really nice, and the car chase was EXCELLENT, especially the ending. Definitely worth seeing on the BIG screen

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