Roast Chicken With Whole Garlic Heads

Serves 6.

Note: As with all roast chicken recipes, it is crucial to start with a wholesome, strapping free-range bird, says David Tanis. Salt generously, and let a few sprigs of thyme and rosemary lend their herby perfume, along with a dozen garlic heads. The garlic is coaxed to sweetness with the long cooking. Serve each person one or two heads of garlic. From “David Tanis Market Cooking.”

• 1 (about 4-lb.) free-range chicken, at room temperature

• Salt and pepper

• 1 small bunch thyme

• 1 small bunch rosemary

• A dozen heads of garlic, roots and any top stem trimmed

• 1 c. dry white wine or water


Heat the oven to 425 degrees. Season chicken generously inside and out with salt and pepper, then massage the skin to distribute the seasoning evenly. Put the thyme and rosemary into the cavity, then put the bird in a shallow earthenware baking dish or roasting pan. Tie the legs together if you wish. Surround with the garlic heads and add the wine to the dish.

Roast the chicken, uncovered, for 20 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees and continue roasting for 45 to 60 minutes more, until the juices run clear when a thigh is probed with a paring knife. The bird should be well browned and the garlic soft and caramelized. Remove from the oven, tent loosely with foil and let rest for 15 minutes. Carve and transfer to a warm platter. Surround with the garlic heads and serve the garlicky pan juices separately.

Roasted Chicken Legs With 40 Cloves of Garlic

Scatter some rosemary and thyme sprigs over the bottom of a shallow earthenware baking dish or roasting pan and then scatter over 40 peeled garlic cloves. Season 6 large chicken legs (drumstick and thigh) generously with salt and pepper and lay them on top. Add 1 cup dry white wine and roast uncovered at 400 degrees for 45 minutes or so, until the skin is browned and crisp and the pan juices run clear when a thigh is probed with a paring knife.

To serve, spoon some pan juices and 6 or 7 soft garlic cloves over each leg. Note: Egg noodles tossed with the precious pan juices and a few soft garlic cloves are delightful, too, with or without the chicken. Serves 6.