Ina Garten's Engagement Chicken :: It worked for me!

Last night I made Ina Garten's engagement chicken. My boyfriend & I are quickly approaching our seven year anniversary & my mother passed along the engagement chicken recipe with her best wishes (very subtle, mom). After I had a good laugh, I thought 'why not, it certainly couldn't hurt'!

Holding up to her ironclad reputation, Ina Garten 's recipe is flawless. The dinner was simple to make & turned out delicious. While the bird roasted in the oven an intoxicating smell of citrus filled our home. We both had a wonderful dinner & I couldn't help but think of the book: Like Water for Chocolate, by Laura Esquirel. If you are unfamiliar, it is a love story about two people that cannot be together. The main character, Tita pours her emotions into her meals (as her only  means of communicating with her Lover). Her meals in turn create powerful magic &  make her emotions manifest out in the world. It made me smile to think of Tita, as I prepared the engagement chicken recipe. I said a little prayer as I put the bird in the oven & let the magic happen.


Rob & I got engaged two months later. Which might seem like a long time for the magic to take effect, but considering our batting average (so to speak), I fully believe this recipe helped set something in motion. Perhaps it was simply the intention of a nice family meal together, a scheduled time where we simply enjoy each other company without any other distractions (oh like a basketball game in the background for example). At any rate, I  immediately added this to my kitchen tool belt & filed it under easy, delicious, inexpensive dinner. This will be meal to enjoy again & again.

Ina Garten's Engagement Chicken
  • 1 (4 to 5 pound) roasting chicken
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 lemons
  • 1 whole head garlic, cut in 1/2 crosswise
  • Good olive oil
  • 2 Spanish onions, peeled and thickly sliced
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock, (preferably homemade)
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Remove and discard the chicken giblets. Pat the outside dry. Liberally salt and pepper the inside of the chicken. Cut the lemons in quarters, place 2 quarters in the chicken along with the garlic and reserve the rest of the lemons. Brush the outside of the chicken with olive oil and sprinkle the chicken liberally with salt and pepper. Tie the legs together with kitchen string and tuck the wing tips under the body of the chicken. Place the chicken in a small (11 by 14-inch) roasting pan. (If the pan is too large, the onions will burn.) Place the reserved lemons and the sliced onions in a large bowl and toss with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 1 teaspoon of salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper. Pour the mixture around the chicken in the pan.

Roast the chicken for about 1 hour and 15 minutes, until the juices run clear when you cut between a leg and a thigh. Remove the chicken to a platter, cover with aluminum foil, and allow to rest for 10 minutes while you prepare the sauce, leaving the lemons and onions in the pan.

Place the pan on top of the stove and turn the heat to medium-high. Add the wine and stir with a wooden spoon to scrape up the brown bits. Add the stock and sprinkle on the flour, stirring constantly for a minute, until the sauce thickens. Add any juices that collect under the chicken. Serve with the lemons, onions, and warm sauce.

Pass this recipe along to a friend or make it for you & your honey.  I would love to hear how the engagement chicken recipe worked for you!
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