Engagement Chicken

March 20: National Proposal Day

Is the way to a prince’s heart through his stomach? Many have speculated that American actress Meghan Markle’s roast chicken dinner impressed Prince Harry of Wales so much that he proposed to her!

Other women have claimed that when they cooked a heartwarming lemony-herbed roast chicken for their boyfriends, they finally proposed, too. The “magical” recipe, which originated from Glamour magazine in the early 2000s, earned a reputation for its power it has over guys to “pop the question” and thus has been dubbed “engagement chicken”!

Believe the sexist tale or not, engagement chicken is still a tasty comfort food that is relatively simple to make for loved ones. Whether for a prince, significant other, family or friends, roast chicken is perfect to cook any day but especially on National Proposal Day.

Recipe I

This is the version we adapted by Chef Ina Garten, the Barefoot Contessa, which Meghan Markle alluded to in her BBC interview, stating that she and Prince Harry cooked it together for dinner the night he proposed to her.

Ingredients

  • 1 (5-6 pound) whole roasting chicken
  • salt and pepper
  • bunch of fresh thyme
  • 2 lemons (one cut in half, another cut in wedges)
  • 1 head of garlic, cut in half crosswise
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, sliced thick
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 2-3 tablespoons flour

Directions

Remove the giblets from the chicken and rinse inside and out. Pat dry with paper towels. Generously salt and pepper inside of the chicken. Stuff it with half a bunch of thyme. Place two halves of a lemon and garlic inside of the chicken.

Put on a roasting pan. Rub the skin of the chicken with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Tie the chicken legs with cooking twine. Secure the wing tips to the chicken with toothpicks. Place in a large roasting pan. Put onion and lemon wedges around it.

Bake in a preheated oven at 425 degrees F for 1½ hours until juices run clear. Baste occasionally. Remove from the oven and cover with foil while making the gravy.

Remove twine and toothpicks. Discard the garlic, thyme stems, fat and lemon halves and wedges (and seeds) from the roasting pan, reserving the onions and two tablespoons of juices. Place the onions and juices into a saucepan with the chicken stock. Boil on high heat for about five minutes until reduced. Then stir in the flour and boil for a few more minutes until slightly thickened. Add salt and pepper to taste. Strain the gravy into a boat. Serve hot with carved chicken pieces.

Recipe II

This is the version we adapted that originated from Glamour magazine and became an urban legend.

Ingredients

  • 1 (4-5pound) whole roasting chicken
  • ½ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 3 large lemons)
  • 2-3 additional lemons
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • sprigs of fresh herbs to garnish (rosemary, thyme, sage and parsley)

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Remove the giblets from the chicken and rinse inside and out. Pat dry with paper towels. Rub the lemon juice inside and outside. Season the inside with half the salt and pepper. Prick the lemons with the tines of a fork and insert inside the cavity of the chicken. Tie the legs with cooking twine.

Secure the wing tips to the chicken with toothpicks. Season the outside with the remaining salt and pepper. Place in a roasting pan lined with foil breast side down. Lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Bake the chicken for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven, turn the chicken over breast side up and insert a meat thermometer in the thigh. Bake for another 1½ hours or more in 15-minute increments and until the thermometer reaches 180 degrees F.

Remove from the oven and baste with the pan juices. Let the chicken rest for 10 minutes and transfer to a platter. Garnish with herbs. Serve hot with sides of roast vegetables.

Notes

  • The pan drippings from the engagement chicken used to baste and flavor this tender and tasty dish is called the “marry me juice”, according to Glamour magazine.
  • We garnish the engagement chicken with sprigs of herbs, roast vegetables (like carrots and potatoes) and/or extra lemon wedges. It makes for a pretty presentation especially for special occasions.
  • We like to serve engagement chicken to the couples we are sponsoring at our church through a marriage preparation ministry program. The dish is well liked by many, even by those who are picky eaters. Our couples enjoy hearing about the recipe’s reputation as well, and is a fun icebreaker and conversation starter for our meetings.

 

One-Pan Baked Paprika Chicken

with Vegetables and Herbs

September: National Chicken Month

Winner winner, chicken dinner! Life is hectic so if we can make a meal quickly, the more time for us to rest and relax after a long day. This recipe for herbed paprika-seasoned chicken is baked in one pan along with sides of vegetables for a complete dinner. We especially like the colorful combinations in this hearty dish. For National Chicken Month, try this one-pan baked paprika chicken with vegetables and herbs.

