February 3, 2024


I have made this dish many times before, although not for a few years, but never posted about it.  You can find versions of it all over the place on the internet but I usually follow, as a guide, the recipe for "Provencal garlic chicken" from a great little book by Jill Dupleix called "good cooking"**.

It’s one of those recipes that’s staggeringly easy but delicious and warrants ferreting around in the back of the kitchen cupboard for a much loved bit of old kitchen equipment - the chicken brick!

I acquired a chicken brick back in the 70’s or 80’s, or whenever it was that they were all the rage.  It was made of a terracotta pottery (possibly from Habitat) and was probably a Christmas or birthday present, but it didn’t get much use and I don’t remember when I noticed it was no longer around.  Then, about twelve years ago, we held a Pampered Chef party at our house - a kind of Tupperware party but for cooking equipment.  I bought quite a few items and they were not cheap but have turned out to be a good investment.  One of the things I lashed out on was a new chicken brick, or updated version thereof, as it's also very good for casseroles, slow roasted meats and other things.

I remember the Pampered Chef agent saying that these pots should not be put in the dishwasher, that they should be washed in hot soapy water to remove any food bits but should otherwise be allowed to develop their own "patina".  This rather goes against the grain for someone like me who was brought up to scrub things to within an inch of their lives to ward off nasty tummy bugs - and whose very first domestic science lesson (from a very stern Mrs Stafford) was about how to clean a kitchen worktop properly and look after your dishcloth (having first knitted it from cotton string in the needlework class).  But I have to say that the residue hasn't killed us yet, however unappealing it may look! 

Any suitable casserole or roasting dish that has a tight fitting lid will do the job.  You can ensure a tight seal by covering the chicken with foil or baking paper before putting the lid on.  With my chicken brick I don't have to do this.

The original recipe is for forty cloves of garlic but when I checked the larder all I had in stock was thirty! It turned out beautifully; moist and delicious.  The leftover meat was excellent in a chicken and leek pie, the carcass went into the stock pot and was turned into a tasty soup with the leftover potatoes and garlic.

Retirement does have benefits.  Our food bill and wastage are both significantly lower than when we were working.  I never thought I would turn into a person that makes their own stock (and uses leftovers so enthusiastically) but having the time to do it is the key.  

**Other recipes from this excellent little book that I have made and posted about before include:

Airport potatoes 

Cranberry blondies


1 oven ready chicken, about 1.2 kg in weight

2 bay leaves

3 sprigs of thyme

4 tblsp olive oil plus extra for oiling the dish

30 garlic cloves, unpeeled

6-8 smallish potatoes, washed but skin on

75ml dry white wine


Preheat the oven to 180°C / 160° fan / gas mk 4.  Lightly oil the inside of the baking dish.

Rub the chicken with a little salt and put it in the pot, surrounded by the potatoes, garlic and herbs.  Drizzle with the olive oil, pour over the wine and season again with salt and pepper.

Fit the lid tightly (see notes in text) and bake for about an hour.  Remove the lid, increase the oven temperature to 220°C / 200° fan / gas mk 7 and cook for a further 10-15 minutes until the chicken is cooked through* and the skin is a golden brown.

Serve with the potatoes and garlic cloves, which are delicious when squished so the puréed garlic oozes out.  Serve the cooking juices from the bottom of the chicken in a jug and any greens or salad of your choice.

*You can judge this by either poking a knife into the thickest part of the breast and making sure the juices run clear, not pink, or by using a meat thermometer.

Serves 6 with leftovers to use as you wish.


  1. Never used this much garlic in a chicken! But I frequently use our chicken brick [August 79, wedding gift] which has a good patina. I think the heat must kill the bugs.

    1. Curiously, it doesn't taste overly garlicky. The cooked garlic is very sweet and not sharp when you squeeze it out of the skins.

  2. I used to love this dish but I haven't made it for years. Thanks for the reminder. My chicken brick is officially 40 years old later this year but it's scandalously underused lately. I've never forgotten being vehemently told off by a Jamaican cook (also around 40 years ago) for washing away the flavour in my cooking pots. She was right, of course.

    1. It's a fine balance between flavour and hygiene I think!