A few years ago, I started hearing about this recipe called Engagement Chicken on all of the bridal and diamond forums I frequent. I checked out the recipe and thought, “Wow, this is just a plain old roasted chicken, the way my Mother always used to make it!” It’s incredibly simple – stuff a bird with lemons, drizzle with lemon juice in and out, season and roast.
Well, here’s my version of what I think would cause an immediate proposal. 🙂
- 1 whole chicken (3-4 pounds)
- a good knob of butter, softened
- sea salt
- freshly ground pepper
- 1 orange
- 1/2 an onion
- 12 cloves of garlic, peeeled
- 1 – 2 lb. of red potatoes, chopped into 1/2″ pieces
- drizzle of olive oil
Ensure your rack is in the upper 1/2 to 1/3 of your oven. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F. Wash the chicken inside and out with water, removing the giblets and neck, reserving for a good chicken stock later. Pat the chicken dry with a paper towel, and let it sit in a colander until it’s fully dried and room temperature. Look for any imperfections and missed plucked feathers all over the skin. Feathers are not really appetizing. 😉
Rub the softened butter all over the outside of the bird, and then, loosening the skin, rub some of the butter into the meat under the skin, pressing the skin into the meat to squish it down farther than you can reach. Make sure to get some of the butter into the cavity Chop up some of the onions and orange, and while squeezing together with about 6 of the garlic cloves in your hands, insert them into the cavity of the bird. Squeeze as much in there as you can, it’ll pay off later. Season with salt and pepper, salting a bit more heavily over the breasts. This will help crisp up the skin.
Lay out the potatoes along the bottom of the roasting pan, drizzling with olive oil, mincing the rest of the garlic cloves and sprinkling around the pan, seasoning with salt and pepper, and place the chicken, breast side up, on top of the potatoes. After the first 5 minutes, lower the heat to 350 degrees F and continue to cook, basting with the juices occasionally, for about the next hour or so.
You should continue to bake the bird until the skin looks golden and crispy, and the internal temperature reaches at least 170 degrees. and the juices run clear when the thigh is pricked with a fork. Most publications tell you to wait for 180 degrees, but I think that dries out the bird, too much. Just cook it to your comfort level, but I prefer mine right around 172-ish since it will cook a bit while you rest it on a tinfoil covered dish for 10 minutes before you carve. Serve with the potatoes and a veggie (I made some garlic sauteed spinach).