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Recipe credit: The Essential James Beard Cookbook (St. Martin’s Press, 2012). Reprinted with permission from St. Martin’s Press. Recipe presented and prepared by Dani Meyer of

Chicken with Forty Cloves of Garlic

yields 4 Servings - level Moderate
prep time 2 Hours


  • 8 chicken leg quarters
  • 2/3 cup of California Olive Ranch extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 celery ribs, thinly sliced
  • 6 sprigs fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh tarragon or 11/2 teaspoon dried tarragon
  • 1/2 cup dry vermouth
  • 21/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
  • 40 garlic cloves, crushed under a knife and peeled


  1. Wash the chicken legs and thighs and thoroughly dry with paper towels. Put the oil in a shallow dish or a plate and turn the chicken in the oil to coat on all sides. Reserve the unused oil.
  2. Lay the sliced celery in the bottom of a heavy casserole or Dutch oven (not uncoated cast iron) with a tightfitting lid.
  3. Add the parsley and tarragon, then lay the chicken pieces on top. Pour the vermouth over the chicken, and add 1 teaspoon salt, the pepper, and the nutmeg.
  4. Pour the reserved oil into the casserole, then toss in all the garlic and sprinkle with the remaining salt. Put a piece of aluminum foil over the casserole and then cover to make a tight seal; or make a thick, heavy flour and water paste to seal the lid, and cover the lid and paste with another layer of foil.
  5. Bake in a preheated 375°F oven for 11/2 hours without removing the lid. To serve remove the foil (or break and remove the flour paste seal) and serve hot, from the pot.