Recipe

(Adapted from Simply Recipes)

Ingredients

  • 4-6 pieces chicken thighs, trimmed of extra fat
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided use
  • 1 red onion, peeled and cut into 8 wedges
  • 1 ½ pounds baby potatoes, cut in half
  • 6-8 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
  • ½ pint cherry tomatoes, cut in half (we used the whole pint)
  • thyme sprigs
  • parsley leaves (optional garnish)

Directions

Season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper. In a separate bowl, mix together the mustard, lemon juice, paprika and 2 tablespoons of olive oil to make a marinade. Add the chicken and coat well. Set aside.

In another bowl, combine the onions, potatoes and garlic cloves. Place these vegetables in a 9×13 inch baking pan or casserole dish. Season with salt and pepper and add the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Arrange the chicken on top of the vegetables and pour the marinade over everything.

Top with a few thyme sprigs. Bake uncovered in a preheated oven at 400 degrees F for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and scatter the cherry tomatoes over everything. Return to the oven and bake for another 20-25 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. Remove from the oven. Spoon the juices over the chicken and vegetables. Discard dried thyme sprigs. Garnish with additional fresh thyme sprigs and parsley flakes. Serve hot.

Notes

  • Try the traditional Hungarian recipe for paprika chicken.
  • Search our blog for more chicken recipes for National Chicken Month/National Poultry Month.

 

Moroccan Roast Chicken 

with Saffron and Rose Water

Morrocan Chicken

September:
National Chicken Month

At one of Islander’s culinary club monthly meetings, members were challenged to bring a dish made with edible flowers or floral essence. Some of the potluck items included lavender scones, lavender lemon bars, blueberry pie with rose petals and a salad with sunflower seeds. In addition to bringing Maui lavender-mint iced tea, Islander shared a Moroccan chicken dish made with saffron and rose water. Other ingredients in this recipe include honey, cinnamon, hazelnuts, lemon and ginger, making the medley of flavors an exotic yet delicious combination. No wonder it was the members’ favorite flower-themed food! Make Moroccan roast chicken and savor the floral flavors during National Chicken Month.

Recipe

(Adapted from Epicurious)

  • 1 large chicken, cut up into thighs, breasts, etc. (we used 12 chicken legs)
  • generous pinch of saffron
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger (we used freshly grated ginger)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • ¼ cup cold water
  • 2 teaspoons coarse sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
  • ¾ cup hazelnuts, unskinned and toasted
  • 4 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons rose water (not extract or essence)
  • 2 stalks green onion, chopped (optional garnish)

Directions

In a large bowl, combine the saffron, chopped onion, olive oil, ginger, cinnamon, lemon juice, water, salt and pepper.

Moroccan Chicken

Add the chicken pieces and coat well. Arrange them in a large baking dish. Cover. Marinate overnight in the refrigerator. Remove from the refrigerator, uncover and bake in a preheated oven at 375 degrees F for 45 minutes or until the chicken is no longer pink inside.

Moroccan Chicken

Meanwhile, toast the hazelnuts by stirring them in a skillet over medium-low heat, being careful not to burn them. Let cool then coarsely chop them. Place the nuts in a small bowl. Mix with honey and rose water to make a thick glaze.

Moroccan Chicken

Remove the chicken from the oven and spread the glaze over each piece. Return to the oven and bake for another 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and spoon some of the pan juices over the chicken. Transfer to a serving platter. Garnish with chopped green onion. Serve hot with rice or couscous.

Moroccan Chicken

Notes

  • Thanks to Lisa L. for giving us a little jar of saffron as a souvenir from her visits to Spain and Morocco. Saffron is the world’s most expensive spice because it takes between 70,000-250,000 flowers to make just one. The stigmas of the flower must be individually and painstakingly handpicked when in full bloom during the autumn season before drying them.
  • Rose water is not the same as rose extract/essence. The latter is derived from floral oils and is sometimes steeped in alcohol that makes the flavor taste more concentrated. Rose water is lighter and is made by distilling rose petals in water.
  • Search our blog for more chicken recipes.

Chicken Oreganata

Chicken Oreganata

June 10: Herbs and Spices Day

Breaded chicken breasts are sometimes boring. So we like to spice (and herb) them up with oregano, mint, salt and pepper and turn them into a simple yet savory, tender and aromatic dish. The addition of tomatoes makes this meal moist and more flavorful. Cbicken Oreganata is our choice for observing Herbs and Spices Day!

