40 Clove Garlic Chicken Rice

This is one of the most comforting dishes out there. The garlic doesn’t overpower in this dish but does provide a deeply aromatic sweetness and plenty of opportunities for gratuitous garlic squeezes.

Done in 2 hours



What you'll need:

650gbasmati rice

3brown onions, thinly sliced

2 tbspolive oil

1 kg (roughly 3 or 4 of each)chicken thighs and drumsticks

2 tbspflaked sea salt

40 (roughly 4 large bulbs)fat garlic cloves

a few sprigs eachthyme and rosemary

200mlwhite wine

3 litresgood quality chicken stock


1bay leaf

to tastemore sea salt

a big handfulfinely chopped parsley

This is a deceptively simple recipe using a biryani style parboiled rice technique to achieve layers of perfectly cooked grains, succulent chicken and sweet pops of garlic and onion. It's a lovely recipe for any big fans of garlic, roast chicken, rice and all three.


Pour the rice into a large bowl and rinse it with cold water until most of the starch has been washed away. Fill the bowl a final time with water and let the rice soak for 1 hour.

In a medium saucepan cook down the sliced onion over a very low heat until caramelised and dark brown, roughly 40 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Heat the olive oil in a non stick frying pan and pop in the thighs and drumsticks, skin side down. Fry them on a medium heat for roughly 3 to 4 minutes to get a nice deep golden colour before turning them over and frying them on the other side.

Find a heavy casserole and scatter the (unpeeled) garlic cloves over the bottom. Nestle the chicken pieces around them and scatter with some thyme and rosemary sprigs. Pour over the white wine and place the casserole over heat until it starts to simmer, then pop the lid on and place it in the oven for 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring the chicken stock to a boil and season it with salt. Add the bay leaf.

Add the soaked rice and cook for 3 minutes. No more! No less! Then drain it through a sieve reserving a cup full of stock for laterz. Stir through 50g of butter.

Take the chicken casserole out of the oven and remove the chicken pieces and half of the garlic. There should be a small amount of chicken gravy at the bottom, if not, splash in around 100ml of stock. Take a third of the partially cooked rice and spread it over the casserole. Top with some caramelised onions and some more of the garlic cloves. Spread some more rice on top of this.

Nestle the chicken pieces, skin side up, on this layer of rice along with more caramelised onions and garlic. Sprinkle the remaining rice around the chicken, leaving the golden skin uncovered. Finish with a few garlic cloves and remaining caramelised onion.

Place the casserole (lid on) over a high heat until it starts to steam, then turn the heat down to a mere whisper and place the lid snugly on. Leave it cooking gently for 20 minutes.

Remove the lid with a flourish - the garlicky, roasted chicken steam should smell fantastic and the rice should be standing to attention, "looking to heaven" as they say. Scatter with the chopped parsley and maybe a drizzle of molten salty butter or even GRAVY. Cheers x

What do you think of the recipe?

Hugh Woodward

Hugh Woodward

Hugh's culinary life began aged 14 when he cooked spaghetti hoop burritos to impress girls. Since then his colourful career has taken him to performing in Skegness, making cheese in Peckham, running a wine bar on Columbia Road and reluctantly working in a (briefly) Michelin Starred restaurant. He likes fish, things cooked on charcoal, cheap dinners and London's rich cultural tapestry of food shops. When he's not cooking or eating he can be found mudlarking by the river Thames, buying bits in flea markets and hanging out with his cat Keith.

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