Roast Chicken with Purple Garlic ~ this chicken roasts on a veritable bower of garlic, and when it comes out of the oven, those cloves are mellow and spread like buttah. Put that rotisserie chicken back in the plastic tub, you won’t be needing it.
Garlic and I have a complicated relationship… I think it’s harsh when raw, and can overpower other flavors even when it’s been cooked into a dish. But today I’m reminded that a long slow roasting, preferably underneath a chicken, magically fixes all that, and I’m happy to report that garlic and I are now best buds. Yes there’s a lot of garlic in this recipe, but there’s no messy peeling or chopping involved, I just slice off the tops and add the whole heads to the pan. The oven and the chicken drippings do the rest.
If you’ve peeked at the recipe and think I’ve gone over the deep end with the garlic, hold that thought ~ remember that it’s inexpensive, and you can use the leftover bulbs in all kinds of ways (that’s IF you have any leftover.) For days afterward we smooshed those golden nuggets into potatoes, smashed them into our couscous, and slathered them on grilled bruschetta. And of course you can always use any extra roasted garlic to make my epic HUMMUS WITH FORTY CLOVES…that stuff proves that roasted garlic makes everything better.
TIP: You can sometimes find garlic sold by the bag ~ these tend to be smaller, and a great value, too ~ perfect for this recipe!
To prepare garlic for roasting whole, just slice off the tip (the pointy end) to expose the cloves. The root (the flattened end) will hold all the cloves intact. Save those tips, you’ll use them to stuff the cavity of the chicken, so nothing goes to waste.
I lined the bottom of my baking dish with the cut heads of garlic. It becomes a base for the chicken to rest on, and will get the benefit of all the wonderful juices that drip down during the cooking. Are you beginning to see where this is going? Yum.
Why is my garlic purple?
- Most garlic is pure white, but there are other varieties. Some are called softneck, which is most common in supermarkets, and others are called hardneck ~ the softneck variety grows on a flexible stem, and the hardneck grows on a stiff stalk.
- Purple stripe garlic is one of several hardneck varieties of garlic. You can see the small round stalk in the middle of the cloves if you look closely at my cut garlic heads, above.
- Purple garlic has a purplish striped outer skin, with white flesh, and tastes slightly milder than regular garlic.
- Purple garlic is supposed to be ideal for roasting.
I stuff the chicken with those extra garlic tips and fresh lemon wedges for extra flavor.
TIP: If you want to remove the smell of garlic from your fingers after you work with it, rub them along your stainless steel faucet or sides of your stainless steel sink when you wash your hands…the molecules in the steel bind with the smelly sulfur molecules on your hands and neutralize the odor, it really works! You can even buy stainless steel ‘soap’!
While this isn’t a 30-minute meal, it’s definitely a hands off meal, because, with the exception of a little basting, there’s really nothing to do but enjoy the aromas coming out of your oven.
You can serve the chicken right in the baking dish, or on a platter, surrounded by the garlic, it’s pretty spectacular either way. Make sure each person gets their own roasted head of garlic. Now doesn’t this beat that rotisserie chicken in the plastic tub??
you have a choice…
I read my meat packages and buy the best quality, most sustainably and humanely raised chicken I can afford ~ animals that haven’t been treated with hormones or antibiotics, and animals that have had a decent life are better for us in every way. It is more expensive, so I just eat less of it, it’s that simple.
- 1 chicken, 3 1/2 - 5 pounds, giblets removed
- 10 whole heads of garlic
- 2 lemons, cut in wedges
- one bunch fresh thyme
- 3 Tbsp olive oil
- salt and fresh cracked black pepper
- 4 Tbsp melted butter or olive oil
- Set oven to 425F
- Slice the tip ends of the heads of garlic off to expose the cloves. Reserve the loose ends that you've chopped off.
- Arrange the heads of garlic, cut side up, on the bottom of a roasting pan or casserole just big enough to hold the chicken. Brush the exposed tops with olive oil.
- Stuff the cavity of the chicken with 1/2 of the lemon wedges and some of the reserved garlic tips (no need to remove the skins) Tie the legs securely together.
- Rub the chicken with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place the chicken on top of the garlic in the roasting pan.
- Roast the chicken for 20 minutes per pound, basting every 10 minutes with melted butter or olive oil. Make sure you baste the exposed garlic, too! As the chicken starts to release juices, you can baste with its own juices if you like.
- If you cut between the wing and the leg and the juices should run clear, the chicken is done. It should be a nice golden brown. You can be sure by checking with an instant read thermometer inserted between the leg and breast, it should register 160-165F.
- Let the chicken rest under foil for 10 minutes, then slice and serve with the garlic.
Make it your own ~
- If you aren’t a garlic lover, you can roast the chicken on a bed of onions, carrots, and potatoes, or any mixture of veggies you happen to love.