Chicken Roasted with Garlic Cloves

Makes 4 servings
  • Active time: 1 hr
    Total time: 2 hr
Everybody needs a good recipe for roast chicken. Julia Child thought this version, served at New York's La Tulipe during the 1980s—and which uses an entire head of garlic per person—was so good she had to compliment chef-owner Sally Darr in person.

If you think an untrussed chicken looks wanton when roasted, as Child did, feel free to tie the drumsticks together with kitchen string. Darr likes to leave the legs free, because she thinks it makes for crispier skin.

This recipe was originally published as part of Sally Darr's Julia Child and Me.
Published in Gourmet Live 08.15.12


For Roast Chicken and Potatoes:

  • 1 (3 1/4- to 3 1/2-pound) chicken
  • Salt
  • 3 tablespoons softened unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
  • 4 heads garlic, separated into unpeeled cloves
  • 1 pound small (1 1/2- to 2-inch) boiling potatoes, scrubbed well

For Pan Sauce:

  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 3/4 cup chicken stock (homemade or store-bought)
  • 1 tablespoon cold unsalted butter, cut into four pieces
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice, or to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper


For Roast Chicken and Potatoes:

  • Heat oven to 450°F with rack in middle.
  • Pull out chunks of fat from chicken cavity near the opening. Wipe and dry chicken and sprinkle inside and out with salt.
  • Mix together softened butter and thyme in a small bowl.
  • Ease skin away from the chicken breast with your finger and spread one third of thyme butter under skin. Rub chicken inside and out with most of the remaining butter, reserving about a teaspoon.
  • Put garlic cloves in a small heat-proof bowl and pour boiling water to cover them. Let cloves stand for 10 minutes and drain. Peel cloves and dry them.
  • While garlic is soaking, cover potatoes generously with salted water in a 3- to 4-quart pot. Bring to a boil and parboil 5 minutes (potatoes will not be cooked through). Drain and let cool until they can be handled, then peel.
  • Smear bottom of a heavy roasting pan (not glass) with remaining teaspoon thyme butter and put chicken in pan, breast side up. (If desired, tie drumsticks together; see headnote.) Strew garlic cloves and potatoes around chicken.
  • Roast chicken, basting 3 to 4 times with pan juices, for a total of 1 hour, or until the juices run clear when the meaty part of a thigh is pricked with a skewer or knife. If the juices are pink, continue to roast chicken for 5 to 10 minutes more, or until the juices are no longer pink.

For Pan Sauce:

  • Tilt chicken in pan to add any liquid in cavity to pan juices, then transfer chicken to a platter and let it rest for 5 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer roasted garlic cloves and potatoes to platter, surrounding chicken.
  • Spoon off most of the fat from roasting pan. Set pan over two burners on high heat. Add wine and deglaze pan, scraping up any solid bits clinging to pan. Boil wine until it is reduced by half, then add stock and any juices accumulated on platter, and boil until liquid is reduced to about 1/2 cup.
  • Remove pan from heat and swirl in 1 tablespoon cold butter, a piece or two at a time. Stir in lemon juice, and season with salt and pepper.
  • Strain sauce over garlic cloves and potatoes and carve chicken into serving pieces.


  • When Sally Darr served this chicken at La Tulipe, it was for two, with each person getting a boned breast half and thigh. (The kitchen crew devoured the drumsticks and wings at midnight, with beer.) At home, a chicken this size will feed 4 people.
This recipe has not been tested in the Gourmet Live kitchens.
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