Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic

James Beard

Author and Educator

The large quantity of garlic called for in this Provençal recipe may seem excessive, but this dish highlights the softer side of garlic. The slow cooking time mellows the strong garlic taste and aroma and creates a buttery-mild paste perfumed with garlic that is wonderful spread on crusty toast.


  • 8 to 10 chicken legs
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 40 cloves garlic, approximately 3 bulbs, peeled
  • 2 tablespoons dry vermouth
  • 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 4 stalks celery, very thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon dried tarragon
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
  • Toast, for serving


Preheat oven to 375°F.

Pat chicken legs dry with paper towels. Season with salt, black pepper, and nutmeg.

In a large Dutch oven heat olive oil over medium-high heat. In batches, sear the chicken, about 4 to 5 minutes on each side; transfer to a platter. Add garlic and sauté garlic until golden brown, 6 to 8 minutes. Deglaze the pan with vermouth, scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Stir in chicken broth, celery, and tarragon and bring to a boil. Add chicken and any accumulated juices back to the pot and cover with the lid. Bake for 1 1/2 hours.

Garnish with parsley and serve immediately with hot toast or thin slices of pumpernickel and spread the softened garlic on the bread.


Adapted from James Beard's original recipe. Recipe photo and food styling by Judy Kim.


6 to 8 servings