Dindonneau à l’Ail en Chemise

Turkey with Whole Cloves of Garlic

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves



Appears in

French Country Kitchen

French Country Kitchen

By Geraldene Holt

Published 1987

  • About

When garlic, still in its papery covering, is roasted beside poultry or game the flavours enhance each other. In this recipe I find that the turkey, which can be rather bland these days, gains a more gamy taste from the garlic, which itself roasts to a sweet purée. If you can, cook the dish in the autumn with large cloves of the new season’s garlic. And if you are a garlic devotee, provide one whole head of garlic for each person, and in that case don’t separate the cloves – just detach a layer of the outside papery leaves.


  • 4 legs of turkey, small or medium
  • 30 g(1 oz) butter
  • salt, milled pepper
  • 8 slices of lard fumé or smoked streaky bacon
  • 16–20 cloves of garlic
  • 1 wineglass French rosé wine
  • ½ wineglass light stock or water


Skin the meat and, if not already removed, cut and detach the scaly part of each leg at the first joint. Look for the tendon on each leg at this joint and detach. Sometimes it is necessary to grip it with pliers to be able to pull it free. In France where turkey is growing more popular the tendons have usually been removed.

Lightly brown the turkey legs in the butter. Season each with salt and pepper and wrap two slices of the bacon around each. Arrange the meat in a buttered roasting tin and add the cloves of garlic, tucking them in close to the turkey.

Roast in a moderate oven (Mark 5, 190°C, 375°F) for 45–60 minutes, basting the meat and the garlic from time to time with the cooking juices. The meat is cooked when only clear juices run from the thickest part of the leg when a knife is inserted.

Transfer the meat and the garlic to a hot serving dish and pour off all the surplus fat (reserve it for roasting potatoes) from the roasting tin. Add the wine and a little stock or water and boil fast, stirring in the pan juices until the sauce is reduced to half. Taste to check the seasoning and serve with the turkey and the garlic.