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Chicken and artichokes with 36 cloves of garlic
Yield: 6 ot 8 servings
This recipe completes the circle: it’s a riff on my recipe for Brisket with 36 Cloves of Garlic, which in turn is a play on the French Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic. All the garlic turns mellow and sweet with the slow-cooking, and is then pureed to lend body to the pan sauce. A gremolata of more garlic and fresh herbs adds zip to the finished dish.
about 36 fat unpeeled garlic cloves (1 2/3 to 2 cups) or an equivalent amount of smaller cloves, plus 1 ½ teaspoons minced garlic
3 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
About 5 pounds skinless, bone-in chicken thighs and/or legs, all visible fat and gristle removed (getting rid of all this fat now means you won’t have to skim it off later from the gravy)
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 1/2 cups chicken broth
2 sprigs fresh rosemary, plus 1 teaspoon chopped leaves
2 sprigs fresh thyme
two 9- or 10-ounce packages of frozen artichokes, thawed and patted dry with paper towels (or an equal amount of trimmed fresh artichoke hearts)
1- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, according to taste
1/2 cup chopped fresh mint
additional herb sprigs for garnish (optional)
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.
Drop the garlic cloves into a small saucepan of boiling water for 30 seconds. Drain immediately. Peel as soon as the garlic is cool enough to handle. Set aside on paper towels to dry.
Heat a large, wide Dutch oven or similar heavy ovenproof lidded casserole, or a deep, wide sauté pan over medium-high heat. Swirl in the olive oil and heat until shimmering. Salt and pepper the chicken on both sides, then add to the pan (in batches and with additional oil, if necessary), and sauté until golden-brown on both sides. Transfer the chicken to a platter.
Pour off all but about 1 tablespoon of fat remaining in the pan and add the garlic cloves. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the garlic edges are lightly tinged with gold. Add the vinegar and deglaze the pan over medium-high heat, scraping up all the browned bits from the bottom with a wooden spoon. Add the broth and rosemary and thyme sprigs, and reduce the heat to low. Return the chicken pieces to the pan, turn them around in the pan liquid, and spoon the garlic cloves over them. Fit a piece of foil over the chicken, then cover the pan tightly with the lid.
Braise the chicken in the oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until tender and cooked through, turning the pieces two or three times in the pan sauce as they braise. About 15-20 minutes before the chicken is done, add the artichokes to the pan, turning them to coat with the pan sauce.
Remove the chicken and artichokes to a platter and tent with foil to keep warm. (At this point, if you are preparing ahead, you can cool the chicken and artichokes in the pan liquid and refrigerate, covered, for a few hours or overnight. Bring everything back to room temperature before proceeding.)
Strain the pan sauce, reserving the garlic and discarding the thyme and rosemary sprigs. Puree the cooked garlic with as much of the strained pan sauce as needed in a food processor or a blender. Transfer the pureed garlic mixture and any remaining pan sauce to the pan. Boil the pan sauce over high heat, uncovered, until reduced to the consistency you desire. Add the lemon juice, minced garlic, and chopped rosemary, and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning or lemon juice as needed. Add the mint and combine well. Return the chicken and artichokes to the pan, spooning the sauce over them, and cook briefly until heated through.
Arrange the chicken and artichokes on a serving platter. Spoon the sauce generously over all and garnish with additional herbs, if desired. Pass any remaining sauce separately.