By Gretchen McKay

Engagement Chicken

Posted April 23, 2011 by Gretchen McKay


  • 1 Whole Chicken, approx 4 pounds
  • 1/2 cup Fresh Lemon Juice, plus three whole Lemons, including 1 sliced for Garnish
  • 1 Tablespoon Kosher or coarse sea salt
  • 1/2 Teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Fresh herbs for garnish: 4 rosemary sprigs, 4 sage sprigs, 8 thyme sprigs and 1 bunch flat-leaf parsley


Serve your sweetie this easy roast chicken and, before you know it, he’ll pop The Question. Or so the editors of Glamour insist in their introduction to the magazine’s first cookbook, “100 Recipes Every Woman Should Know: Engagement Chicken and 99 Other Fabulous Dishes to Get You Everything You Want in Life,” which will be published early next month.

I got my boyfriend to propose decades ago, so I’ll never know if he would have gotten down on one knee after I put the lemony bird on the table. But it sure was delicious — so good, in fact, that I don’t dare serve it to any of my daughter’s male friends.

The cookbook’s “Beyond Basic Broccoli” recipe — broccoli sauteed in garlic, olive oil and sea salt — is the perfect side dish. Israeli couscous rounded out the meal.

Position a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees. Remove giblets from the chicken, wash inside and out with cold water, then let drain, cavity down, in a colander for 2 minutes.

Pat the chicken dry with paper towels. Place breast-side down in a medium roasting pan fitted with a rack and pour the lemon juice all over the chicken, inside and out. Season with salt and pepper inside and out.

Prick 2 whole lemons in three different places with a fork and place inside the cavity. 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.)

Put the chicken in the oven, lower temperature to 350 degrees, and roast, uncovered, for 15 minutes.

Remove the pan from the oven and turn the chicken breast-side up. Insert a meat thermometer in a thigh, and return the chicken to the oven, roasting for about 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes or until the thermometer reads 180 degrees and the juices run clear when the thigh is pricked with a fork. Continue roasting if necessary. Cooking times in ovens vary; roasting a chicken at 350 degrees takes approximately 18 to 20 minutes per pound, plus an additional 15 minutes.

Let 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.

Serves 2 to 4.

— “100 Recipes Every Woman Should Know: Engagement Chicken and 99 Other Fabulous Dishes to Get You Everything You Want in Life” by Cindi Leive and the Editors of Glamour (Hyperion, April 2011, $24.99)