The Thursday Gourmet: Uncle Bill’s Chicken

6 August, 2009

I like garlic.  Hell, in our house, garlic is considered a vegetable.  I’ve been known to go through as many as 10 bulbs of garlic in a month.  Not cloves of garlic.  Bulbs. 

This recipe comes (in a roundabout way) from a garlic cookbook (a collection of recipes from the  Gilroy Garlic Festival) in which it is listed as ‘Uncle Hugo’s Chicken.’  My name is not Hugo.  I have no uncle, much less an uncle by the name of Hugo.  I am an uncle, though, so to her I am Uncle Bill.  Thus, my altered version of the recipe is called:

Uncle Bill’s Chicken

2 bulbs (yes, bulbs) of garlic, peeled and finely diced
1 stick sweet (unsalted) butter
3 slices of good white bread
1/4 cup freshly shredded Parmesan Reggiano, Asiago, or other good strong butter Italian hard cheese
1/4 cup fresh parsley, stemmed and minced
1 pound of chicken cutlets (2 large chicken breasts sliced into thin cutlets)

Peel and finely dice the garlic.  No, go smaller.  Mince it.  Use the freshest garlic you can find.  Do not use dried, dehydrated or powdered garlic.  It won’t work.

Melt the butter in a small pan (there should be about 1/2 inch of melted butter in the pan).  Don’t let the butter foam.  Dump in the garlic, stir, and allow to fry for about 5 to 10 minutes.  Don’t let the garlic brown but make sure it really is cooked.

While you are doing that,  use two forks to reduce three pieces of good white bread (homemade is best) into crumbs.  Mix in the cheese and parsley.  Place the bread crumbs in a large flat bowl.

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees.

Allow the garlic and butter to cool.  Don’t refrigerate it or it will solidify.  Just be cool, not cold.  When the garlic butter is cool, dip each chicken cutlet into the butter and then coat both sides with the bread crumbs.  Place each cutlet onto a baking sheet (jelly roll pans work nicely as they won’t let the butter drip over the sides).

Once all the cutlets are coated, mix any leftover crumbs with the butter and make it into ‘crumbles.’  Sprinkle it over the cutlets. 

Bake at 450 for about 15 to 20 minutes, just until the chicken is cooked.  The coating should be crunchy but not burned.

Serve with a large salad and a side of cheese raviolis tossed with melted butter. 

Don’t let the amount of garlic scare you away from this dish.  The frying and then baking takes most of the ‘bite’ out of the garlic and gives it a mellow, almost nutty, taste.


  1. Ok, it’s 8 o’clock in the morning and I’m salivating. Yum!

  2. Laurie: And that much garlic, early in the morning, could keep the annoying people away.

  3. i have chinese garlic

  4. Mikko: Is there a difference?

  5. I’m a garlic fan, too. Just don’t ever drink a few cloves that have been put through a juicer – garlic burps for four days may ensue. I speak from experience.

  6. We bought one of those (we thought) ridiculous uni-tasker garlic roasters a while ago and now often go through 4 heads a week now just by having a head of garlic for each of us to have on crackers or french bread slices before dinner.

    You know how sweet it turns when you roast it, and this device does that one thing REALLY well and you don’t have to heat up the entire oven to do it.

    I’ve resorted to buying 3 pound bags of the stuff (from Gilroy, CA.!) at our wholesale club just to keep up with the demand

  7. Mikko: I checked the English to metric conversion chart and one bulb of ‘normal’ garlic equals 17.330001114439 cloves of Chinese garlic.

    CL: So I can’t convince you to try a garlic juice and scotch? Damn. I want someone to tell me what it tastes like.

    Newbie: Try dry frying them (in a heavy skillet with no oil) with the skin still on. Keep tossing them until the skin starts to burn. Peel and use as you would roased garlic — delicious, but a very different taste.

  8. Allegedly, Will Rogers once referred to Gilroy as “the only town in America where you can marinate a steak just by hanging it out on the clothesline.”

    We drive through Gilroy about once a month, and we just roll down the windows and BREATHE. I live 30 miles away, but when they harvest the fields, you can smell it up here in San Jose. Aah.

  9. Mutzali: Someday I want to get there for the garlic festival. These days, I only get to CA when it burns. Some of those fires (especially along the Klamath and Trinity rivers) I could smoke a ham from my bumper.

  10. there’s a restaurant in stockholm that have garlic in everything

  11. So I can’t convince you to try a garlic juice and scotch?

    Actually, I would try that, if nothing else, just for the experience.

  12. Hateful Coward!

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