Recipe

(Adapted from Healthy Home Cooking by the Editors of Prevention Magazine)

Ingredients

  • 3-4 chicken breasts, flattened
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon dried mint
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • ½ cup dry breadcrumbs, unseasoned
  • 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 3-4 tomatoes, cut into wedges
  • olive oil

Directions

Line a baking dish with foil and mist with cooking spray. Set aside. In a lipped pan, combine the lemon juice with minced garlic. Toss the chicken in this mixture and leave to marinate for 10 minutes.

Chicken Oreganata

In a small bowl, mix together the oregano, mint, salt and pepper.

Chicken Oreganata

Combine half of this herb and spice mixture with the breadcrumbs and cheese. Dredge the chicken in the seasoned breadcrumbs and place in the prepared baking dish. Cut the tomatoes into wedges and scatter them around the chicken.

Chicken Oreganata

Sprinkle the remaining herb and spice mixture over the chicken and tomatoes. Drizzle some olive oil over them. Bake in a preheated oven at 450 degrees F for 30 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and the tomatoes are soft and juicy. Transfer the chicken to a serving plate and arrange the tomatoes around it. Pour any pan juices over the chicken. Serve hot with rice.

Chicken Oreganata

Notes

  • Thanks to Highlander’s Mum for gifting us with the cookbook from which we used the recipe for Chicken Oreganata.
  • Search our blog for other chicken recipes.

Port Wine Chicken

Port Wine Chicken

May 25: National Wine Day

We previously posted recipes for Marsala Chicken and Champagne Chicken. Something similar is Port Wine Chicken. These recipes involve common cooking techniques, such as browning the chicken in butter or oil, sautéing onions and mushrooms, adding seasonings and/or herbs and pouring in some sweet wine to make a sauce or gravy.

Whereas Marsala wine is from Italy and Champagne is from France, Port is from Portugal. The fortified, sweet red wine enhances the flavor of the food in which it is cooked yet does not make the meat taste too alcoholic or acidic at all.

Instead of Marsala or Champagne, try putting Port in a braised chicken with mushrooms dish in observance of National Wine Day. Saúde!

Recipe

(Adapted from Chef Ponzio)

  • 4 large chicken thighs (with bone, with or without skin)
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • ¼ cup parsley, chopped
  • 1 container (8 ounces) button mushrooms, quartered
  • 1 ½ cups port wine
  • 1 tablespoon butter

Directions

Salt and pepper the chicken thighs. In a large pan, brown them in the olive oil. Remove from the pan and keep warm. Drain off any oil.

Port Wine Chicken

Chop the onions and parsley and quarter the mushrooms. In the same pan, sauté the onions with the parsley.

Port Wine Chicken

Add the mushrooms and cook until brown. Put the chicken back in the skillet. Pour in the port wine. Cover and simmer for 30-40 minutes until the chicken is cooked through. Watch that the wine is not reduced too much and that there is still a little liquid left for some sauce. Remove the chicken to a platter and keep warm. Melt the butter into the sauce and stir until smooth. Ladle the sauce and mushrooms over the chicken. Garnish with parsley leaves. Serve with rice or pasta.

Port Wine Chicken

Notes

  • If you like a lot of mushrooms in this dish like we do, double the amount and add half a cup more of Port.
  • Check out more chicken recipes by searching our blog.

Garlic Chicken (Local Hawaiian Style)

Garlic Chicken

April 19: National Garlic Day

Garlic chicken (local Hawaiian style) is one of the dishes that Islander and her brother look forward to eating when they visit their parents back on Oahu. They usually order the entrée from En Fuego Restaurant in Kapolei and Side Street Inn on Kapahulu Avenue, although other eateries have their own version of crispy chicken pieces tossed in a distinctive, tasty-garlicky-sweet-soy-sauce. Onolicious!

Islander learned how to make garlic chicken for her family and local friends on the mainland who were craving this flavorful dish from their Hawaii home. Garlic chicken is great to serve at get-togethers with ‘ohana as well as on National Garlic Day.

Recipe

(Adapted from Foodland)

For the garlic marinade and sauce

  • ½ cup garlic, chopped
  • ¼ cup green onion, sliced
  • 1 cup soy sauce (we used Aloha Shoyu)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes

Directions

Chop the garlic. Slice the green onions, reserving a few pieces for garnishing the finished dish. In a saucepan, combine the soy sauce and sugar. Stir and bring to a boil.

