This classic French dish uses 40 cloves of garlic–yes, 40–which roast down to a luscious, mild, buttery flavored mash. Be sure to serve this with lots of crusty French bread. Spread the garlic cloves on the bread like butter for the quintessential roasted garlic experience.
1-4 lb whole chicken
2 tsp kosher salt, divided
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper, divided
4 heads garlic (or 40 cloves), peeled
1 small yellow onion, quartered
1 stalk celery, cut into 3-inch pieces
1 carrot, cut into 3-inch pieces
½ cup white wine (any variety)
OR ¼ cup chicken stock + ¼ cup apple juice
4 Tbsp butter, softened
1 tsp dried tarragon
6 sprigs fresh thyme
1. Preheat oven to 425*F/218*C.
2. Remove the neck and giblets from the whole chicken; rinse carefully with cold water. Pat dry with paper towels. Place in a roasting pan or baking dish; season the inside of the chicken with 1 tsp of salt and ½ tsp of freshly ground black pepper. Stuff the chicken with half of the onion, celery, and carrot, plus 6 garlic cloves and 3 thyme sprigs. Tie up legs with cooking twine.
3. Strip 3 sprigs of thyme, reserving leaves. In a small bowl, mix butter, 1 tsp salt, ½ tsp black pepper, tarragon, and thyme leaves until blended. Gently work your fingers under the skin of the chicken breasts. Rub half of the butter mixture under skin; rub half over the top of the skin.
4. Place the remaining vegetables into pan, underneath and around chicken. Scatter the remaining garlic around the chicken. Pour the wine or wine substitute into the pan.
5. Roast the chicken for 30 minutes or until the breast is firm and just beginning to brown in spots. Turn the chicken breast-down using tongs. Baste with juices and roast for 20 more minutes, until the skin is lightly browned.
6. Turn the chicken breast-side-up; baste. Add ½ cup of water if the pan looks dry. Roast for about 20 more minutes, or until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the inner thigh registers 160*F-165*F and juices are running clear.
7. Transfer the bird to a cutting board and tent with foil. Carve the chicken; serve with the roasted garlic and crusty French bread.
Tips from the Chef:
Skim fat off of the pan juices and ladle over the chicken at service. Serve with crusty French bread and side salad, or white rice and steamed green beans.