After my first visit to the Takoma Park Farmer's Market, I wanted to go back for a whole young chicken from Smith Meadows Farm. I have been on a quest to make a perfect roast chicken for a while now with little success. A fellow foodie friend suggested using a whole young chicken as opposed to a standard roasting chicken from the supermarket. I was told a young chicken is more tender and lends itself better to a juicy roast as opposed to the leathery, dry meat I often produce. I begun searching online for an exceptional roast chicken recipe before remembering this Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic recipe. I altered it very slightly so that everything I used for the recipe came from my CSA box or my visit to Takoma Park.
This is the perfect dish for a cold Winter's day. It's a beautiful chicken seasoned with fresh herbs and enough garlic to kill a village of vampires! And it's all done in the crock pot, resulting in the most delicious aromas wafting through your house. Add some roasted rosemary fingerling potatoes and you have the bounties of Winter right there on your dinner plate. Dishes like this are exactly why I choose local, fresh and in season ingredients. When you use such quality ingredients, you don't need to do a lot to make them great.
Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic
1 4-lb young whole chicken
1 fresh sprig of rosemary, finely chopped
1 fresh sprig of rosemary, whole
1 fresh sprig of thyme, finely chopped
1 fresh sprig of thyme, whole
2 fresh stalks of micro Italian parsley, finely chopped
2 fresh stalks of micro Italian parsely, whole
40 cloves of garlic, unpeeled
5 cloves of garlic, peeled
Fresh ground pepper
Pat dry the chicken and set it on a plate. If not already done, remove the innards from the cavity of the whole chicken. Place the whole rosemary, thyme and parsley inside the cavity of the chicken, along with the five peeled cloves of garlic. Place the chicken in the crock pot but do not turn it on yet. Wash your hands and then grind the pepper over the chicken (the amount of pepper depends on your personal taste level - I added almost a 1/2 teaspoon). Then evenly sprinkle the finely chopped rosemary, thyme and parsley over the chicken. Add in the 40 cloves of garlic around the chicken, cover the crock pot and turn it on low. Cook for 8 to 10 hours.
When the chicken is thoroughly cooked, carve and serve with a pound of roasted fingerling potatoes tossed with fresh chopped rosemary, salt, pepper and 1/4 cup of good olive oil. The roasted garlic cloves can be used in other dishes calling for roasted garlic.