Prince Harry and Meghan Markle celebrate their fourth wedding anniversary on Thursday.
I decided to make it for a dinner party — it was perfectly moist, flavorful, and surprisingly easy.
Nearly four years ago, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were married. He reportedly proposed as she was making roast chicken.
When Meghan Markle and Prince Harry announced their engagement in November 2017, they described the dish they were eating that night.
"It happened a few weeks ago, earlier this month, here at our cottage; just a standard typical night for us," Prince Harry later told the BBC.
Markle added, "[We were] trying to roast a chicken and it just — just an amazing surprise, it was so sweet and natural and very romantic. He got on one knee."
While Markle never explicitly said which recipe she used that night, it's safe to assume it was inspired by Barefoot Contessa Ina Garten's famous roast chicken recipe — Markle had previously said she was a fan.
"There is nothing as delicious (or as impressive) as a perfectly roasted chicken," Markle told Good Housekeeping in 2016. "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."
The concept of "engagement chicken" has been around for a while. Glamour originally reported on a different roast chicken recipe, which was included in the magazine's January 2004 issue, explaining how women who made it for their boyfriends were proposed to shortly after.
Approaching the royal couple's four-year wedding anniversary — they got married on May 19, 2018 — I decided to make a roast chicken for a dinner party with eight guests.
I've never attempted to make a roast chicken or turkey, so I was a little scared to try making the famous "engagement chicken."
I'm not going to lie: Leading up to the dinner party, I was absolutely terrified that the roast chicken would be a complete disaster.
I know my way around a kitchen and have hosted small dinner parties in the past. However, I've never attempted to make something so ambitious. I had nightmares about it being undercooked and poisoning everyone there, as well as overcooking it and making it dry as dirt.
However, I had to believe that roast chicken aficionado and celebrity chef Ina Garten's recipe would carry me through.
I started by gathering my ingredients.
The recipe for the roasted chicken calls for a 5- or 6-pound roasting chicken, fresh thyme, lemon, garlic, butter, a yellow onion, plus seasoning and a few ingredients to make a gravy.
The chicken is intended to be made in a roasting pan but given my small New York City oven, I decided to play it safe and use a roasting bag and makeshift pan to contain all the juices. This ended up making the cooking process a lot simpler and cleanup a breeze.
I was nervous about having to gut a chicken but the giblets were wrapped up inside, which made the removal easy.
I purchased the chicken from my local Whole Foods in Brooklyn, New York. For a 5 1/2-pound chicken, I spent $16.39. I already owned all of the other ingredients, so I only spent $3.69 on the roasting bags.
The first step in preparing the roast chicken was to remove the giblets and wash the chicken inside and out.
With clean hands and a clean sink, I set about washing my chicken. This was admittedly a little out of my comfort zone — I've never worked with raw chicken before and having to stick my hand inside it to clean it was new to me.
Next, I patted the chicken dry on both sides with a paper towel.
The recipe also recommends removing any excess fat or feathers from the outside of the chicken, but my chicken didn't need anything else doing to it.
I don't own a roasting pan, so I fashioned a makeshift one with tin foil.
While using a real roasting pan would obviously be ideal, this is a great option if you don't have one or you can't fit one in your oven. To prevent the juices from dripping out of the pan, I created a border with tin foil.
To be extra sure I would have enough juices to make the gravy later on, I also used a roasting bag.
I placed the chicken inside the roasting bag.
It probably wasn't necessary to have the roasting bag and makeshift roasting pan, but as a roast chicken novice I wasn't taking any chances of messing it up. Next time, however, I'll use a proper roasting pan so the onions and chicken get even crispier.
I stuffed the chicken with salt and pepper, a halved lemon, garlic, and thyme.
It was a little difficult to fit all the ingredients inside the chicken cavity, but I made it work. At the end, I tied the legs together with string and began to spread about 2 tablespoons of butter on the outside of the turkey. I used Kerrygold Butter, which Ina Garten touts as her favorite. Then, I seasoned it with salt and pepper.
I also added sliced onions to the outside of the chicken. I was proud of how it looked already.
I popped the chicken in the oven and set my timer for an hour and 15 minutes.
The recipe says to cook the bird for an hour to an hour and a half at 425 degrees Fahrenheit. I set my timer for an hour to check it, and then let it keep cooking for another fifteen minutes.
After the chicken was done, I removed it from the oven. The aroma in my kitchen was heavenly: It smelled of crispy chicken and onions.
I let the pan cool down slightly before checking to make sure the chicken was done.
My worst fears were under-cooking or overcooking the chicken, so I was a little apprehensive about cutting into it to see if it was done.
I didn't have a meat thermometer, so I followed the recipe's instructions to cut between a leg and thigh and made sure the juices ran clear.
I couldn't have been more happy with the result after I removed the chicken from the bag.
When I pulled it out of the oven in front of my guests, they were immediately impressed. Like Meghan Markle, I knew I would be making some friends that night.
The outside of the chicken was perfectly crispy and smelled amazing. I could smell faint hints of the lemon and onions, so I understood why they were added.
While keeping the chicken warm under some tin foil, I made the gravy.
The recipe recommends removing about 2 tablespoons of chicken fat from the bottom of the pan, or bag in this case. You'll also need flour, chicken stock, and seasoning.
In no time, the gravy was done.
This seemed like an optional step to me, as the chicken tasted delicious with and without the gravy.
All of my dinner party guests raved about the roast chicken, and I almost got a few marriage proposals.
While I went into cooking this dish a little nervous and perhaps a little under-confident about my abilities, in the end it was a smashing success.
Descriptions of the roast chicken included "juicy," "tender," and "flavorful." One guest even admitted they're pretty critical of chicken, but loved this recipe. I had to agree — this was one of the best dishes I've ever made for a dinner party.
I admit that carving the chicken was the hardest part. Despite watching a YouTube tutorial, it ended up being kind of a hack job. Regardless, I got through it and was able to serve it to my guests.
I was really proud of myself for being able to make this twist on Meghan Markle's "engagement chicken," and I can definitely see why it's worthy of a royal marriage proposal. While I didn't end the night a duchess-to-be, I did serve an undeniably delicious meal that won over the hearts of my guests.
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