Garlic & Chicken

Today I took a trip to The Organic Centre in Co. Leitrim and salivated over their advanced and bountiful vegetables.  They have 7-8 tunnels that are super productive.  The place is worth a visit for any gardener or admirer of plants and food.  They sell their veggies at the Sligo Farmers Market every week.  While the tunnels are fairly quiet during the winter months, they sow some of these garlic in early November – the variety is ‘Vallolado’ and it looks fantastic.  It’s harvested around now and selling for €1 each at the market.  We picked up a couple of heads and this is what they look like.

Vallolado Garlic

The outer skins are soft and so easy to peel – even though you don’t really need to peel the individual cloves at all.  The aroma is heavenly.  The cloves themselves are lovely and crunchy under the knife.  So fresh – none of the rubbery feel coming from over-stored garlic available in shops.

Fresh Garlic Cloves

I set about celebrating garlic with dinner this evening.  Garlic is seriously good for you, full of powerful antioxidants that fight free radicals in the body.  I had an organic chicken leg defrosted in the fridge, removed the thigh bone and stuffed and slathered it with this marinade:   4 large cloves garlic, smashed and chopped, 1 tsp smoked paprika, 2 sprigs fresh thyme leaves, 1 tbsp olive oil, freshly ground black pepper & sea salt.  I didn’t have time for marinating but you might (leave out the salt if doing so).

Marinating chicken

In a deep-ish frying pan I heated 1 tbsp olive oil and seared the skin side until it was golden and then turned onto the flesh side and reduced the heat, cooking for 3 minutes.  At this point I drained off the excess oil and added 150ml English Ale (Doombar from Sharps Brewery, Cornwall worked perfectly for me), a few sprigs of thyme and covered to braise gently in the pan. (This could be transferred to the oven at this stage – perfect for bigger numbers in a casserole).  Cooking at a bare simmer, 20 minutes was enough to cook the leg through and I finished it off under to grill to re-crisp the skin.  More ale or water can be added to the juices if needed to stretch the yummy gravy that develops.  Although not essential, a little chopped tarragon was delicious stirred into the juice before serving.  The garlic becomes soft, but very definable and sweet, especially if it’s tucked into the boneless thigh area.  This fairly rich chicken dish would be good with a boiled new potato and big green salad.

Pan Cooking Chicken


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