almost ina: braised chicken thighs with thyme and twenty cloves of garlic

by Chen

Garlic, garlic, and garlic. This is absolutely not for a Valentine’s Day dinner.

Since the original recipe, which was for a whole chicken, called for 40 cloves of garlic, what immediately caught my mind was “how does it taste?”

I have been watching Ina Garten’s show on food network for years, and unlike my favorite host Alton Brown, who is down-to-the-earth, Ina’s recipes are mostly on the fancy side and always french-inspired. Due to my fear to ruin an elegant dish, I hardly tried her recipes. I was so excited about this one–it was simple but highly recommended by many well-known foodies.

In addition to halving the recipe, I did a few more adjustments according to what I had on hand (and some health concern). For example, instead of cognac and dry white wine, I used bourbon and chicken broth and left the heavy cream out. However, the stars–thyme and garlic–still made it smell lovely and brought out without overpowering the flavor of those super moist chicken thighs.

Peeling two heads of garlic was not easy, but I received the reward. Thanks, Ina!

braised chicken thighs with thyme and twenty cloves of garlic
Based on Ina Garten’s Chicken with Forty Cloves of Garlic

Makes 4 servings, or 2 for meat-lovers

4 chicken thighs, bone-in and skin-on

20 cloves of garlic, peeled
2 sprigs of thyme
1 tbsp olive oil
4 tsp bourbon, divided
1 cup chicken broth
1 tbsp all-purpose flour
salt and pepper

Heat the oil in a dutch oven or large pot over medium-high heat. Add the thighs to the pot and brown both sides. Season with salt and pepper. When the chicken turns golden, remove the thighs from the pot.

Pour out the oil in the pot but do NOT wipe the pot. Return the pot to medium heat and add the garlic. Saute until golden but not burned. Add 3 tsp bourbon, chicken broth and thyme and bring to a boil. Return the chicken to the pot and turn the heat to low. Cover and let simmer for 20 minutes or until the thighs are tender and cooked through. Uncover and adjust the salt and pepper to taste.

Remove the chicken from the broth and keep warm. Spoon out 1/4 cup broth and whisk it together with the flour until smooth. Pour the flour mixture and remaining 1 tsp bourbon to the pot. Raise the heat to medium-high and cook until the sauce mixture reduced to half. Serve the chicken with the sauce and garlic cloves (yes, they are edible).