Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic

Why do I forget about the dish until the holidays? It really is one of my favorite ways to prepare chicken. If you only need one chicken for supper, cook both anyway. The extra chicken is great for sandwiches, chicken salad, etc. Don't forget to save those bones for soup.

The abundance of garlic mellows in flavor during roasting.

Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic
6 to 8 servings
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2 (3-pound) whole chickens
8 fresh thyme sprigs
1/4 cup softened butter
1 lemon, halved
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
40 garlic cloves, unpeeled ((about 3 bulbs)
1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
Garnish: fresh thyme

Rinse chicken, and pat dry with paper towels. Place 4 thyme sprigs in cavity of each bird. Rub each chicken with 2 tablespoons softened butter. Squeeze a lemon half over each chicken. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Tie ends of legs together with string; tuck wing tips under. Place chicken, breast side up, in a well greases shallow roasting pan.

Toss garlic with olive oil in a bowl. Scatter garlic cloves around chicken, snuggling them close to chickens.

Bake at 375 degrees for 1 hour and 45 minutes or until a meat thermometer inserted into thigh registers 180 degrees.

Remove chicken and garlic to a serving platter. Garnish, if desired.

COOK'S NOTE: I like to season my chicken with salt and pepper and let set in the refrigerator overnight before baking.