Posted by: familiabencomo | Wednesday, April 2, 2008

40 Garlic Clove Chicken… & a few Hail Marys!

Last week, I found myself faced with a dilemma: too much garlic! Fortunately, I was given some great suggestions by Deeba & Marie. Marie pointed out that there was a terrific recipe on that requires 40 garlic cloves – perfect! I immediately searched for the recipe, found it, printed it, scanned over the ingredients & planned to make it the next day…… (BIG sigh here) I don’t know if any of you have ever done this, but I thought I had all of the ingredients – I had the garlic after all. Of course, I didn’t realize this until I started to pull everything out to cook. Dang. The recipe called for the use of Cognac, dry white wine & heavy cream – I had tequila, rum, red wine, port, grappa, 2% low-fat milk & butter milk. As you can imagine, panic started to ensue. So…. I made the decision to replace the 1 1/2 cups wine & 3T Cognac with 1 cup port (one Hail Mary here). Then, I replaced the heavy cream with butter milk (another Hail Mary). I followed the rest of the recipe EXACTLY & continued to pray – I just hate messing up dinner.


When Alfredo came home he was greeted with the rich smell of port, garlic & fresh thyme. He immediately was impressed by my culinary efforts (great! no pressure). As I timidly served the food, I said one more prayer. I thought, “Well, if it’s terrible, then I’ll blame Marie!” (just kidding, Marie!) Alfredo loved it!!! The kids loved it! Whew. My jaw dropped because I could not believe I pulled it off. If the truth be told, then the success of the meal was because the recipe was so clearly described. I hope to try it again with the proper ingredients.


for a family of 4 I usually peel 2-3 sweet potatoes, slice into round, coat with olive oil & a wee-bit of sea salt. Then, bake at 400 for 40 minutes. I use a dutch oven, but you can use anything as long as the potatoes are covered.  These make such a tasty, no-brainer side dish – perfectly healthy & just enough color to dress up any meal.



  1. Look at you! You little improvisor!! and look how good it turned out! As long as your family was happy, thats all that matters. However,had it not gone well, I would have had your back and took the blame!! lol 😀

  2. When I first saw your dish I thought the sweet potatoes were carrots…and I was going to say what huge carrots you grow there! haha. I need coffee.

  3. Amy, you won’t believe it but you are reading my mind!!!! I just got back from Trader Joe’s with a bag full of organic sweet potatoes and when I got home I thought, what the hell am I going to do with so many? (i have a tendency to buy a lot:)) and here it goes, you just gave me an idea!!!! I usually bake red potatoes and thought maybe sweet potatoes need a different treatment. And here you are, with your yummy recipe! You read my mind!!!

  4. So is it “Hail Mary!” or “Ave Marie!”? lol! I think you just came up with your own 40 Garlic Clove Port Chicken with Butter recipe. It sounds yummy! Just put in a prayer for safe breath in the morning. 😉 40 garlic cloves? Seriously?

  5. Good for you, you rebel!! It looks like your version came out simply fantastically. And as for these 40 cloves…I think you have to make a pact that EVERYONE in the household eats it, or nobody! 🙂

  6. Marie – Thank you, dear! I doubt Alfredo would have believed me if I blamed you. If I query him about what he’s craving for dinner he asks to see what you’ve posted.

    Maryann – Those are some BIG carrots! That’s what my daughter keeps calling them so you’re in good company.

    Farida – Oh, goodie! You can also make sweet potato fries by cutting them in narrow strips & baking at 425 for about 20 min. We love thm that way during the summer when we grill.

    Jane – Yes, 40! Alfredo suggested that I should put a disclaimer on this recipe that it may not be the ideal meal for a “romantic” dinner.

    Jessie – Yes, I know! If we all eat it, then it negates the “garlic factor.” It’s funny b/c I was expecting rancid breathe, but the garlic is cooked for so long that all that is left is a mild flavor…. who knows, maybe Alfredo was just bing polite. 😉

  7. YAY Amy…Great one! You’ll have Alfredo eating out of your hand soon!! Port, garlic, thyme…yum, yum! I know the panic, the sinking feeling & then the timid dinner call! Garlic is an aphrodasiac; maybe that explains the ’40’! Hmmmmmmmmm…tanti baci dear girl!

  8. It sounds great. This kind of thing happens to me all the time, start cooking and then realize some important ingredients are missing. It’s not good for the nerves but I like to think it stimulates creativity.

    I am very jealous of your sweet potatoes, we love them and they are hard to come by here. The Italians are not big on roots for some reason.

  9. Congrats on a fab meal…way to go!!! I would have made a mad dash for the store….I love your resourcefulness…

  10. Deeba – you naughty girl! I notice you use a lot of garlic when you cook too.

    Amanda – So true! I had to rely on that spontaneous creativity. Sorry about the “root” issues you have in Italy…. pour another chianti & I’m sure all will be forgiven (or forgotten!).

    Mom – The mad dash to the store would have involved 2 kids putting their shoes on, buckling up, bickering in the back seat, asking for bubble gum & ice cream, wanting to push the cart, complaining because I don’t need a cart, getting a cart for my 3 items…. it goes on. Improvising was my best bet. Love you!

  11. You soooo took me back to Florence right now with your description of your dish. We mad a similar dish during my cooking tour and it was soooo yummy as I’m sure yours was too. And what a treat for your hubby to come to!

  12. You are so cute/funny with all your Hail Marys! It sounds like my grandmother! I come from a large Catholic family and she is so that way. I don’t pray too much about food. I think that the one reason I love to cook so well is that it is something I am not afraid of failing in. If is comes out so so… or even flops, I figure better luck next time. I never thought of cooking savory food with buttermilk.

    When you have extra garlic, drizzle olive oil on it and roast in under broiler until soft and beginning to color. Then spread it on bread! MMmmmmmmm. Or blend the roasted garlic with oil or mayonnaise and use for sandwiches.

    Buon Appetito!

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