Last Call for Valentine's Day: Engagement Chicken (Recipe)

​First comes love, then comes marriage...

Wait! We forgot the chicken.

That's right. What if a chicken were the only thing stopping you from getting that coveted proposal you've been so patiently (or, not so patiently) awaiting? Surely, you've heard it before:

"The way to a man's heart is through his stomach." But what if the way

to the alter were just as simple?

Ladies: If you've been wondering what's taking your man so long to seal his fate with you, maybe this is - wait for it - your fault. Maybe he's been waiting for the chicken. And you, you've been selfishly whining and complaining to your girlfriends, your mom, the lady at the Starbucks drive-thru window - whoever will listen, really - about how your boyfriend is a commitment-phobe, and he clearly must not be that into you, because how can two people be together for three years (THREE YEARS!) and not be totally sure that they're meant to spend the rest of their lives together? I mean, really.

Enter the chicken.

Story is, an editor working for Glamour magazine started doling out a roast chicken recipe to her staffers, who would then cook it for their hungry boyfriends. An uncanny number of them got engaged shortly after, and thus -- the engagement chicken was born.

Hey, it worked for Beth and Howard. She made him this same so-called engagement chicken before he proposed.

Though the original recipe was an adaptation of a simple roast chicken with lemons from Marcella Hazan, we here at Clean Plate Charlie couldn't leave it at that. We found a recipe that we're thinking could potentially get you that elusive rock even faster.

To start, there's bacon.

The crispiest, most flavorful lemon-rosemary potatoes you've ever tasted are also part of the equation. And did we mention there was bacon? Several slices of everyone's favorite pork product cook right on top of the chicken, infusing everything with incredible flavor, and are then crumbled over the potatoes before serving.

We're thinking it should be good for at least another half-carat.

Dudes: We get it. You may not be going for this same effect. What if, however, cooking this chicken could get your girlfriend to stop talking about getting engaged? Cook for her. Show her that you do really love her, and maybe she should stop obsessing over this whole wedding thing and just let things happen naturally.

And if none of that sounds appealing, you can always bet on the fact that this chicken requires about an hour-and-a-half in the oven -- leaving you and your Valentine plenty of time to work up an appetite.

Roast Chicken with Lemon, Rosemary, and Bacon Potatoes

Recipe adapted from Jamie Oliver

  • 4½ lb free-range organic chicken
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4½ lbs Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 whole bulb of garlic, broken into cloves but left unpeeled
  • Handful fresh thyme
  • Olive oil
  • Handful fresh rosemary sprigs
  • 6-8 slices of bacon

Rub the chicken inside and out with a generous amount of kosher salt and black pepper. Do this as early as you can; cover the chicken and place in fridge until you're ready to cook. You always want to season early if you can; it makes for more flavorful meat.

Preheat your oven to 375ºF, and bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Cut the potatoes into 1- to 2-inch chunks and put them into the water with the whole lemon and the garlic cloves; cook for 12 minutes. Drain and allow to steam dry for 1 minute (you can do this by placing a clean kitchen towel over top; steaming ensures crispy potatoes), then remove the lemon and garlic. Toss the potatoes in the pan while still hot, making sure to rough up the edges; this will make your potatoes even more crispy and delicious.

While the lemon is still hot, carefully stab it about 10 times. Take the chicken out of the fridge, pat dry with paper towels, and rub generously with olive oil. Push the garlic cloves, the whole lemon, and the thyme into the cavity, then put the chicken into a roasting pan and cook in the preheated oven for around 45 minutes. Remove the chicken to a plate. Place the potatoes and rosemary into the pan and toss with the chicken drippings. Make a gap in the middle of the potatoes and put the chicken back in -- or if you have a pan with a roasting tray, you can place the chicken back on the rack. Place the bacon on top of the chicken and cook for another 45 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked and the potatoes are cooked to a crusty, golden brown. You may opt to give the potatoes one more toss about halfway through to ensure even browning.

Remove the bacon from the chicken and crumble it up over the potatoes. Then remove the lemon and garlic from inside the chicken, squeezing the garlic out of the skin and spreading it over the chicken. Squeeze the lemon over the potatoes, remove the rosemary sprigs, and carve the chicken at the table.

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