Lunchbox came over tonight with a serious issue – he’s performing a wedding next weekend, and the text the bride & groom had chosen needed to be kicked up a notch. This is actually the fourth time I’ve written vows or a marriage ceremony and the second time LB & I have worked up a set for a couple we love – but this was my first time attempting it sober (that’s Lunchbox on the right in the photo – he was Trish’s “extra bridesmaid”). So far, the couples who’ve gotten married with vows I wrote are happily together (I’ve never written my own, maybe I need to look at that…) – so we were feeling pretty good about how this was all gonna go. I whipped up some pasta with Argentinian Red Shrimp – they’re super-sweet and meaty, more like little lobster tails – and we got to work. Then LB lays the big news on me: now that he’s ordained, he can use the title Reverend, start his own church, wear those little white collars, get special parking and absolve others of their sins. Hold the phone. WHAT?
I’m proud to announce that I got ordained this evening, so if you’d like me to perform your marriage ceremony, please know I’ll be parking in front. I’ll wear the little collar too if it goes with my outfit. And I’m only giving communion with Gluten-Free wafers, obviously.
We were high-fiving each other about our awesome ceremony script, and LB asked what I was doing tomorrow. When I told him I was guest-lecturing at Fresno State before doing a TV appearance, we both cracked up. Clearly the folks in charge didn’t check my transcripts before inviting me back to teach.
I sat down to prep for tomorrow’s events, and my mind darted back to my last few G-Free Foodie cooking classes. One of my favorite things is Roast Chicken, but I’ve almost gotten to the point where I won’t teach those recipes because I can’t make it through class without some chick (often more than one) asking me if I can teach them to make Engagement Chicken, or if I can explain the difference between whatever I’m demonstrating and Wedding Chicken.
Yes, I can make it. No, I won’t teach you. Because I think it’s ridiculous.
If you haven’t heard of Engagement Chicken, here’s the short version: it’s Roast Chicken with lemon, herbs and garlic, which is fine, but it’s usually prepared by someone who doesn’t know how to cook much of anything else, for the purposes of getting a boyfriend to propose. And that I just can’t get behind.
Lord knows I’m all for cooking amazing food for your significant other and anyone else who might be around. ALL FOR IT. But if you’re with somebody who isn’t quite bright enough to figure out that you don’t cook any other time, or he/she needs a roast chicken to push them over the edge, and that’s what you’re relying on to set up your future, I don’t even know how to help you – especially in the middle of a class of 24 people. Because in my mind, I’m wondering why you just don’t say: “I made chicken, and also I’d like to get married, let’s talk about that please, I’ll get the wine.”
And if you’re going to make chicken that makes someone want to commit to you for the rest of your natural lives, should it really be lemon & herb? I’m just looking for a life with a little more depth of flavor, I think – in more ways than one. So I’m giving you my recipe for Bacon and Sage Roast Chicken – it’s my personal favorite. Make this one, or create a version you love, and then maybe the person you love will be inspired by your creativity. And hopefully your taste in rock bands.
Here’s the real question – if I throw someone in the pool, does that count as a baptism now?
All the Love –
Wedding Vows & Engagement Roast Chicken
- 1 5 to 6-pound roasting chicken
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 large bunch fresh sage
- 3 shallots, cut into wide slices
- 2 – 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 4-5 slices Gluten Free bacon
- *1 cup Gluten Free chicken stock if desired
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
- Remove the chicken giblets. Rinse the chicken inside and out. Remove any excess fat and leftover pinfeathers and pat the outside dry. Use about 3/4ths of the shallots and half of the sage to create a bed for the chicken in a large roasting pan, place the chicken on top. Liberally salt and pepper the inside of the chicken. Stuff the cavity with the remaining sage and shallots, reserving one nice looking spring of sage to garnish the chicken. Drizzle the olive oil over the chicken to coat, and sprinkle with paprika, salt and pepper. Tie the legs together with kitchen string or a roasting band and tuck the wing tips under the body of the chicken. Lay the bacon slices over the chicken to cover.
- Roast the chicken for 1 hour. If the bacon looks crispy, remove the bacon slices from the top of the chicken and set aside. (If the bacon isn’t crispy, check it again in 5-7 minutes & remove.) Continue roasting the chicken for an additional 1/2 hour, or until the juices run clear when you cut between a leg and thigh. Remove from the oven and tent with foil for 5-10 minutes.
- *If you’d like to make a pan gravy, see directions below.
For pan gravy:
- Place the chicken on a platter for serving, replacing the bacon and adding the fresh sage for garnish.
- Remove the shallots & sage from the bottom of the roasting pan, leaving at least 2 tablespoons of the fat from the bottom of the pan. Place the roasting pan over two burners on medium-high and add the chicken stock and bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat, and simmer for about 5 minutes, or until reduced by half. Serve with the chicken.