Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic (slow cooker recipe)

If you don't like garlic, stop reading immediately. If you DO love garlic, make this recipe at once.

Chicken with 40 cloves of garlic is a traditional French bistro dish which was popularized in America by Julia Child. I love whole roast chicken, but it takes too long to cook for dinner to be ready on time. Enter the crock pot. It takes much longer, but that means that I can leave the house and let it slow cook for 8 hours or so.

I went shopping post-Thanksgiving so little baggies of fresh "poultry herb blend" were on sale. It included sprigs of sage, thyme, rosemary, and marjoram. You could certainly just use thyme instead, though.

By the way, I did not count out the exact number of garlic cloves. I just used a whole bunch of 'em!

Serves 2-4

  • 1 whole chicken, rinsed and patted dry, giblets and excess fat pockets removed
  • Sprigs of fresh marjoram, sage, rosemary, and thyme; or 1 small bunch of fresh thyme
  • Half of a lemon
  • About 40 cloves of garlic (I used 4 heads)
  • Salt, pepper, paprika, and/or whatever seasonings you like on roast chicken
  1. Separate the garlic cloves but leave them unpeeled. The easiest way to do this is to roll the head of garlic on the counter top.
  2. Place the garlic cloves in the bottom of your slow cooker, then place the chicken on top, breast side up.
  3. Stuff the chicken cavity with the lemon half.
  4. Season the chicken liberally with salt, pepper, and paprika and/or other seasonings
  5. Roughly strip the leaves off of the herbs, tear them up, and strew them on and around the chicken.
  6. Cook on low for 8 hours.
  7. Separate the chicken into individual pieces (breast, wings, leg quarters) and broil them on a baking sheet for a couple of minutes or until the skin crisps.
  8. Serve immediately with the garlic cloves. You might make mashed cauliflower (exclude the roasted garlic) and/or gravy to serve alongside.


  1. We made this tonight, it was great! I posted pics on my blog:

  2. So are you not using water in this recipe? i've never made a recipe in a crock pot without water?

    1. No, as long as the chicken skin and bones are there it essentially poches. Sit the chicken on a lattice of celery and carrot strips. Add some white wine and cover with olive oil. End of story.

  3. Are you not supposed to use water?

  4. @Anon: Definitely no water. In the slow cooker, you get little to no evaporation, so as the chicken cooks you will get plenty of liquid in to pot. If you add water it would be more soupy; this is more like slow-roasted chicken.

  5. Sounds great! Any reason, besides ease, not to fully peel each clove? I'm new to this, and had you not said anything I would have peeled them all hoping for stronger garlic flavor to get through. Thanks!

  6. I had this dish back in the 70s cooked for me by an old Austrian gentleman. It was not done in a slow cooker but it was the same idea. It was the most delicious dish I had ever eaten. Can't wait to try this slow cooker version!

  7. Is the garlic too overpowering taste wise? My son is a picky eater and only 4 years old so not sure

  8. Is the garlic too overpowering taste wise? My son is a picky eater and only 4 years old so not sure

  9. I just started using my slow cooker and I am so excited to see so many recipes which I might use. I think Chicken with 40 Cloves of 'garlic would be very popular at our house. Thank you for this and all the other recipes you share with us.