Engagement Chicken and Leek Mac and Cheese

Monday, 26 Jan 2009


Glamour Magazine pretty much guarantees you’ll be on the road to the chapel after making this “Engagement Chicken” for your intended target.  Somehow I managed to get hitched without this recipe.  But all you single ladies have to try this out and let me know how it goes.  Matt told me that if we weren’t already married, we definitely would be after this chicken.  The man has a way with words.  If the chicken wasn’t enough, on the side, we have Leek Mac and Cheese from Food and Wine, an outstanding side dish if I do say so myself.  It’s made with Manchego cheese.


My only addition to the chicken recipe was a sprinkling of the herbes de Provence I snagged at World Market’s Minnesota closing sale. Below is the chicken ready to go into the oven.  Not a happy scene for the chicken.


While we’re at it, I do have a couple of bones to pick with this recipe:

1)  Cooking a chicken at 350 for 50 minutes isn’t going to get the job done unless you have a tiny chicken.  I ended up turning up the oven to 400 at the end of the 50 minutes and cooking the chicken for an additional 35-40 minutes.  Use a thermometer and be prepared to cook this chicken longer than the recipe calls for.

2)  The recipe calls for 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice and 2 fresh medium-sized lemons.  For me, that translated to two large and four small lemons total, including the one I sliced up for garnish.  It would be nice if the recipe gave you an idea of how many lemons you need.  Be sure to get 5-6 medium lemons.

Below is the chicken after the intial 50 minutes.  It still needed a lot more time in the oven.  When it was done, though, this chicken was incredibly juicy and very lemony.  I spooned the juices over the carved chicken whcn I served it and garnished it with lemon slices and flat leaf parsley.  I was frustrated because of the extra cooking time, but the way the chicken came out really did make it worthwhile.  The flavor was excellent.


For the mac and cheese, the recipe uses the leek greens, the less-frequently used byproduct of the vegetable. I decided to use the white part of the leek and the light green part, but not the darker greens.  This meant that the leeks didn’t have to cook as long to become tender.


The leeks added another dimension of flavor to the mac and cheese — it’s more savory, but still very mellow because the leeks have been slow-cooked and caramelized.  The taste of the leeks melds so well with the nutty Manchego cheese.


Tonight’s wine selection was a 2007 Lion’s Crest Chardonnay from San Luis Obispo.  Chardonnay is a great match for lemony roasted chicken.

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