Forty-Cloves-of-Garlic Chicken

Only a mere hint of mild, creamy garlic is evident in this classic French dish. I like to cook it as soon as we get the first of the new season’s garlic from Lautrec in the Languedoc, usually in July.


  • about 5 heads new season’s garlic, cloves separated and peeled
  • 2 kg (4 lb) free-range or organic chicken
  • ½ lemon
  • salt
  • pepper
  • couple of sprigs tarragon, sage or rosemary
  • 2 tablespoons cognac
  • 75 mls ( pint) good dry white wine


Remove excess fat from the chicken cavity and neck. Rub all over with lemon juice, and put the rest of the lemon inside the chicken. Season lightly, inside and out, and put the herbs inside the bird.

Brown the bird all over in a non-stick frying pan. Pour on the cognac, and light it. Transfer the bird and juices to an ovenproof casserole. Add the garlic and wine. Cover, and cook in a preheated oven at 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4 for about 1 ½ hours. Serve hot, warm, or cold.