The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. We keep hearing that and to prove that it is indeed true, Glamour magazine published the Engagement Chicken recipe. The phenomenon started 26 years ago when apparently, a Glamour editor passed the recipe to her assistant. She made it for her boyfriend who loved it and then proposed a month later. It was passed on from assistant to assistant, proposals followed and Glamour decided to share it with its readers in 2003. And interestingly enough, letters telling their stories of whirlwind engagements after serving the chicken were sent to the magazine publication. And the one responsible for those engagements was the Engagement Chicken recipe, all 70 of them. I was curious mainly because when I looked at the recipe, there was nothing gourmet-y about the ingredients. Anyway, I tried it and served it to the boys, my husband and son. My husband liked it but my son LOVED it! I asked him what he loved about it and he said he doesn’t know. There was something about that roast. Since then, that was two years ago, he would request for the roast chicken dinner. So here’s the recipe.
- 1 whole chicken, approximately 1.5 kg (or 3 lbs as published in America)
- 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
- 2 whole lemons, plus 1 for garnish
- 1 tbs Kosher or sea salt
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
1. Preheat oven to 200C degrees. Remove giblets from the chicken. Wash it with cold water inside and out and let it drain, cavity down in a colander until it reaches room temperature (about 15 minutes). Pat it dry with paper towel.
2. Pour lemon juice all over chicken, inside and out. Season with salt and pepper. Now prick the two whole lemons with a fork three times. It doesn’t say why three times but maybe it is part of the magic. 🙂
3. Place lemons deep inside the chicken cavity. Cavities vary so if one lemon partially sticks out, that is fine.
4. Place the chicken, breast-side down on a rack in an oven tray. Lower heat to 180C degrees and cook chicken for 15 minutes. The trick into turning the chicken 15 minutes into cooking keeps it moist.
5. Remove pan from the oven and using spatulas, turn chicken breast-side up and cook for another 35 minutes. Keep in mind that cooking times vary in different ovens. Test for doneness by inserting a thermometer inside thighs (it should read 80C degrees) or juices should run clear when chicken is pricked with a fork. Continue roasting if necessary.
6. Let the chicken rest for 10 minutes before carving. And here’s the secret, which is not a secret anymore: Pour the juices from the roasting pan on top of the sliced chicken. Apparently, this is the “marry-me juice”. Garnish with herbs. I serve it usually with roast vegetables like baby potatoes, pumpkin and carrots.
So, there you go. Whether the ‘marry-me juice” really is the secret ingredient or not, this dish is worth learning by any woman. Simple and it serves up home-cooked goodness. And in the future, if I think my son may have found the right woman, I may even pass on the Engagement Chicken recipe to her. 🙂