Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, and Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, are far past the engagement phase of their lives as royals. In fact, they’re expecting their second child! But who doesn’t love a trip down memory lane?
In their engagement interview in November 2017, Meghan revealed she was roasting a chicken at Frogmore Cottage when Harry popped the question. And as it turns out, the recipe she was using came straight from Ina Garten.
What is engagement chicken?
Engagement chicken is an odd phenomenon from the early 1980s. Wedding expert Kylie Carlson told The Knot that Glamour magazine fashion editor Kim Bonnell created her roasted chicken dish as a riff of Italian cooking writer Marcella Hazan’s recipe. She passed the recipe along to a colleague, and not long after, her boyfriend proposed.
“The recipe started to make the rounds in the office, and a few employees later claimed that the roasted chicken led to their engagements,” Carlson told the outlet. “It was then ceremoniously dubbed ‘Engagement Chicken.’ when the recipe was first published in Glamour in the early 2000s.”
The mythological engagement chicken became a topic of national discussion again when Meghan said she was roasting a chicken when Harry got down on one knee.
Ina Garten’s engagement chicken recipe
Thanks to an interview Meghan did with Good Housekeeping in 2016, it’s believed that she was making Garten’s engagement chicken recipe. In her how-to video for Food Network, the Barefoot Contessa star said her recipe was inspired by the Glamour magazine engagement chicken.
“There is nothing as delicious (or as impressive) as a perfectly roasted chicken,” Meghan said. “If you have an Ina Garten-level roasted-chicken recipe, it’s a game-changer. I bring that to parties and make a lot of friends.”
Apparently the chicken also works on princes. If you’re now craving roast chicken, here’s Garten’s “game-changer” recipe:
- 1 (4 to 5 pound) roasting chicken
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 lemons
- 1 whole head garlic, cut in 1/2 crosswise
- Good olive oil
- 2 Spanish onions, peeled and thickly sliced
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 1/2 cup chicken stock, preferably homemade
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
Ina Garten’s engagement chicken recipe instructions
To make this prince-snatching chicken, start by preheating the oven to 425 degrees. Next, remove the chicken giblets and pat the outside of the chicken dry. Cut your lemons into quarters, and place 2 quarters inside the body of the chicken, as well as the garlic. Save the rest of the lemons for later.
Brush the outside of the bird with olive oil, and coat the chicken liberally with salt and pepper. Using cooking twine, tie the legs of the chicken together and tuck the wing tips underneath the body.
Once that’s done, place the chicken in a 11 by 14-inch roasting pan. If the pan is too large, the onions will burn, so avoid that. Place the rest of the lemons and sliced onions in a large bowl, and then toss with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 1 teaspoon of salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper. Pour this mixture into the chicken pan. (Ina says the way the lemons roast in the pan make them good enough to eat—rind and all. It will be softer in texture and will have a bitter taste.)
Now, throw that chicken into the oven and roast for about 1 hour and 15 minutes. You’ll know it’s done when the juices run clear between the leg and the thigh. Take the chicken out of the oven, cover the roasting pan with aluminum foil, and let it rest for 10 minutes while you make the sauce. Leave the lemons and onions in the roasting pan.
For the sauce, place the pan on the stove and turn the heat to medium-high. Add the white wine and stir with a wooden spoon to scoop up all the browned bits at the bottom of the pan. Add the stock, sprinkle your flour, and stir occasionally for 1 minute until the sauce thickens. Add the juices that collect under the chicken.
Now, carve the chicken, place the meat on a serving platter, and serve with the lemons, onions, and sauce. And then look at your left hand because you’re probably engaged now! That’s just science.