The recipe is my grandmother Ida’s Rosemary and Garlic Chicken and I am hard-pressed to remember a Sunday dinner at her house when this rustic dish was not served. As soon as the elevator doors opened up to her floor of the apartment building where she lived, we knew Rosemary and Garlic Chicken was on the menu – the entire floor was absolutely enveloped in the pungent aroma of herbs, garlic and wine. What a welcome! In fact, on those days, neighbors of hers would find reasons to stop in: they had to drop something off, borrow something, or just stop in to say a quick hello. We, of course, knew the real reason for their visit; they wanted to find out what the heck was going on inside my grandmother’s oven because everyone was being driven absolutely crazy by the smell of it!
The chicken cooks for a long time so that, by the time you bite into the winey, garlicky meat, it is, quite literally, falling off of the bone. The forty cloves of garlic (give or take some) at the bottom of the pan become soft and sweet and brown. They are wonderful spread onto the chicken or onto a piece of bread, mashed into potatoes, or even just forked and eaten whole.
If you’ve read my About page, you already know that my paternal grandmother, Ida, has been a huge influence on my cooking style. She is Sicilian, and firmly believes that fresh ingredients and simple preparations make the best food. Her recipes are always satisfying – loaded with flavor, texture and color – but never fussy. Rosemary and Garlic Chicken is the perfect way to showcase this cooking philosophy. It’s also the best way I can think of to welcome you to my kitchen. Buon Appetito!
Rosemary and Garlic Chicken
12 pieces of chicken (I like to use skinless, boneless chicken thighs, but any chicken parts will work)
40 cloves of garlic (give or take)
1/3 c. olive oil
1/3 c. red wine
3 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh rosemary
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Salt and pepper the chicken on both sides and lay the pieces in a baking dish. Peel the cloves of garlic and nestle them among the chicken pieces. In a separate bowl, mix together the olive oil, wine and rosemary, and then pour the mixture over the chicken. Bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes, then turn the oven up to 400 degrees and bake for an additional 45 minutes.