This is a modified version of a French dish that is pretty easy and quick. I should call it ‘Christmas cookie chicken’ since this is the dish I make during a crazy day of baking my cookies. It takes little commitment and when paired with some bread it is a one dish meal.
3-4 tbsp Olive Oil
One head of garlic
One large split chicken breast (3.5 – 4 lbs.) or 2 smaller split breasts
Salt and pepper
2 tsp Thyme
1 tsp Herbs de Provence
Half cup flour
1 tbsp butter (and more for the bread)
4 large carrots (cleaned, peeled, cut into match sticks)
Juice of 1 lemon
1 cup of white wine
1 large loaf of sour dough bread
Peel all of the cloves of garlic on one head (these are going to be lovely and sweet since they will cook as whole cloves slowly).
Tricks: I just learned from a cooking show (Rachel Khoos on Cooking Channel – love her!) that if you take the whole head of garlic and bash it on a cutting board on the larger flatter side, it will help the cloves come apart. I also see the chefs on TV use a knife to crush a clove to help peel it. I am way too klutzy for that, so I use the heel of my hand to crush the clove to get the skins off of the garlic.
In a Dutch oven or large pan that has a lid available for later, warm 3 tbs of olive oil. Place the cloves in the hot oil, stir them frequently until they start to get a bit golden then remove to a plate on reserve. Let the pan cool a bit and add 1 tbs butter (butter makes everything better).
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Clean, peel and cut the carrots and put them in a large bowl. Shake on salt, pepper and 1 tsp thyme and pour on 1 tbs olive oil and mix it around. Reserve.
Clean and season the chicken, put salt and pepper on both sides and 1 tsp of the Thyme on the top. Pour the flour into a shallow bowl or pie pan, salt the flour and add the herbs de provence into the flour too and mix. Dredge the chicken in the flour, and then place it breast side down into the hot (now garlic flavored) oil and butter. Don’t touch it! I know you want to, but if you wait a few minutes until it actually browns and then flip it, you will get that nice caramelization.
Slightly brown the other side, throw the garlic back into the pan and the seasoned carrots. Put on the lid and cook it in the oven for 30 minutes or so, just make sure the chicken is cooked all the way through and the carrots are tender. I check it at the 20 minute mark s and shift around the carrots; then, I wrap a large sourdough bread in tin foil and stick it in the oven for the last 10 minutes of cooking.
Serve the garlic in a bowl, it is perfect to spread on a slice of bread with butter. Serve the carrots in another bowl, keep both warm. Remove the chicken to a serving plate and cover with tin foil so it stays warm. Add the lemon juice into the pan, a cup of white wine and a few shakes of Wondra flour.
Heat for 4 minutes while whisking to boil off the wine and thicken. Since we are used to boneless chicken, I pull it off the bones and cover with the sauce to serve.
I serve it with some baby peas. The combination of garlic on the bread, lemon sauce, the herbs all together makes this such a great meal (and the fact that it’s easy to make is the icing on the cake!)