When my niece Nina heard about a roasted chicken recipe that had men proposing marriage to their girlfriends, she immediately thought of her single aunt and sent me the cookbook. This cookbook, 100 Recipes Every Woman Should Know is from the editors of Glamour Magazine. This was the cookbook where I found and posted the No-Fail Kale Caesar Salad, which has become my favorite go to salad for kale. Nina didn’t send me the cookbook for the salad recipe though. It was for the roasted chicken recipe, otherwise known as the Engagement Chicken.
The story goes back over 25 years ago when an editor for Glamour magazine gave her assistant this recipe to prepare dinner for her boyfriend. About a month later, the boyfriend proposed and had commented that the dinner was one “your wife would make” and had begun thinking of her in that way. Hearing that, the recipe was passed among the Glamour staff resulting in one after another proposals! In fact, the forward of the book lists over 70 engagement stories following this chicken dinner!
Ina Garten also did an episode on the Engagement Chicken and its history. If you watch Ina’s show, chicken is her husband’s favorite Friday night dinner. Ina did tweak the recipe a bit adding in onions and chicken broth to this lemon and herb roasted chicken. Glamour’s recipe uses whole lemons pierced with a fork and placed inside the bird. Then plenty of lemon juice is poured over the bird creating a very moist and tender chicken.
Now I know you’re all wondering what happened to me when I made this bird. Well, I’ve had this cookbook almost a year now and I’ve enjoyed many of the recipes. I finally made this last week .… for my son. So, no story to report on my end but I do pity the girl who tries to steal my son’s heart because she better know how to cook! He is definitely spoiled in that area!!
Adapted from 100 Recipes Every Woman Should Know
Serves 2 to 4
1 whole chicken (approximately 4-5 pounds)
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
3 whole lemons—2 for stuffing in the bird, 1 sliced for garnish
1 tablespoon kosher or coarse sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
½ cup chicken broth (optional)
Fresh herbs for garnish (4 rosemary sprigs, 4 sage sprigs, 8 thyme sprigs, and 1 bunch fl at-leaf parsley)
Position an oven rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat the oven to 400°F. Remove the giblets from the chicken, wash the chicken inside and out with cold water, then let the chicken drain, cavity down, in a colander for 2 minutes.
Pat the chicken dry with paper towels. Place the chicken breast-side down in a medium roasting pan fitted with a rack. Season the chicken all over with salt and pepper inside and out. Prick 2 whole lemons with a fork and place them deep inside the cavity. Chicken cavity size may vary, so if one lemon is partly sticking out, that’s fine. (Tip: If the lemons are stiff, roll them on the countertop with your palm before pricking to get the juices flowing.) Pour the lemon juice all over the chicken, both inside and out.
Put the chicken in the oven, lower the oven temperature to 350°F, and roast, uncovered, for 15 minutes.
Remove the roasting pan from the oven. Using tongs or two wooden spoons, turn the chicken breast- side up. Return the chicken to the oven and roast for about 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes or until a meat thermometer reads 180°F and the juices run clear when the thigh is pricked with a fork. Check the bird to make sure the lemon juice does not completely evaporate and add in more juice or chicken broth. Continue roasting if necessary. Keep in mind that cooking times in different ovens vary; roasting a chicken at 350°F takes approximately 18-20 minutes per pound, plus an additional 15 minutes.
Let the chicken rest for 10 minutes before carving. And here’s the secret: Pour the juices from the roasting pan on top of the sliced chicken— this is the “marry me juice.” I also removed the lemons, cut them in half and squeezed the warm juices over the bird. Garnish with fresh herbs and lemon slices.