Garlic Chicken

Lower the heat and add the garlic and green onion. Add the sesame oil and red pepper flakes. Mix well. Simmer for 5-10 minutes until thickened. Remove from the stovetop and cool for 30 minutes.

Garlic Chicken

For the crispy chicken

  • Garlic marinade (ingredients above)
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • ¾ cup flour
  • ¼ cup cornstarch
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • oil for frying

Directions

Cut the chicken into bite size pieces. Place the chicken in a large bowl. Strain the cooled marinade over the chicken. Let stand for 15 minutes. Reserve about ½ cup of marinade for the finishing sauce. Discard the marinade in which the chicken was soaked. In a shallow dish, combine the flour and cornstarch. Sprinkle salt and pepper. Mix well. Dredge the chicken pieces in the mixture, making sure they are well coated.

Garlic Chicken

Deep fry the chicken in batches until crisp and golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Place the chicken in a bowl and toss with the remaining sauce. Dish out and garnish with green onions.

Garlic Chicken

Notes

  • For a stronger flavor, mince a clove of fresh garlic and mix it into the sauce before tossing it with fried chicken pieces.
  • Get more garlic recipes by searching our blog.

Lemon Chicken

Lemon Chicken

June: National Lemon Month

Many cultures have their own version of boneless meat, which is coated in seasoned flour/breadcrumbs/batter, then fried or baked, and accompanied with gravy or sauce. Lemon chicken from L&L Drive-Inn, a popular chain restaurant in Hawaii and in select spots around the world, is one of Islander and her brother’s favorite deep fried chicken dishes with a tangy sweet lemon sauce.

During our undergraduate years in Hawaii, we would walk down our hilly campus to the L&L restaurant and treat ourselves to a cheap lunch or dinner when we did not want to eat cafeteria food or cook in our dorm kitchen. When we first ordered the lemon chicken, it looked like a giant, sliced chicken nugget with a sunny yellow dipping sauce on the side. As simple as the entrée was, we just loved the lemon sauce! It really is what makes the chicken a delicious dish.

For National Lemon Month, make lemon chicken for a local-style plate lunch.

Recipe

(Adapted from L&L Drive-Inn via the Star-Bulletin Archives)

For the chicken

  • 2 pounds boneless chicken (we used thinly sliced chicken breast meat)
  • ¼ cup water
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • ½ cup cornstarch
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon chicken-flavored bouillon (we crushed a bouillon cube)
  • ½ teaspoon white pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder

Directions

Pound the chicken meat to ¼-inch thickness or cut into bite-sized pieces. Set aside and make the marinade. In a large glass bowl, mix together the water and vegetable oil. Blend in the cornstarch and flour. Stir in the egg. Season with salt, bouillon, white pepper and garlic powder.

Lemon Chicken

Mix to make a smooth batter. Coat the chicken in the marinade and leave for at least two hours. Deep fry the chicken in 350-degree oil until golden brown (5 minutes). Drain on paper towels. Keep warm.

Lemon Chicken

For the lemon sauce

  • ¼ cup cornstarch
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup white vinegar (we used cane sugar vinegar)
  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • small piece of ginger, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon lemon extract
  • ½ teaspoon of yellow food coloring
  • slices of lemon

Directions

In a measuring cup, make a slurry by dissolving the cornstarch in lemon juice. Set aside. In a saucepan, combine the water, vinegar and sugar. Bring to a boil.

Lemon Chicken

Add the ginger, lemon extract and a few slices of lemon. Tint with yellow food coloring. Slowly stir in the cornstarch-lemon juice mixture until thickened and smooth. Discard the ginger. Serve the sauce on the side with the lemon chicken.

Lemon Chicken

Notes

  • The lemon sauce may be made ahead of time and re-heated. Garnish with fresh lemon slices.
  • This lemon chicken is a Chinese-influenced recipe. There are other lemon chicken recipes inspired by international ingredients.
  • Serve L&L Drive-Inn lemon chicken with scoops of rice and macaroni salad. Onolicious!
  • For another fruit-flavored sauce with chicken, try the recipe for honey orange glazed chicken listed in our September archives (National Chicken Month).
  • Love lemons? Search our blog for more lemon recipes.