Saturday, September 13, 2008

Already Married Chicken

The legend behind this dish is a little sketchy, some date this as 22 years back but others state this as a recent phenom but we do know that in its January 2004 issue, Glamour printed instructions on how to make Engagement Chicken, a dish that at that time had inspired the boyfriends of three women to pop the question. Since then the magazine has received numerous letters from women who say this simple meal was the magic trick that got them a rock.

“I made Engagement Chicken for my live-in boyfriend and less than two months later, I’m wearing a wedding band. This chicken is serious stuff. But please keep me anonymous — my husband doesn’t know he was reeled in by a chicken!” a Woburn, Mass., woman wrote to Glamour recently.

So what is so special about this recipe as Adapted from Marcella Hazan’s More Classic Italian Cooking? This simple and easy dish is basically one whole chicken, lemons and seasoned with salt and pepper so how could a plain chicken make a man pop the question?

I believe it's all about the setting, and the scene. There is something about pulling a whole roasted chicken out of the oven, picture June Cleaver, and doesn't every man deep down want his very own June Cleaver? But still why would the chicken make a man propose marriage? Jon Suder, said the well-dressed bird put marriage on his mind because it seemed like a wifely concoction. "It's a meal your wife would make. It got me thinking," said Suder, who now has three children with the chicken-maker.
While I did not cook this concoction up to get my ring, I have cooked this since and I have to agree. My man did swoon at the s
ight of his little wifey looking like June Cleaver or Martha Stewart. But since I am already married I realized that I needed to spiffy up this basic chicken in order to really impress my man. So after a little research and guidance from the queen of the home herself, Martha Stewart, here's my "Already Married" (but I want a great gift or bigger ring) Chicken.

Menu: Already Married Chicken, rosemary roasted potatoes and lemon butter asparagus

Already Married Chicken

Marinate the chicken for at least four hours and as long as two days for the best flavor and texture. A salt rub not only seasons the meat but tenderizes it as well.

1/3 cup coarse salt
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 five-pound roasting chicken
Gremolata (see below)
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
8 fresh, or dried bay leaves
4 lemons, quartered lengthwise, plus 3 lemons halved (optional)

  1. In a small bowl, combine salt and lemon juice. Loosen the skin of the chicken from the flesh. Rub mixture under the skin and in the cavity of the chicken. Place chicken in a large resealable plastic bag; chill at least 4 hours and up to 48 hours, turning occasionally.
  2. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Rinse all of the salt off the chicken with cold water; pat dry with a paper towel. Set aside.
  3. In a small bowl, combine gremolata and softened butter. Rub two-thirds of the gremolata mixture under the chicken's skin; rub the rest on the outside. Stuff the cavity with the bay leaves and the quartered lemons.
  4. Place chicken in a large roasting pan, breast-side up. Tuck the tips of the wings under the bottom of the bird. Transfer pan to oven. After 40 minutes, baste. If using lemon halves, place in pan, cut side down. Cover chicken with a 14-by-18-inch piece of aluminum foil. Reduce heat to 375 degrees.
  5. Cook, basting occasionally, until the skin is crisp and golden, 40 to 45 minutes more. The juices should run clear when the chicken is pierced; an instant-read thermometer should register 170 the deepest part of the thigh when done. Serve warm or at room temperature.
  • Zest of 6 lemons, grated or finely chopped
  • 1 small clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup chopped roughly fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 tablespoons chopped shallots (about 2 medium shallots)
On a cutting board, chop lemon zest, garlic, parsley, and shallots until well combined.

Rosemary Roasted Potatoes
1 1/2 pounds small red or white-skinned potatoes (or a mixture)

1/8 cup good olive oil
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoons minced garlic (3 cloves)
2 tablespoons minced fresh rosemary leaves

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Cut the potatoes in half or quarters and place in a bowl with the olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic and rosemary; toss until the potatoes are well coated. Dump the potatoes on a baking sheet and spread out into 1 layer; roast in the oven for at least 1 hour, or until browned and crisp. Flip twice with a spatula during cooking to ensure even browning.

Remove the potatoes from the oven, season to taste, and serve.

Lemon Butter Asparagus
24 thin asparagus spears
1 lemon
2 tablespoons butter
Olive oil
Kosher salt

  1. Wash asparagus and line them up on a cutting board with the tops even. Cut off tough bottom ends.
  2. Bring a skillet or oval casserole filled half full with salted water to boil. Dump in asparagus all at once.
  3. When water returns to the boil, cook asparagus until crisp-tender, about 1 to 3 minutes, depending on size. Drain. Return asparagus to hot pan, squeeze lemon juice over top. Add butter and a drizzle of olive oil, tossing to coat. Add kosher salt, to taste. Serve immediately.
Once everything is ready place on a candle lit table and serve up this fancy but simple chicken dinner. I'd even open up a bottle of white wine.

Now if you're feeling really happy homemaker go ahead and make a sweet dessert to wash it all down with. Possibly and apple pie with vanilla ice cream or maybe a chocolate cake.

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