11.07.10: dinner (engagement chicken as done by Ina Garten)

"Engagement Chicken" a la Ina Garten

If I could make a food-related T-shirt (like Bacon is a Food Group or whatever they say), it would simply read: “When in doubt, roast a chicken”. It is my go-to culinary catchphrase, and apparently Ina Garten’s as well. Seriously, she’s roasting chicken about as often as she’s sharing dinner with handsome older gentlemen while Jeffrey’s away on business. My brother and I like to make jokes at the Barefoot Contessa’s expense, but we are both suckers for her recipes, because they are usually simple, elegant, clean and ever so slightly pretentious (which, like a pinch of kosher salt prior to serving, can add a wonderful finishing flourish to a dish).

"Engagement Chicken" a la Ina Garten

I won’t reproduce her recipe–you can get it here–but I will say that this lemony twist on the standard roaster is a pleasant change from the savory roasted poultry/herbal flavors commonly associated herewith. I recommend springing for a Kosher bird in this case, as I feel they taste better. Once the bird is finished in the oven, you glaze its pan-dwelling goodness with some nice wine and stock and you get something like gravy, if said gravy was prepared by some kind of benevolent, 20 feet-tall supernatural food monster. Kudos to Ina.

I will spare you the nauseatingly banal story put forth by magazines about how this chicken is supposed to get all da single ladies a husband (if you cook it for a man, blah blah blah), so maybe we should rename this dish. How about: Happily Married Sunday Night Lemon Chicken? Single and Content with a Hankering for Poultry Chicken? Living Together and Things are Kinda Weird but We Need Leftovers for Lunches in the Morning Chicken? Bah, nomenclature was never my strong suit.

Misadventures in branding aside, I highly recommend this dish for anyone who, like me, loves them some oven bird but maybe is in the mood for a change in the culinary scenery. Until next time, friends, have a nice weekend and cook on!

  1. That is a banal story, isn’t it? My husband would snort and find it rather insulting that men need to be cooked for. We also love Ina’s recipes though, despite all snark about “good” ingredients. Anyway, the bird looks great! And as a fellow chemist (organic… I passed p-chem and that is all), nomenclature was never my strong suit, either.

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  4. Kim said:

    We recently took time off of work and our regular routine to be with my sick father in law. After spending so many days in the hospital, no one wanted to go out to eat, so we decided to figure out a “family style dinner” to have at my brother-in-law’s house. The first thought we had was “let’s roast a chicken.” And it was delicious, using lemons out of my brother-in-law’s garden. 🙂

    If you make the shirt, I’ll buy one!


    P.S. I vote for “Much-Needed-Family-Time-Chicken.”

    P.S. again…. we’re a couple weeks away from having not one, but TWO trees full of Meyer lemons. I ought to send you some!!!!! They’d be great in this chicken!

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