Classic Chicken With 40 Cloves of Garlic

Prep Time: 20 min
Cook Time: 4 hr

We’re not kidding about the garlic! While it seems like an over-the-top amount, this recipe made famous years ago by James Beard, is still coveted by foodies. And the good news about our updated version. It’s been streamlined for the slow cooker and still packs a wallop of flavour with half the original amount of garlic.


2 tbsp (30 mL) butter, room temperature
2 garlic, whole bulb
1 tbsp (15 mL) Dijon mustard
1 tbsp (15 mL) cornstarch
1/2 cup (125 mL) white wine
8 - 12 bone-in, skinless chicken thighs
8 - 12 bone-in, skinless chicken drumsticks
1 tbsp (15 mL) tarragon, dried
1/2 tsp (2.5 mL) salt
1 white onion
1 red onion, small


1 Turn the slow cooker on high and place butter in the bottom. While it’s melting, make garlic easy to separate and peel by placing the heads on a cutting board and banging their tops with a meat mallet or heavy pan. Separate the cloves and whack them again. Peel off the skins and give another whack to slightly smash them.
2 Add the Dijon and cornstarch to the soft butter in cooker and mash together. Pour in the wine. Whisk until fairly smooth. Add the smashed garlic cloves and chicken. Sprinkle with tarragon and salt. Turn chicken pieces to coat with tarragon.
3 Slice onion in half and place cut-side down on a cutting board. Thinly slice and scatter over chicken, separating as you add. Cover and cook on high for 4 hours or medium for 6 hours. If you are able, stir chicken half way through the cooking–but this is not essential.
4 Arrange cooked chicken on mashed potatoes or rice. Mash the garlic into the sauce and spoon onions and sauce over all.