Ugh, it happened. I got it. The dreaded head cold. You know the one–where the only way you find relief is by squinting your eyes, tilting your head back, and relaxing your jaw so your mouth is hanging half open. You do that for awhile and then realize how ridiculous you look. So you try to look normal. But the pressure just builds up and you’re so out of sorts that you don’t realize you’re doing it again until you notice people staring at you.
Or telling you how tired you look. Really? Is that ever ok to say to someone? What are you supposed to say to that? Hey, thanks! Despite my herculean effort to drag my sorry ass out of bed and attempt to put myself together with some sense of normalcy you are so observant that you noticed underneath all of this style and grace over here I am, indeed, in need of a nap. Are you offering to take my kids/workload/chores off my hands so I can have a little snooze? Is that why you mentioned it? No? Then shut your face, thanks.
So, coping. Dan offered to delay his studying so I could relax at home, but I still have some energy I just feel like crap. And we just have to get out of the house. So instead:
A body pump class at the gym turned into sitting in the sauna while the kids still went to the kids club.
At naptime I was going to do a much-needed grocery run. Nope. I need naptime for couchtime. Hey kids, let’s do something extra special today and eat lunch at the grocery store! And if you’re extra good maybe you can pick out your cereal for the week!
For dinner, I wanted something really warming and nourishing and enough flavor to bust through the fog my head is in. Something that isn’t hard to make and lets me be mindless in the kitchen. So, roasted chicken and garlic. I lost count of peeling garlic. Turns out it was 37 cloves. Brilliant.
Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic is the perfect comfort food when it's cold outside or you're feeling under the weather. The garlic melts into a sweet silky sauce to coat the braised chicken. Serve over toasted baguette to sop up the delicious sauce.
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1 4-lb chicken, cut into 8 pieces
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 shallot (approx 1/4 cup), finely diced
- 40-ish cloves of garlic, whole and peeled (I just smash them slightly with the side of a knife and the skins peel right off)
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1/4 cup brandy or cognac
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 1/2 cup chicken stock
- 1 Tablespoon flour
- Chopped parsley or celery leaves (optional, for serving)
- Toasted baguette slices (optional, for serving)
- In a large, heavy bottom Dutch oven (this would be the time to bring out your Le Creuset), heat the olive oil over medium hight heat until shimmering.
- Meanwhile, season the chicken liberally with salt and pepper.
- Put half of the chicken skin side down in the pot and cook without moving until skin is good and brown--7-10 minutes. Turn over and cook for another 5 minutes. Remove chicken to a plate and cover loosely with foil. Repeat with remaining chicken.
- After all of the chicken is cooked and is resting on a plate, add the diced shallots, cooking until the shallots are tender and you've lifted some of the brown bits from the bottom of the pan--about 2 minutes. Add the garlic cloves and thyme and cook until very fragrant--3 minutes.
- Pour in the brandy, stirring vigorously until all of the brown bits are lifted from the pan and the brandy has just about cooked all the way off. Then add the white wine and bring to a simmer.
- Add the chicken back into the pan in a single layer, turn the heat down to low, cover and cook for 30 minutes. Check on the chicken once or twice to ensure the liquid is simmering gently. If there is no liquid in the pan add the stock or water and bring it back up to a simmer.
- When the chicken is cooked through, remove it to a plate and cover gently. Remove thyme springs. Scoop out about 1/2 cup of the sauce. Put the flour in a separate small bowl. Add a Tablespoon or two of the sauce to the flour and whisk. When smooth, add another tablespoon of sauce again whisking until smooth. Continue to do this until all of the sauce you've pulled from the pan is incorporated with the flour and there are no lumps. Then pour the flour mixture back in the pan and stir to incorporate.
- Bring back up to a simmer. The sauce should be the consistency of a very loose gravy. It should just coat the back of a spoon. If it's too thick add more stock or water. At this point you can decide if you want to mash up some of the garlic into the sauce or leave the cloves whole. I usually mash mine up to maximize the garlic flavor but it would be a more dramatic presentation if left whole, so I'll leave that up to you.
- Add the chicken back to the pan and just heat through.
- Serve over toasted baguette pieces to sop up the sauce. Garnish with chopped parsley or celery leaves.
I served this with braised kale and pureed turnips for a soul-warming meal that the entire family loved.
Pairing: While I didn’t have a good wine with dinner this time, the perfect pairing would be Chardonnay from the Burgundy region of France.