One of the most versatile vegetables used in nearly every cuisine, garlic is a flavor base for everything from Thai curries to soups, stews and pasta sauces.
Preliminary studies reviewed by the National Cancer Institute found that garlic consumption may reduce the risk of developing several types of cancer, particularly cancers of the gastrointestinal tract. In addition, clinical experiments have shown that regular consumption of garlic decreased the size of arterial plaque in coronary arteries, prevented unhealthy blood clotting, and improved the circulation of the subject studied.
While the acrid bite of raw garlic can overwhelm a dish (and allegedly slay vampires), cooking garlic mellows its bravado—caramelizing it through roasting transforms the cloves into a buttery sweet puree. Combined with mushrooms, thyme and red wine—also reportedly known for its antioxidants that help protect the lining of blood vessels in your heart—oven-roasted garlic adds layers of richness without added fat and calories to the chicken recipe below.
- 1 head garlic
- 3 tsp olive oil
- 4 chicken breasts, butterflied and pounded thin
- 1 small shallot, minced
- 1/2 pound Cremini mushrooms
- 1/2 pound button mushrooms
- 4 sprigs fresh thyme, de-stemmed and chopped
- salt and pepper
- 1 cup red wine
- 1/2 cup chicken or vegetable stock
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Cut the very top off of an entire head of garlic, and place the garlic on a small piece of aluminum foil. Drizzle 1 teaspoon olive oil over top of garlic, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Wrap aluminum foil over top of garlic. Roast for 45 to 50 minutes, or until cloves feel soft. Remove from oven and unwrap foil. Set aside to cool.
In a large nonstick skillet, heat 1 teaspoon olive oil over medium-high heat. Season chicken breasts with salt and pepper on both sides. Add two to four chicken breasts to pan (depending on how large your pan is; you don't want to overcrowd them). Cook for three to five minutes per side, or until chicken is no longer pink on the inside and it is lightly browned on the outside. Remove from pan and place on plate covered with foil.
Heat remaining 1 teaspoon olive oil in the same skillet; add shallot and saut? for two to three minutes. Add mushrooms and cook for five to six minutes, or until browned. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add chopped thyme and stir. Remove garlic from foil, turn garlic cut-side down, and squeeze garlic out of its skin into the skillet. Stir to combine. Pour in red wine, using a heat-safe rubber spatula or wooden spoon to scrape up any browned bits off the bottom of the pan. Cook until wine has nearly evaporated.
Add stock to skillet and reduce by half. Nestle chicken back into pan. Heat chicken through for two to three minutes. Serve with couscous, brown rice or crusty bread.
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