Engagement Chicken, an herb roast chicken, has that magical home-cooked goodness that will make your sweetheart fall for you all over again.
Friends, I have some news to share.
Jonathan and I are engaged.
In my post last week, I wrote about our hiking trip in White Mountain National Forest and shared some pictures. What I didn’t tell you at the time was that Jonathan proposed to me during the hike. I wanted to tell family and friends about it first before sharing the news on the blog. On our way down the mountain, Jonathan suggested checking out this spot off the side of the trail where there was a view. At that point, I suspected nothing. He took off his backpack and put it down on the rock. Then he knelt down to get something out of his backpack and said he had a gift for me. He got on one knee and asked me to marry him and presented me with a diamond ring more beautiful and sparkly than anything I could have imagined.
I was not shocked. We had discussed our future together many times, and he had asked me to measure my finger a couple months earlier. (Turns out I did it wrong and I had to get the ring resized, but that was no problem.) But he still surprised me because I had no idea it was going to be that day, and I really wasn’t expecting it.
We called my parents that night. That weekend we had Jonathan’s family over for dinner and told them the news in person. We’re both very happy and excited, and our families are too.
A couple people asked me if I was going to post a special engagement dinner on the blog. Because I love cheesy stuff like that, I decided to post a roast chicken recipe.
If you haven’t heard of it before, Engagement Chicken is a legendary roast chicken recipe that claims to cause men to propose. Cook this chicken for your boyfriend, and he’ll be your fiancé in no time. The recipe is from the 80s but was published in Glamour Magazine in 2003. It’s a heavily lemon-flavored roast chicken. You can read more about the history of the dish on the Wikipedia page. You can read the recipe from Glamour here.
Of course there are some criticisms and questions about this. Like, what if the man is vegetarian? Does it work for same-sex couples? Why is it the woman’s job to cook for the man?
And could it be that those women’s boyfriends were already thinking about marrying them before they ate the chicken, and it’s just a coincidence that they proposed after being fed that meal?
But do you want me to believe there’s nothing magical in cooking a special meal for someone you love?
There’s too strong a link between food and love. I know I think about food more than most people, but I think everyone feels this to some degree. People bond over food in so many ways, from feeding a baby to cooking a holiday dinner for family to bringing food to a friend going through a tough time. It’s not even an exclusively human thing; even some animals bond with each other by sharing food.
It makes me happy to cook for others and see them enjoy the meal I made. Jonathan knows he can always put a smile on my face by bringing home dessert.
I am sure it’s not the reason he proposed, but I know Jonathan loves my cooking.
Instead of making the Glamour recipe, I decided to share my own go-to roast chicken recipe in honor of this special occasion.
It’s actually been over a year since I made this roast chicken for Jonathan. We’d been buying some supermarket rotisserie chickens every now and then, especially during the summer, because they’re a convenient healthy option that doesn’t require turning on the oven. But I think from eating those rotisserie chickens, I started to think about roast chicken as kind of bland and boring.
When we were eating this chicken, about 10 minutes after I finished taking photos, we both kind of looked at each other like, why don’t we eat this every single week?
The skin was crispy. The meat was perfect. I seriously just forgot roast chicken could taste that delicious until we ate this Sunday night.
You might be looking at the photo and wondering, are those herbs on the skin burnt? I picked the blackest herb I could find off the skin and ate it by itself to see if it was burnt or just turned that dark color. It was crispy and salty and herby and didn’t taste burnt at all. These herbs really add that special touch to the chicken.
At the end of the Glamour recipe, they say, “…here’s the secret: Pour the juices from the roasting pan on top of the sliced chicken— this is the “marry me juice.”” Make fun of Glamour all you want, but that pan juice is priceless. I served this chicken with Jonathan’s favorite carb, white rice, and I spooned some of the pan juice over the chicken and some over the rice. The chicken juice over the rice was sooo good.
For those of you who are wondering about making a whole chicken for just two people, do it! You can wrap up some leftovers for your guest to take home and have for lunch the next day and know he or she will be thinking about you. (Before we lived together, I used to always send Jonathan home Wednesday nights with some leftovers.) We’re actually pretty excited about eating the second half of this chicken tomorrow night after work.
Here are some of the main ingredients. That’s a 5 ½ pound chicken, some fresh thyme, sage, and marjoram, lemon, garlic, and half a sweet onion.
Make sure you dry the chicken really well. This helps the skin get crispy, so don’t skimp here trying to save a couple paper towels.
Here’s the chicken all stuffed:
I usually roast my chicken in a large cast-iron skillet. If your skillet is not naked cast-iron, make sure you check what temperature it’s safe to use at. For example, I have seen some enamel-covered cast iron pans that say oven safe to 400o, but this recipe uses a 450o oven. Check to be safe. Of course you can also use a roasting pan.
I mixed the chopped herbs together with some canola oil and salt and pepper.
Here it is ready to go into the oven:
When I already have the oven on for a recipe, I like roasting vegetables. I didn’t include the green beans in the picture below in the recipe instructions, but they’re very easy to make. I tossed them with olive oil and salt and pepper and put them in a baking pan. I put them in the bottom oven rack (so underneath the rack with the chicken) and roasted for 15 minutes toward the end of the chicken’s cooking time.
Even if you’re already married or not seeking to get engaged, trust me, you’ll want to try this herb roast chicken.