Admission number 1: the real name of this recipe is actually “Engagement Chicken.”
Admission number 2: I totally made said Engagement Chicken before LSF and I got engaged, hoping that we would get engaged.
Admission number 3: admissions numbers 1 and 2 just don’t matter: this recipe is gosh darned delicious, no matter your current marital status.
The story behind Engagment Chicken comes from Glamour, where apparently an editor gave the recipe to an assistant as a fail-proof recipe. Soon after, the assistant got engaged. And then it kept happening to anyone who made it. However, it’s just a fail-proof, easy-as-it gets recipe that LSF still requests to this day because it’s good.
I’ve made a Glamour recipe on here before in the form of Spicy Peanut Noodles. Like the peanut noodles, this recipe is also from 100 Recipes Every Woman Should Know. This cookbook, without a doubt, is one of the single greatest knock-your-socks-off-with-every-recipe cookbooks I’ve ever bought. It’s worth an investment. So without further ado, let’s get on with Lemon Roasted Chicken, aka, Engagement Chicken.
First, the ingredients. Are you ready? There’s a ton of them. One whole 3-4 lb. chicken* (I got a fryer, not a roaster, since fryers are smaller and the right size typically), 4 lemons, salt and pepper. And that’s it.
*If you go to Fresh Market you can actually buy the chicken de-stuff-ified, aka, no taking out giblets and other “parts” that might come packaged inside. It makes me happy.
Preheat the oven to 400°.
Then, rinse the chicken off.
Plop it down into a strainer, cavity down, for about 2 minutes.
Next, put the chicken over a racked roasting pan and squeeze the juice of 2 lemons all over both sides and the inside too. I chose to use a lemon juicer for this. It’s so handy. Now here’s the thing about lemons: LSF hates them. However, this does NOT make the chicken taste like lemons. It just seals in a juiciness that is almost unparalleled.
Then, generously salt and pepper both sides and the inside of the chicken. After, it should look something like this.
Now comes the fun part: the stuffing of the lemons.
Pierce the remaining 2 lemons with a fork 3-5 times in different places on the lemon. (If the lemons are stiff, roll them around on the countertop. It helps. I promise.)
Once the lemons are all pierced and you’re done holding them up on your fork a la Lion King Circle of Life, stuff one waaay into the chicken. Seriously, as far as it’ll go.
Then the other. The other one will probably be sticking out a little bit, but that’s ok. Your chicken should be breast-side down, and so the entire thing will look like this.
So now you’re ready to cook! And this is the only “tricky” part of the entire recipe, I think. Lower the temperature of the oven to 350° and put the chicken in for 15 minutes.
Then, after 15 minutes are up, take the chicken out. It’ll look like this.
Then, flip the bird over. If you can Tell me how to do this without that sticky-outy lemon coming out and having to re-insert it, let me know. I have yet to be successful in this endeavor.
Then put the entire thing back in the oven for about an hour 15 minutes-ish. The official directions are this: 18-20 minutes per pound, plus an additional 15 minutes. So if you round up…a 3-pound bird takes 60 minutes (20 minutes per pound) + 15 minutes.
When it’s done, it will be glorious. Let the bird stand about 10 minutes or so, which is a perfect time to plop in a baking sheet of asparagus you had drizzled with olive oil, salt and pepper (and perhaps some parmesan cheese too).
I served it with some roasted potatoes I had chopped up, drizzled with olive oil, salt and pepper and put in 45 minutes before the chicken was done.
And here’s the entire plate! So easy. So delicious. Enjoy!
Serves 2 to 4
- 1 whole chicken (approximately 4 pounds)
- 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice, plus 3 whole lemons—including 1 sliced for garnish
- 1 tablespoon kosher or coarse sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- Fresh herbs for garnish (4 rosemary sprigs, 4 sage sprigs, 8 thyme sprigs, and 1 bunch fl at-leaf parsley)
1. Position an oven rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat the oven to 400°F. Remove the giblets from the chicken, wash the chicken inside and out with cold water, then 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 and 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 three times each in three different places with a fork and place them deep inside the cavity. Chicken cavity size may vary, so if one lemon is partly sticking out, that’s fine. (Tip: If the lemons are stiff, roll them on the countertop with your palm before pricking to get the juices flowing.)
4. Put the chicken in the oven, lower the oven temperature to 350°F, and roast, uncovered, for 15 minutes.
5. Remove the roasting pan from the oven. Using tongs or two wooden spoons, turn the chicken breast- side up. Insert a meat thermometer in the thigh, and return the chicken to the oven and roast for about 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes or until the meat thermometer reads 180°F and the juices run clear when the thigh is pricked with a fork. Continue roasting if necessary. Keep in mind that cooking times in different ovens vary; roasting a chicken at 350°F takes approximately 18-20 minutes per pound, plus an additional 15 minutes.
6. Let the chicken rest for 10 minutes before carving. And here’s the secret: Pour the juices from the roasting pan on top of the sliced chicken— this is the “marry me juice.” Garnish with fresh herbs and lemon slices.