Engagement Chicken

By Fabiana Santana

For years, women have turned to Glamour magazine for help with their hair, makeup and clothes. And now, Glamour Editor-in-Chief Cindi Leive wants you to turn to Glamour for help in the kitchen, too. Leive and her team of editors have released the magazine’s first cookbook called 100 Recipes Every Woman Should Know. A three-stiletto key will help judge a recipe’s level of difficulty and there are sections for meat-free mains, sides, pizza and even breakfast with recipes for dishes like “He Stayed Over Omelet” and “It’s Cocktail Hour Somewhere Bourbon French Toast.” It’s definitely a woman’s cookbook. And the inspiration for it all came from a recipe that Glamour calls Engagement Chicken.

The story goes that 26 years ago, then fashion editor Kim Bonnell gave the recipe to her assistant, Kathy Suder, who made the dish for her boyfriend. A month later he proposed. He said the meal was one “your wife would make” and got him thinking about the couple’s next steps. The couple are now happily married with three children and the legend of Engagement Chicken lives on.

Leivi says that no less than 70 women, editors and readers alike, have gotten engaged after making the roast chicken dish and often email her with their stories. Of course, they beg her not to reveal their names in the magazine for fear their now fiances will think they were under the spell of the chicken. One celebrity and fan of the chicken, however, didn’t mind going public with her story. Actually, she got busted.

Beth Ostrosky, the famous supermodel girlfriend of shock jock Howard Stern, saw the recipe in Glamour magazine in December 2003 and decided she’d give it a try. She ripped the title off the recipe “so he wouldn’t think I was up to any hijinx” and got to cooking.  She served him the chicken and said that with just one bite, he was a changed man.

“I swear to you, he had never been love-ier or more romantic. He was saying the sweetest things to me. And in the back of my mind, I was chuckling, ‘Wow, that magazine knows what it’s doing.’ ”

The next morning Stern talked about the romantic dinner Beth made him and how he was overcome with love and romance during dinner. He raved about her cooking skills and the romantic dinner until a listener  recognized the chicken he was raving over as being the one from the magazine that makes men swoon. She called in and told him the legend of the Engagement Chicken and he called Beth to tell her she was busted.  They all had a good laugh about Beth’s attempt at getting him to commit.

The thing is, three years later, he did.

“I think [Stern proposed] because of the way it was going with us. And I can cook a mean chicken,” jokes a now Beth Stern to the NY Post.

“This isn’t just urban legend. This is real,” says Leive.

Engagement Chicken Recipe

Serves 2 to 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 whole chicken (approximately 4 pounds)
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice, plus 3 whole lemons—including 1 sliced for garnish
  • 1 tablespoon kosher or coarse sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • Fresh herbs for garnish (4 rosemary sprigs, 4 sage sprigs, 8 thyme sprigs, and 1 bunch fl at-leaf parsley)

1. Position an oven rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat the oven to 400°F. Remove the giblets from the chicken, wash the chicken inside and out with cold water, then let the chicken drain, cavity down, in a colander for 2 minutes.

2. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels. Place the chicken breast-side down in a medium roasting pan fi tted with a rack and pour the lemon juice all over the chicken, both inside and out. Season the chicken all over with salt and pepper inside and out.

3. Prick 2 whole lemons three times each in three different places with a fork and place them deep inside the cavity. Chicken cavity size may vary, so if one lemon is partly sticking out, that’s fine. (Tip: If the lemons are stiff, roll them on the countertop with your palm before pricking to get the juices flowing.)

4. Put the chicken in the oven, lower the oven temperature to 350°F, and roast, uncovered, for 15 minutes.

5. Remove the roasting pan from the oven. Using tongs or two wooden spoons, turn the chicken breast- side up. Insert a meat thermometer in the thigh, and return the chicken to the oven and roast for about 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes or until the meat thermometer reads 180°F and the juices run clear when the thigh is pricked with a fork. Continue roasting if necessary. Keep in mind that cooking times in different ovens vary; roasting a chicken at 350°F takes approximately 18-20 minutes per pound, plus an additional 15 minutes.

6. Let the chicken rest for 10 minutes before carving. And here’s the secret: Pour the juices from the roasting pan on top of the sliced chicken— this is the “marry me juice.” Garnish with fresh herbs and lemon slices.

Want more recipes that’ll change your life? Get Glamour’s cookbook, 100 Recipes every Woman Should Know.