Secret to a Proposal? Engagement Chicken

We’re still debating which came first, the chicken or the egg. But the chicken or the ring? That’s easy says the New York Post, which prints a recipe for something called ‘engagement chicken’ in today’s paper. The recipe originated at Glamour magazine in the 1990s and, according to urban legend, has been the linchpin in dozens of engagements. Story has it that the recipe was handed down to Glamour staffers everything someone asked what they should cook for a new boyfriend—and three of the four who cooked the dish ended up engaged in short order.

The Post focuses on Howard Stern’s wife, Beth Ostrosky, who says she used Engagement Chicken to get a ring from Stern, who had famously vowed never to get married again.

Here’s the recipe in full:

Engagement Chicken Recipe

1 whole chicken (approximately 4 pounds)
½ cup fresh lemon juice, plus 3 whole lemons — including 1 sliced for garnish
1 tablespoon kosher or coarse sea salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
Fresh herbs for garnish (4 rosemary sprigs, 4 sage sprigs, 8 thyme sprigs and 1 bunch flat-leaf parsley)

1) Position an oven rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees. 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 two 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 two 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.

4) Put the chicken in the oven, lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees, 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, return the chicken to the oven and roast for about one hour to one hour and 15 minutes, or until the meat thermometer reads 180 degrees 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 degrees takes approximately 18 to 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.

7) Any simple sides will work with a main course this splendid. You can go with either white wine (Riesling is nice) or red (try Pinot Noir). Happy cooking — and an even happier future to you and the lucky person you’ve deemed worthy of this dish!



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