Allow me to preface this by saying there’s a reason I’ve never roasted a chicken before today. Several reasons, actually. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
Recipe #3 on Saveur’s recipe trend list is a simple roast chicken dish known as “engagement chicken.” The recipe was originally published in Glamour magazine in 2004. At the time, at least three marriage proposals had been linked to the dish. At last count earlier this year, at least 70 men had proposed some time after their girlfriends made them this meal, including Howard Stern to his now-wife Beth.
Ladies, I can’t attest to these claims, as my husband and I have been happily married for almost 10 years now, but I will say that my husband liked this chicken much more than I did.
“Enough to propose if we weren’t already married?” I challenged him.
“Maybe. Although most men would propose if you made them something with cheese,” he admitted.
Going into this as my first roasted chicken, I was a little apprehensive that I would overcook or dry out the chicken. However, following these instructions precisely, I was left with a perfectly moist bird. I didn’t want to eat the skin, so I found the meat a little lacking in flavor, but my husband, who did eat the skin, thought it was delicious.
So why don’t I roast chicken? If I told you, they’d probably have to revoke my food nerd card. But let’s just say I’m glad I’m already married, because now I don’t have to worry about attempting this again.
1 whole chicken (about 4 lbs.)
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
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, drain, and pat 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.
Prick the two lemons all over with a fork and place them deep inside the cavity. One of the lemons may stick out a bit.
Put the chicken in the oven, lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees, and roast, uncovered, for 15 minutes. Remove the roasting pan from the oven. Using tongs or two wooden spoons, turn the chicken breast-side up. Return the chicken to the oven and roast for about 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes or until a thermometer inserted into the thigh reads 180 degrees F and the juices run clear when the thigh is pricked with a fork. (The total cooking time should be approximately 18-20 minutes per pound, plus an additional 15 minutes, for a stuffed chicken that is 4 pounds.) Let the chicken rest for 10 minutes before carving.