Seasons eatings - Libby and Ken Morgan's organic garlic

11.20.2012


Ken and Libby Morgan live on the high slopes of Mount Canobolas just out of Orange. Their block is steep and surrounded by forest and scrub. It also offers a panoramic view of the Nashdale valley which spreads out before the house like a patchworked apron of vineyards, orchards, farmland and waterways. The Morgans have lived here for just over 15 years and began growing organic garlic on a commercial scale for the past four.


With its terraced rows of olive trees, vegetable gardens, stone pizza oven and outhouses (all built by Ken), cyprus pines and banks of roses and lavender; visiting the Morgans is like stepping straight into Liguria or possibly Tuscany. Libby, with a background in horticulture, has a simple approach to her gardening, "I do it to grow fresh food for our kids and friends. The garlic seemed particularly suited to our soil and climate and so I just kept growing more!" Now they have nearly an acre of organic garlic plants and will add to that next year.


I left this beautiful place last week inspired to go straight home and get cracking on my own garden, but the armful of fresh garlic Libby sent me away with proved too distracting. Instead we preserved most of the garlic in a confit and used the rest in a roast dish of chicken, garlic and tarragon (both recipes below).

 

 Roast chicken pieces with tarragon and garlic


This is one of Libby and Ken's favourites and looks set to become a staple in this house too. It comes from Italian chef Stefano Manfredi, is easy to throw together and acts as a perfect showcase for the Morgans' beautiful garlic. The original recipe called for chicken thighs with bone in and skin on but I used a whole jointed Gilgandra chicken from our local butchers M&Js Butchery (who also stock Morganics garlic - snap!).  It would be beautiful with a green salad and some nice crusty bread.

1 free-range chicken, jointed
1/2 cup french tarragon leaves, picked from stems
6 tbspn extra virgin olive oi
20 large garlic cloves, peeled
6-8 stems french tarragon
salt and pepper
1 cup chicken stock

Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Force a finger between each chicken piece's skin and flesh to make a pocket don't remove skin entirely. Push a few tarragon leaves into opening and spread over the flesh. Rub each with olive oil and place in an oven dish.  Surround chicken with garlic cloves and sprinkle remaining olive oil on the garlic.  Season with salt and pepper and roast for 15 minutes.  Add tarragon stems and chicken stock to roasting chicken.  Roast for 10 minutes more then remove and serve.



Confit garlic


This recipe comes from a great friend and great cook, who also happens to be known as Cook, or rather Ms Elise Cook. She once worked in a cafe that would confit all of its garlic and use the soft, sweet cloves in all of their aiolis, salad dressings and pasta dishes. The method is simple and the results AMAZING. Use the confit garlic wherever fresh cloves are required - they add a richer almost caramelised garlic flavour to pretty much everything.

2 bulbs of garlic
Olive oil

Peel the garlic cloves and place in the base of a small, heavy-based saucepan. Cover with olive oil, so the oil is about 1/2 a centimetre over the garlic. Place this in a very low oven (120 fan forced) for 2 hours or until the cloves are soft and a rich golden colour. You can cook these on the stove-top but the garlic will smell quite strong as it cooks! In this case, begin to cook the garlic on medium heat and just when small bubbles start to appear in the saucepan reduce the heat to its lowest setting and cook for about 35 minutes. Store, still covered by the oil, in a sterilised jar for up to a month.

From December through to April, Morganics garlic can be purchased at the Orange Farmers Market (on the second Saturday of the month), M&J's Butchers, Totally Local, Sydney's weekly Everleigh markets, Northside and French's Forest markets.

15 comments:

  1. Looks delightful! Thanks for sharing these beautiful photos!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My pleasure! Thanks so much for your comment, Sophie

      Delete
  2. What a beautiful property...this sounds idyllic!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Jane. Hope you have a great weekend, sophie

      Delete
  3. I was just going to ask you where you source garlic from. It's fairly difficult to find any local bulbs. Even 'A slice of Orange' was out of stock.
    I never thought to check at the butchers, its only just up the street too.
    x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Zara, I think that Libby and Ken are just starting to get the garlic out, it's only the very beginning of their season but M&J;s should have some or if not, will know when it will arrive. Sophie

      Delete
  4. Sophie do they ever open their property to the public? It's beautiful and I love the fact that they've built it slowly themselves over a number of years. You're right it could be on the slopes of Liguria. Just needs a touch of turquoise in the background :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Margaret, I'm not sure but will find out and post back here if so! Sophie

      Delete
  5. Tarragon with roast chicken would have to be 2 of my favourite flavours in the world. It was great reading about confit garlic. I often feel like I'm not getting the most out of garlic when I cook with it. I always equate how cooked garlic should smell with that delicious waft you get when you enter an Italian restaurant. Maybe this will be the secret! Thanks Sophie. Lx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Lisa, thanks so much for your comment - the tarragon chicken recipe really is great, and SO easy. And I can't recommend making a confit of your garlic enough, it makes everything that much better, Sophx

      Delete
  6. Confit! I never thought of that! Thank you, I have many MANY heads of just-pulled garlic drying in the shed, I'm going to try your (or Cook's!) confit recipe. Wonderful!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Fiona,

      I just love your blog, only discovered it this week and am so glad. Thanks for your comment, the confit recipe rocks - please give it a go! Sophie

      Delete
  7. Soph, you make me hungry every time I visit your blog and this post is no exception.I wish we could grow Garlic up here but I think it does so much better in the cooler climates. I think having a farm like this would be Hal's dream.X

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Fliss, thanks so much for swinging by! I live about 15 mins from the Morgans and still can't manage to grow garlic, but that has more to do with my black thumbs than soil and climate!Sxxx

      Delete

local is lovely All rights reserved
Design + Development by Ana Degenaar