If you’ve spent any of your time on holiday in France then the chances are you’ve been lucky enough to taste this French Classic of a beautifully baked whole chicken cooked in wine and garlic. Before you are scared off by the garlic content it’s worth remembering that when simmered gently garlic mellows dramatically and becomes a sweet, sticky delight. You can see for yourself when you enjoy squeezing each clove onto a piece of wonderfully moist chicken. Perfect for winter Sundays.
1 large free range chicken (ideally corn fed)
40 cloves of garlic
Half a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc
25g olive oil
25g Salted butter
50g unsalted butter
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
2 sprigs of fresh thyme
Salt and pepper
Begin by drying the chicken off with kitchen towel. Pre-heat the oven to 160°c. Using a large non-stick frying pan, melt the olive oil and salted butter. Keeping the heat quite high add the chicken and brown it all over. This will be tricky but use a cloth to protect your hands and hold the chicken by it’s legs turning it into different positions to ensure an even golden colour all around, it should take 10-15 minutes. Remove the chicken from the frying pan and sit the chicken in a large lidded ovenproof casserole dish. Add the cloves of garlic around the chicken, a generous seasoning of salt and pepper and the fresh herbs. Pour the wine around the chicken then scatter in the remaining butter.
Cut 2 large equal size squares of baking parchment, place them on top of one another and scrunch them up. Place them over the casserole and tightly seal over the edges before placing the lid firmly on top. Bake the chicken in the pre-heated oven for 1 hour and 30 minutes. Remove, leave the lid on and allow to rest for 15 minutes.
Serve the whole chicken with the garlic cloves and pan juices and accompany with some buttered greens and crusty bread.