… known in our household as poulet aux cinquante gousses d’ail. British people used to find the idea terribly shocking, but I hope they don’t any more. As everyone should know by now, garlic that has been cooked for an hour and a half is mild and creamy. The fresher the garlic the better — it’s especially good with new season garlic. Squeeze it out of the skins and spread on pieces of toast if you want.
2 bay leaves
thyme, parsley, rosemary
about 50 cloves garlic, separated but with skins left on (remove loose, crackly bits of skin though).
salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 170C. Make a bouquet of the herbs and bay leaves and put inside the bird. Brown the chicken all over in olive oil in a frying pan. Put a couple more tablespoons of oil in a large casserole with a lid big enough to take the chicken, scatter in the garlic, and put the chicken on top, breast up, seasoning with salt and pepper. Use 2 layers of foil under the lid to get the tightest possible fit, then put in the oven for about an hour and a half.
Ideally open at the table so that the aromatic steam whooshes out, but you might want to check the chicken is cooked first. Some more refined cooks extract the garlic cloves, crush and sieve them and present them as a puree, with toast, but frankly I don’t see why each person can’t just squeeze out their own cloves.