Saturday, February 5, 2011

Not Really Engagement Chicken

There is an urban legend of the Engagement Chicken, a dish that if made for your boyfriend, he will be so impressed with your domestic skills he'll propose.

I've been married for a year and a half, so I'm not putting it to the test, but I thought it might be a good way to make my first attempt at roasting a whole chicken.  After research, I decided to take aspects of recipes from Ina Garten, the Pioneer Woman, and good old Joy of Cooking .

The first step of making roast chicken is by far the hardest.  You have to remove the neck and innards and rinse the raw bird.  Because he is a good person, my husband did that part for me while I covered my eyes and ran out of the kitchen.

After it was all clean and patted dry with paper towels, I stuffed a halved lemon and 4 cloves of garlic inside, and coated the entire chicken with olive oil.  After coating with oil, I sprinkled liberally with salt, pepper, sage, and thyme.

The best part is that that's all you need to do to prepare it.  It went into a 400 degree oven for an hour and a half.  All my cookbooks said to cook until a meat thermometer read 180 degrees and the juices ran clear when pierced.  Somehow I have two fancy digital instant read thermometers and neither would register a temperature, so I may have cooked a few minutes extra just to be sure.  Food borne illnesses are not romantic.  

The drippings in the roasting pan went into a basic gravy.

I made basic bread stuffing to serve alongside.

Bread Stuffing
based on the Joy of Cooking

1/2 pound cubed bread
2 Tablespoons butter
1 medium onion, chopped
1 large stalk of celery, chopped
1 Tablespoon dried parsley, or 1/4 cup fresh
1/2 teaspoon dried sage
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup chicken broth or stock

In a medium skillet, melt butter and saute onion and celery about 7 minutes, or until onion is translucent.
Turn off heat, and mix in spices.
Toss with bread cubes and pour into a baking dish.
Pour chicken broth or stock over bread mixture and toss to combine.
Bake in a 400 degree oven 30 minutes or until lightly brown.

Pan Gravy
based on the Joy of Cooking

Drippings in roasting pan
1/4 cup white wine or water
3/4 cup chicken broth or stock
1 Tablespoon butter
1 Table spoon flour
salt and pepper

After removing chicken from roasting pan, place pan over two burners on medium high and pour in wine or water.  
Use a wooden spoon to scrape any bits off the bottom of the pan and simmer gently for 5 minutes.  
Pour into a gravy separator and discard fat.  
Add drippings to a saucepan with chicken broth.  
Heat to a simmer over medium high heat.  
In a small bowl, mash together butter and flour.  
Add a few teaspoons of broth mixture to make a paste.  
Add paste to saucepan slowly, stirring to combine completely.  
Season to taste with salt and pepper.  
Simmer for a few minutes until gravy reaches desired thickness.  

Make an appointment at Vera Wang because marriage proposals might be coming!


  1. Hi Anne...I had no idea you started this blog...what fun!!!This meal looks delicious, and I'm sure you know by now that I am quite the stranger when it comes to the kitchen...though I do intend to change that soon. I will be sure to keep checking in here for your tips :)

    <3 Cousin Beth

  2. You didn't try to cook it upside down! This is a family tradition.

  3. @Elizabeth Thanks, Beth! And huge congratulations to you - we are thrilled for you and Alex!

  4. I have had this on my "to make" list for almost a year! Now I definitely will try it!

  5. @*jackie* - Give it a try, J, but be prepared for a lot of leftovers! I'm already planning to do chicken pot pie and some sort of pulled buffalo chicken thing later in the week.


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