There has been a lot of talk about Engagement Chicken, especially in our house. About this time last year my husband and I were not married, nor engaged. In fact the hubby was going out of his way to tell me he was a man not likely to wed, all part of a clever rouse to increase my surprise. He even went so far as to call me up just to tell me he was watching Resevoir Dogs when he was really watching Father of the Bride. At about the same time I stumbled upon this recipe, and decided I was going to cook this the minute I got to Georgia. The lore is that cooking engagement chicken for your other will result in a proposal within the week. The chicken is that delicious, especially the “marry me” juices. I never got the chance. I arrived to a brightly lit apartment covered in sunflowers, a handsome man, a beautiful ring and a bottle of Cristal we later ate with chinese takeout. Never had a better meal. But it is hard not to when all your dreams come true. Sometime later I confessed my Engagement Chicken plan, and to my surprise David was offended I hadn’t made it. From that day forward he has felt he lost out on his rightful Engagement Chicken. I once purposed I’d prepare it if he put it in the oven, which he aptly declared sounded a lot like Married Chicken. So with everyday I promised to make it, it became more and more mythical.
But when I realized I had tons of lemons and all the herbs a girl could ask for in the garden, I had no more excuses. I made some tweaks to the classic recipe mostly adding the incredible herbs that are traditionally regulated to garnish into the bird along with several smashed gloves of garlic. I couldn’t figure out why you would NOT include all that lovely flavor. And the garlic especially was my favorite thing to gobble up post cooking. And let me say, I’d marry just about anyone who served me this bird.
Engagement Chicken (or if you’re already married…Good Decision Chicken)
Inspired by 100 Recipes Every Woman Should Know
What you need:
1 whole chicken (mine was just over 5 pounds)
1/2 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
2-3 whole lemons
1 tbps coarse sea salt
1/2 tps fresh ground pepper
4 sprigs rosemary
4 sprigs sage
8 sprigs thyme
6 smashed cloves of garlic (smash with the heel of your knife)
What you need to do:
Place an oven rack in the upper third of your oven and preheat to 400. Clean chicken out, removing giblets, and allowing to drain cavity side down in a colander for a few mins. Pat chicken down, place in an appropriately sized baking dish. Depending on the size of your chicken, but you want it to fit with some room but not a lot otherwise the juices will all burn up! Pour lemon juice over the bird inside and out. Season with sea salt and ground pepper, inside and out. Twine your herbs together by wrapping them with each other. Place deep into the bird along with your smashed garlic cloves. Roll your 2-3 whole lemons on a cutting board with the heel of your hand to juice them a bit and then prick them all over with a fork before placing in the cavity of the chicken. Again depending on the size of your bird, only 2 lemons may fit. Place chicken in the oven, reduce heat to 350 and roast uncovered for 15 mins. Pull chicken and place meat thermometer into the thigh, you want to sink it about half way it’s length careful not to hit bone as that will distort the temperature gauge. Place back in oven and continue roasting for 1 hour and 30 mins, or until the thermometer reads 180 degrees. Apparently the rule is 15-20 min a pound, but mine came out under so I recommend relying on the thermometer test. Let rest for 10 mins, pouring the ‘marry me juices’ over it a few times. Accept your proposal.
Now on this occasion, I had the absolute delight of having my very own sous chef. David and I cook together but rarely do I have someone say tell me anything you want and I will do it. So it was thrilling, though I confess in the end these potatoes were all Mim, except for my insistence on Dijon mustard.
Green Olive Dijon Roast potatoes
What you need:
7 or 8 small red potatoes
1 1/2 tbsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp garlic powder
sea salt and pepper
a dozen green olives
What you need to do:
Wash, quarter and toss potatoes with olive oil and Dijon mustard. Add garlic powder, cracked sea salt and pepper, toss. Slice into rings stuffed green olives and added them. Lightly grease a small casserole dish with olive oil and bake at 350 along with the chicken. If you want them browner put them in a larger dish in a single layer; if you like them softer, layer them. Ready when the chicken is.
The potatoes didn’t last long enough for a photo. So I give you my straight from the oven taste picture, I doubt you will be able to last longer 😉
In closing, two great cooks, Julia Child and James Patterson agree that the testament to a good cook is the roasting of a chicken. You will rise in their esteem with this dinner. Happy eating!