October 8, 2011

HB Cooks: Engagement Chicken and Baked Butternut Squash

The fall season definitely puts me in the mood to do more cooking and get back in the kitchen.  As the temperature drops, I look forward to warm comfort food, steamy hot apple cider, and the beautiful fall foliage.  This week I found two easy recipes that don’t take a lot of prep, but do take a lot of time to bake, so make sure to budget your time accordingly.   The folklore behind “Engagement Chicken” is more detailed than I first realized when I found the recipe on my Epicurious app. Glamour magazine first published this simple roasted chicken recipe in 2004.  As the story goes, one of its employees made the meal for her boyfriend, at which time he promptly dropped to his knee and proposed.  Since then, many couples have claimed to have been engaged as a result of this lemony dish and have contacted Glamour with their stories.  Engagement or not, I can attest that this chicken is pretty fabulous! The recipe is also part of a the Glamour book 100 Recipes Every Woman Should Know.

I followed the recipe pretty closely, but it is helpful to know ahead of time that it takes about 3 lemons to make ½ cup of fresh lemon juice, and only 2 lemons really fit into a 4 lb. chicken.  Therefore, 6 lemons is a good number for your grocery list.  Since I still don’t own a roasting pan, I used a glass pan and propped the chicken up on carrots.  I also didn’t have fresh herbs available, so I basted the chicken in the last few minutes of cooking and sprinkled on dried thyme, parsley, and sage.

The chicken came out really juicy and the sauce was to die for.  One thing to take into consideration if you follow my carrot roasting method is that the carrots become a little too lemony to eat, so make sure you cook some separately if that is your chosen side dish.

My main side dish was baked butternut squash with melted butter, brown sugar, and spices.  I basted the squash almost as much as I basted the chicken, to insure a buttery flavor throughout the fruit.  I baked the squash at the same temperature, 350 degrees, and time as the chicken, which is probably why my meal took longer to cook than the recommended time.  Overall, my oven was busy for about 2 hours.  Since every oven is different, you can judge the chicken by its temperature (the recipe calls for 180 degrees in the thigh) and the squash by pricking it with a fork to determine its tenderness.  Honestly, I just took a big cut into the chicken breast after it was golden brown to see if it was cooked through and tasted the squash (while not the most precise way, that got the job done).  I really enjoyed this homey dish and next time perhaps I will add some stuffing, greens, or dessert to the mix!  Enjoy!

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