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poultry essentials: engagement-to-marriage chicken

(1 rating)
Recipe by
Andy Anderson !
Wichita, KS

There is an urban legend out there that says, if you make an “engagement” chicken, your partner will ask for your hand in marriage. I will talk more about that later. What I have done is take the “engagement” chicken recipe, and kicked it up, so that after eating it, not only will there be an engagement, but also a drive to the 24-hour chapel-of-love for an immediate marriage. Well, I do not offer any guarantees; it is just a good chicken. So, you ready… Let’s get into the kitchen.

(1 rating)
yield serving(s)
prep time 4 Hr
cook time 1 Hr 25 Min
method Bake

Ingredients For poultry essentials: engagement-to-marriage chicken

  • 3 - 4 lb
    whole chicken, giblets removed
  • 2 qt
    cold filtered water
  • 4 Tbsp
    kosher salt, fine grind
  • 2 Tbsp
    buttermilk powder
  • 2 Tbsp
    sweet butter, unsalted, softened
  • 2 tsp
    lemon/pepper spice
  • 1/4 c
    lemon juice, freshly squeezed
  • 1 lg
    fresh lemon

How To Make poultry essentials: engagement-to-marriage chicken

  • 1
    The Legend of the Engagement Chicken In 1982, fashion editor Kim Bonnell, of Glamor magazine, shared the recipe with a coworker, who got engaged miraculously soon after making it for her boyfriend. As the recipe made its way around the office, more engagements reportedly followed, thereby establishing the mythos of this magical chicken. As Bonnell herself explained years later, she only meant to share an easy-to-prepare dinner recipe, but somehow the chicken took on a power all of its own. The next part of the engagement chicken story involves Howard Stern. In 2004, Bonnell was summoned back to Glamour to resurrect the story of the engagement chicken and it was published in the magazine, where it caught the eye of Beth Ostrosky, then-girlfriend of Howard Stern. The chicken made such an impression on Stern that he talked about it during his show the next day. A listener called in to inform him of the chicken’s reputation, and Stern, who had previously pledged never to remarry, called his girlfriend on-air to confirm. Since publishing the original recipe in 2004, over 72 women have called in to proclaim that making the chicken caused their boyfriend’s to propose. Make of it what you will, but stranger things have happened.
  • 2
    My own personal “engagement” story (Hint: It has nothing to do with poultry). About 20 years ago, my then girlfriend and I went to Las Vegas. I am not a gambler, but they have some good shows. Anyway, I found out years later that her intent was to get me really, really drunk, and drive to one of the wedding chapels, and marry me. There is not enough liquor in Las Vegas for that to ever have happened.
  • 3
    If you need more liquid to cover the bird, simply use the ratio of 2 tablespoons salt, per quart (liter) of water.
  • 4
    Lemon/Pepper spice can be found in most grocers, in the isle with all the other bottles of spices. If you have never had the opportunity to use this versatile spice mix, it will not disappoint.
  • 5
    Time to dialog about brining chicken. Brining is a cooking technique that can actually make a enormous difference in the quality of the meal you end up with. And it is quite simple; just soak your bird in a salt-water solution. You can add other ingredients to the brine; however, the essential ingredient is simply… salt. Two excellent reason to brine: 1. Brining chicken adds moisture, and helps to prevent it drying. 2. Brining enhances the bird’s natural flavor… making it yummy. But, all the water makes it impossible to get a crispy skin. No worries, just let the bird air dry in the refrigerator, for an hour, before cooking… problem solved. Of course, not everyone likes a crispy skin. If you are one of those folks, then just skip the air drying, and go directly to the cooking. Can I add other things to the brine besides salt? Absolutely. Many people add a bit of sugar, to tone down the saltiness, and if you are baking the chicken, the sugars caramelize, giving the skin a nice golden. If you are adding other dry spices, like: oregano, parsley flakes, thyme, rosemary, etc., then you will need to boil the water to infuse the flavors into the brine. Just make sure that the brine is nice and cold before adding the bird. Adding the bird to a warm brine is just asking for nasty bugs to grow. And, I hate it when that happens. Why use kosher salt? Table salt usually contains more stuff than salt. For example, it could have iodine, and other chemicals to prevent clumping. Kosher salt contains one thing… salt. Full Stop. If you are adventurous, you might try Himalayan salt. It gives a rich, earthy taste that goes beyond simple salt. The ratio of salt-to-water is 2 tablespoons of fine grind salt, per quart (liter) of filtered water. The bottom line is that if you do not have kosher salt, no worries. Just use what you have on hand.
  • 6
    Gather your Ingredients (mise en place).
  • 7
    Mix the brine ingredients together in cold water until completely dissolved, and add the chicken.
  • 8
    Place in the fridge, and brine for about four hours.
  • 9
    Remove from the brine, rinse off (inside and out), pat dry (inside and out), and place on a plate in the fridge to air dry for an hour.
  • 10
    Chef’s Tip: To make sure I remove as much of the liquid from the bird, I place a few wadded paper towels in the cavity, to soak up any additional liquid. After the hour, I remove it from the fridge, and discard the towels.
  • 11
    While the bird is chillin’ in the fridge, combine the butter and spice, then reserve.
  • 12
    Place a rack in the lower position, and preheat the oven to 400f (205c).
  • 13
    Extract the bird from the fridge, remove the paper towels, if using, and then carefully separate the skin on the breasts from the meat.
  • 14
    Chef’s Tip: I just use my hands to go under the skin; however, you could use the handle of a wooden spoon. Go as far under as you can, without breaking the skin.
  • 15
    Take the compound butter, and push it under the skin of the breasts… go as far as you can.
  • 16
    Pierce the lemon all over with a fork, place into the cavity of the chicken, and truss.
  • 17
    Place the chicken in the pan, and pour the lemon juice over the top; making sure that you get some into the bird’s cavity.
  • 18
    Place into the preheated oven, lower the heat to 350f (175c), and cook until an instant-read thermometer reads 165f (75c) when inserted into the breast, about 1 hour 15 minutes.
  • 19
  • So yummy
    Allow to rest 10 minutes before serving, then carve and pour the pan sauce over the top... so yummy. Enjoy
  • Stud Muffin
    Keep the faith, and keep cooking.

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