Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Engagement Chicken, with Roasted Broccoli and Crispy Smashed Potatoes

Yes, you read that right: Engagement Chicken.   I found this recipe in Glamour magazine ages ago.   This chicken is apparently known to make men swoon and see the wife potential in the maker of this chicken.  So if you are hoping to seal the deal, making this chicken might help make that happen.  If you are just looking for a great roasted chicken recipe, this is definitely a good one.

Engagement Chicken

Serves: 2-4


  • 1 whole chicken
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice, plus 3 whole lemons – including one sliced for garnish
  • 1 Tbsp. kosher or sea salt
  • ½ tsp. fresh ground pepper
  • Fresh herbs (4 rosemary sprigs, 4 sage sprigs, 8 thyme sprigs, 1 bunch flat leaf parsley).  Note: You can just use whatever you have, I’ve even used dried herbs – one of my favorites is the Bavarian seasoning from Penzey’s spices.)   Oh! – I also add a couple garlic cloves.    
  1. Position an oven rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat oven to 400°F.   Remove the giblets from the chicken, wash the chicken inside and out with cold water, let the chicken drain, cavity down, in a colander for 2 minutes.  
  2. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels.  Place the chicken breast-side down in a medium roasting pan fitted with a rack (if you don’t have a rack you can use celery or something to keep the chicken up off of the pan to allow for airflow).   Pour the lemon juice all over the chicken, both inside and out.  Season the chicken all over with salt and pepper inside and out.
  3. Prick 2 whole lemons 3 times each in different places with a fork and place them deep inside the cavity.    You can also just cut the lemons in half.    Tip: If the lemonds are stiff, roll them on the countertop with your palm to get the juices flowing. 
  4. Add the fresh herbs and garlic to the cavity as well.
  5. Tie the legs with a wet string and cut a slit in the side of the chicken and tuck the wings in.  These two steps keep the legs and wings from sticking out and burning or cooking too soon.
  6. Put the chicken in the oven, lower the oven temperature to 375°F, and roast uncovered for 15 minutes.  
  7. 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 continue roasting for about 60-75 minutes, or until a meat thermometer reads 180°F and the juices run clear when the thigh is pricked with a fork.  
  8. Let the chicken rest for 10 minutes before carving.   Pour the juices from the pan on top of the sliced chicken, as this is said to be the “marry me juice.”   Garnish with herbs and fresh lemon slices.  

Draining my Chicken

Filling the Cavity with lemons, garlic and herbs

Cut a whole in the side
Tuck the wing in the hole

Tie the legs together with wet string
Beautiful Roasted Chicken resting before carving

One of my favorite spices for poultry
FYI - Roasting a chicken does not take quite so long as roasting a turkey, however a large chicken could still take over 2 hours to roast.   As a general rule, calculate a cooking time of 20 minutes per pound of meat plus an additional 10 - 20 minutes at a temperature of 375ºF (190ºC).  Therefore, a 5 lb. chicken will need to be roasting in the oven for at least 1h 50 mins.  A 5 lb bird will serve between 4 - 5 people.   Some people prefer to set the oven temperature to 450ºF (230ºC) and roast the bird at this high temperature for the last 10 - 15 minutes. The rest of the time the chicken should be roasted at 375ºF (190ºC). The surge of heat will result in a really crispy and brown skin and deliciously succulent meat.

This chicken is really good and easy.    Let me know if anything magical happens after serving it.

I served it with roasted broccoli and smashed potatoes.  (And a full glass of un-oaked Chardonnay.)

Roasted Broccoli
Roasted Broccoli


  • Head of broccoli
  • Olive Oil
  • S&P
  • Fresh-grated parmesan
  1. Wash and dry the broccoli.   Cut into bite size pieces.  You can also cheat and just buy a bag of broccoli that is ready to go.  
  2. Toss the broccoli with a couple Tablespoons of olive oil and salt and pepper.
  3. Lay out flat on a roasting pan and roast in the oven for 12 minutes at 425 ºF.
  4. Once you plate it, top with a little bit of fresh-grated parmesan.   

Note: I actually put it in the oven after I took the chicken out and roasted it while the chicken was resting.   

Experiment: I was recently at a cooking class where the chef told us to always blanch green vegetables before eating raw or cooking.   The reason for blanching is to help preserve the color.  You basically plunge the vegetable into boiling water, removed after a brief, timed interval, and finally plunged into iced water or placed under cold running water (shocked) to halt the cooking process and set the color.  You also retain more nutrients than boiling.    Therefore, with the broccoli, I blanched half and left the other half raw and then followed the recipe above.  Surprisingly, I liked the raw broccoli better; I thought it had a richer flavor.  The blanched broccoli tasted watered down to me.

Raw Broccoli
Blanched Broccoli with bright green color

Crispy Smashed Potatoes
Crispy Smashed Potatoes

  • 2 pounds small red potatoes (1 1/2 – 2″ diameter)
  • 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (more if needed)
  • 1 teaspoon thyme leaves or rosemary
  • 2 minced garlic cloves
  • Fresh ground salt and pepper to taste
  • Fresh-grated parmesan

  1. Boil potatoes in salted water until tender (test with a fork and if it goes in smoothly then they are done; about 20 minutes. 
  2. When the potatoes are done drain, and let cool for 10 minutes.  Toss potatoes with 3 tablespoons olive oil making sure each is coated with oil.  Take a cup and “smash” each potato to about 1/3 – 1/2 in thick.
  3. Drizzle another 3 tablespoons olive oil on the potatoes, sprinkle with thyme leaves, garlic, and salt and pepper.  Place the potatoes in your 500 degree oven on the top rack and roast for 20-30 minutes.   
  4. When done, sprinkle with fresh-grated parmesan.   
Note:  These were really good left over too.  I just warmed them up in the oven the next day.   

Smashing the potatoes with a glass

This is a great meal in the fall and winter.  And it’s cheap.  You can make this meal and feed four people for less than $20.

Let me know if this "engagement" chicken results in a proposal or creates some other kind of magic.


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