When we went to the grocery store to buy the chicken, the one that was pre-cut was twice the price of the whole chicken so we decided to buy the whole chicken. When it came time to make dinner, Jud offered to cut-up the chicken. I promised not to laugh at him. I asked his permission to tell the story of his chicken. I have never in my life seen a chicken with these parts. Some of the pieces, like the wings and legs, were recognizable, but the others (not so much). We had a good laugh, but I assure you it did not affect the taste. I cut the garlic in 1/2 since I only wanted to do one chicken. The other ingredients, I kept the same.
3 whole heads of garlic, about 40 cloves
2 (3 1/2 pound) chickens, cut into eighths
Freshly ground black pepper
1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 Tablespoons cognac, divided
1 1/2 cups dry white wine
1 Tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 Tablespoons heavy cream
Separate the cloves of garlic and drop them into a pot of boiling water for 1 minute. Drain the garlic and peel. Set aside.
Dry the chicken parts with paper towels. Season liberally with salt and pepper on both sides. Heat the butter and oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. In batches, saute the chicken in the fat, skin side down first, until nicely browned, about 3-5 minutes on each side. Turn with tongs or a spatula; you don't want to pierce the skin with a fork. If the fat is burning, turn the heat to medium. When a batch is done, transfer it to a plate and continue to saute all the chicken in batches. Remove the last chicken to the plate and add all of the garlic to the pot. Lower the heat and saute for 5-10 minutes, turning often, until evenly browned. Add 2 Tablespoons of the cognac and the wine, return to a boil, and scrape the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Return the chicken to the pot with the juices and sprinkle with the thyme leaves. Cover and simmer over the lowest heat for about 30 minutes, until all the chicken is done.
Remove chicken to a platter and cover with alluminum foil to keep warm. In small bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup of the sauce and the flour and then whisk it back into the sauce in the pot. Raise the heat, add the remaining tablespoon of cognac and the cream. Boil for 3 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Pour sauce and garlic over the chicken. I served this with the wild rice pilaf.