A Recipe to Woo With

30 October 2007

Last Friday, many of the respondents to my Friday Five asked to have the Chicken That Got My Wife to Marry Me recipe.  She often refers to this dish, in reverent tones, as “The Hen.” Since I am more of a cook than a baker, much of my cooking is done by eye and taste (i.e., without strict measurements).  Here it is.


  • One whole chicken
  • Several sprigs of thyme: the more the better
  • A lemon
  • About half a pound of prosciutto: I usually ask for 10 very thin slices.  While I cook, I’ll probably eat a slice or two.
  • A stick of softened butter, although less will work
  • An apple, preferably honeycrisp
  • 2 lbs. of new potatoes (yukon golds also work.
  • A celeriac (aka celery root)
  • Salt and pepper to taste.


  1.  Take out and rinse chicken.  When selecting a whole chicken (or any skin-on cut) look for a bird with white skin.  The yellower the skin, the less fresh the chicken.
  2. Peel the lemon so you are left with the zest.  Stem the thyme so you have only leaves and soft stems.
  3. As the chicken drains and dries, take the prosciutto, the lemon zest, the thyme, and some salt and pepper.  Be sparing with the salt, as the prosciutto is salty.  Put it in a food processor and blend until the ingredients are a smooth, light pink butter.
  4. Carefully loosen the skin of the breast so that you can slide a finger or three under the skin.  Push some of the mixture under the skin.  Put in a score or two near the joint of the thigh and drumstick; push some of the mixture under the skin of the thigh and drumstick.  Smear the remaining mixture on the surface of the bird.  Insert apple into orifice.
  5. Place the chicken, breast down, in a large pan and place the pan in an oven preheated to 375 degrees.  Cook for twenty minutes.  (If you wish to avoid fat splattering, put an inch of water in the bottom of the pan.)
  6. Cut the new potatoes into quarters, peeling if desired.  Clean and peel the celeriac carefully.  At the store, try to select a medium-sized celeriac with as few knobs as possible; it can be a difficult root to clean.  Cube celeriac.
  7. After twenty minutes, take pan out of oven.  Place the chicken breast-up on a cutting board.  Take potatoes and celeriac, mixing them in the bottom of the pan, making sure to stir well with the melted butter (and any water), coating all the pieces.  Replace chicken, breast-up, in pan.  Cover all with foil.  Put chicken back in the oven, now at  300 degrees.  Cook until done, usually another twenty to forty minutes.  Let the chicken rest ten minutes before carving


  • Greek-style: instead of butter and prosciutto, use a butter/feta/olive mixture.
  • For a chunkier experience, mix the prosciutto/butter/thyme/lemon mixture without blending.

7 Responses to “A Recipe to Woo With”

  1. Mindy Says:

    Oh my, I would have married you! I have to try this because my mouth is watering just reading the recipe!

    Now you will have a whole lot of internet girlfriends!!

  2. Deb Says:

    Never heard of celeriac… or honeycrisp apples so now I have going to have to go awandering on the ‘Net!

    Sounds totally delish! Wonder if it would work for turkey (if you upped the proportions, of course…)


  3. Deb—

    I think it would work on a turkey. I’d brine the turkey first, and maybe use sage and/or rosemary instead of or in addition to the thyme.

    Honeycrisp apples are really good. They are sweet, have a nice, crisp flesh, and a slight perfumey bouquet.

  4. Mother Laura Says:

    Oh, sounds fantastic. What a lucky woman your wife is.

  5. Beth Says:

    I am a very, very lucky woman!

  6. Tripp Says:




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