Meet Freddy.

I want to introduce you to Freddy.

People always tell me to stop playing with my food, but as you can see Freddy is not a food. He is a teenager relaxing in an empty hot tub, probably waiting for his girlfriend to join him. I don’t know if it was because we got too personal with the chicken or what, but the recipe on for  engagement chicken we followed didn’t pan out.

My best friend, Michele, and I decided to have a night of cooking to catch up and dye her hair. Since we would be cooking at her house and for her boyfriend I suggested she choose the recipe, but when she emailed me a recipe involving ovens I refused. I don’t trust ovens. Unless your making a dessert they turn on you when you least expect it. But her confidence in our cooking abilities convinced me and we went for it.

We followed the instructions, basically, word for word. You can find those here. I’ve redone the steps below to reflect what actually happened.

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Wash chicken inside and out with cold water. Remove the giblets, also known as the insides. Make sure to look at both sides of the chicken to find the easier way out.
  3. Let the chicken drain, cavity down, in a colander until it reaches room temperature. Wait 30 minutes, 15 was not enough. Pat dry with paper towels.
  4. Pour lemon juice all over the chicken (inside and outside), season with lots and lots salt and pepper.
  5. Prick the whole lemons three times with a fork and place deep inside the cavity. Don’t be scared, push it in further. You can do it!
  6. Place the chicken breast-side down on a rack in a roasting pan, lower heat to 350 and bake uncovered for 15 minutes.
  7. Remove from oven and turn it breast-side up, use whatever helps you turn it. Freddy weighs more than you think; return it to oven for 35 minutes more.
  8. Test for doneness – you don’t own a meat thermometer so prick the chicken with a fork, juices should run clear.
  9. When juices don’t run clear and instead you find the chicken is still uncooked continue backing, it’s necessary. 20 minutes is suggested.
  10. Then 20 minutes more. Threaten to order pizza, but don’t give up!
  11. Cut apart the chicken and put it back in the oven for another 20 minutes
  12. Re-assure Michele’s boyfriend we will be eating soon, then leave the chicken in for 10 minutes.
  13. Reheat the side dishes: grilled vegetables and pasta.
  14. Call everyone to the table and sound confident when you say it’s safe to eat.

Don’t get me wrong, the chicken ended tasting delicious and well received. I think the lessons to learn here is that you can always adjust a recipe, engagement chicken will not lead to an engagement and ovens still can’t be trusted.

I would show you a picture of the final product but Freddy didn’t grow up to be as beautiful as we’d hoped.

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