A few months ago I stumbled across the idea of cookbook exploitation: you don't need more cookbooks, you need to exploit the cookbooks you have more effectively. You probably already have tons of recipes on a shelf somewhere that you've never tried. So cook them!
This recipe is from I'm Just Here for the Food by Alton Brown. I've had this cookbook since it came out in 2002 -- in fact, I have a signed copy -- but I haven't cooked very many things in it. The recipe is dead simple: brown some chicken, toss in a mess of garlic, shallots and herbs, add oil, cook in a 350 degree oven for an hour and a half and you're done. The chicken will slowly fry in the oil. Separate the chicken and the shallots and garlic, and serve with good bread. Smash the shallots and garlic on the bread, use the oil for dipping, and enjoy a brilliant meal.
My husband and I loved this, although he got a bit snippy when I explained cookbook exploitation to him, saying "You mean you've had this recipe for 9 years and this is the first we're trying it!" If you have any oil left, keep it and use it for cooking greens or another vegetable later in the week.
The full recipe appears below, and would serve at least 4 people, maybe more depending on what you served with it. I made it with half the chicken, the full amount of garlic, half the shallots, and a couple of fresh onions from my CSA. Next time, I'll add more garlic.
10 chicken thighs
salt & freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil
3 sprigs of some combination fresh sage, thyme and/or oregano
10 garlic cloves, peeled
10 shallots, peeled and split in half from stem to root
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Season the chicken with salt -- don't hold back. Because of the long cooking time, the chicken really needs to be thoroughly seasoned. Toss the chicken with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and brown on both sides over high heat. Make sure to brown the chicken thoroughly. This is the only color the dish will have when it's done.
Put the chicken in a casserole dish with the garlic and shallots. Tuck the herbs in around the chicken (there's no need to chop them). Poor the remaining 1/2 cup olive oil over the dish. Cover and bake for 1-1/2 hours. Grind pepper over the chicken and serve.