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Video: Twist on fried chicken: Sunny’s sweet tea brine

  1. Closed captioning of: Twist on fried chicken: Sunny’s sweet tea brine

    >> we are back with today's kitchen. what's for dinner? we have classic favorites with a twist.

    >> that's right. sunny anderson created delicious dishes for your family. they'll devour these things. her new cook book is sunny's kitchen. easy food for real life . welcome back.

    >> thank you.

    >> before we get to the food -- i want to get to this food. i love chicken especially. we were reading about your background. i wasn't aware of how many different kinds of lives you've had.

    >> i've lived many lives. that's probably why i'm a cat mama. i'm 38 and right out of high school i went into the air force for broadcasting. i did radio work for some time and i lived in korea like good morning vietnam and then i just -- you guy versus my military picture up.

    >> did you think we would ask and not show the picture?

    >> so i went away and enjoyed my time in the military. did radio and new york hot 97.

    >> but there was a love of food and here you go.

    >> now you have your own cook book .

    >> can you believe it?

    >> you have ten different chicken wing recipe.

    >> yeah, wings are the first thing i ever did on food network . lots of chicken wings but these are my fried three piece chicken wings .

    >> you brine those though.

    >> yes. kosher salt and sweet tea . soak it in the south. that's some water.

    >> what did you think it was? vodka.

    >> i don't know. it is sunny anderson .

    >> drunken chicken . brining, if you're wondering what that is, it's just a marinade and getting flavoring in there and the salt is important because not only does it flavor the inside of the chicken but it plays it nice and moist.

    >> that's right here and you pat it dry and what you want to do is start to dredge. i build a dredge in a paper bag. very simple. what's different with my dredge, it's not just ploflour, i add cornstarch to it. it makes it nice and crisp for you. add salt in there savannah.

    >> a pinch.

    >> just a little pinch.

    >> okay.

    >> some pepper. and the rule with chicken when you're frying is chicken is wet. add something dry. shake that up.

    >> good one.

    >> while she is doing that, we need to make the syrup.

    >> i serve it with sweet tea syrup. very easy. i have sugar in here.

    >> a lot of sugar in here.

    >> yes, sir. reduce it down with a little bit of tea. that's lemon juice and lemon zes.

    >> all of it?

    >> throw the zest in.

    >> okay.

    >> you cook it down and then i add in fresh thyme.

    >> to contrast the flavors there.

    >> it is so good. then you go to go into the egg wash.

    >> let's see if it's better.

    >> so the egg wash.

    >> get your fingers in there.

    >> salmonella everybody. wash your hands always. so then after you're done with the dry, you go into the wet. that's egg, cayan, drop that into the oil.

    >> not that one. this one.

    >> that right there and what i like to do is let the chicken wait and hang out so put that into the oil.

    >> stand clear.

    >> clear.

    >> like you're doing surgery.

    >> thought it was going to explode?

    >> about 15 minutes and it's done. i got that over here.

    >> great recipes in this book.

    >> thank you.

    >> we love having you here.

    >> congratulations.

    >> y .

    >> announcer: from nbc news, this is today's take with al roker , natalie morales , and willie geist . live from studio 1 -a in rockefeller plaza .

    >> welcome to today on this

TODAY recipes
updated 9/6/2013 11:22:04 AM ET 2013-09-06T15:22:04

Recipe: Fried sweet tea chicken

  • Brined chicken
  • 4 cups sweetened tea
  • 1/2 cup kosher salt
  • 1 lemon, halved
  • 1 chicken, 4 1/2 to 5 pounds, cut into 10 pieces
  • Syrup
  • 2 cups sweetened tea
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • Grated zest of 2 lemons
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
  • Kosher salt
  • 3 or 4 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves stripped and gently chopped
  • Coating
  • Peanut or vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch

For the brine:

In a large bowl, whisk together 2 cups water, the tea, and salt until the salt dissolves. Squeeze the lemon halves into the pot, add the halves and the chicken pieces, submerge, and soak for 2 hours at room temperature.

For the syrup:

In a medium pan over medium heat, combine the tea, sugar, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Simmer until reduced and thickened like syrup. Taste and add a pinch of salt. Stir in the thyme.

Prepare to fry. In a large pot, heat 6 inches of oil until a deep-fry thermometer reaches 325 degrees Fahrenheit. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, cayenne, a pinch of salt, and a few grinds of black pepper. In a paper bag, shake together the flour, cornstarch, a pinch of salt, and a few grinds of pepper. Drain the chicken from the brine and pat dry. Dust the chicken in the flour and shake off excess. Dip each piece in the egg, then back in the flour to coat. Set on a wire rack to let the coating sink in for 15 minutes.

Fry the chicken. In batches, fry the chicken until golden brown on both sides and cooked through,

15 to 20 minutes, depending on the size of the piece. Remove from the oil and set on a paper towel–lined plate to drain. Drizzle with the sweet tea syrup.

Serving Size

Makes 4 servings

Recipe: Spicy garlic-studded meatloaf

  • Garlic
  • 12 garlic cloves
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • Kosher salt
  • Spicy ketchup
  • 1 1/2 cups ketchup
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons Sriracha hot chili sauce
  • Meatloaf
  • 1 egg
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 8 to 10 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves stripped and chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped Vidalia or sweet onion
  • 1 scallion, minced (white and green parts)
  • 1 pound ground beef chuck (80% meat, 20% fat)
  • 1 pound ground dark meat turkey
  • 3 slices potato bread, lightly toasted and cut into 1/4-inch cubes

Prepare the garlic. Trim a thin sliver off each end of the garlic cloves and discard. In a small pan over medium heat, melt the butter with a pinch of salt. Add the garlic and cook on one side until golden, then flip to cook the other side. (You get extra points if you do the curved side!) Each side should take about 3 minutes. The goal is not to cook them through, just give them color. Remove from heat. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

Prepare the ketchup sauce: In a medium bowl, stir together the ketchup, vinegar and Sriracha. Set aside.

Blend the meatloaf seasoning: Whisk the egg in a large bowl, then whisk in the salt, pepper, and paprika until smooth. Add the Worcestershire, thyme, onion, scallion and ½ cup of the ketchup sauce. Stir to combine.

With your fingers, gently crumble both the chuck and turkey. Add half the crumbled chuck to the large bowl, then some bread, then half the turkey, some more bread, and repeat until done. Adding this way will make mixing easier and lighter for a juicier loaf. Add the reserved garlic and, with one hand acting like a pitchfork, gently mix the meatloaf, bringing the egg mixture from the bottom to the top while turning the bowl with the other hand until everything is gently combined. Transfer the meat to a 9x5-inch loaf pan and flatten the top. Pour the remaining spicy ketchup sauce on top and spread evenly.

Cook the meatloaf. Bake the meatloaf uncovered for 50 minutes. Remove and rest for 10 minutes.

Over the sink, tilt the loaf pan slowly to one corner to drain the excess fat and juices. Don’t worry, the meatloaf will still be juicy because you let it rest! Slice 1-inch-thick portions and hope for a double-clove slice!

Serving Size

Makes 6 to 8 servings

Recipe: Kale in coconut milk

  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1/4 pound slab bacon (fatback), sliced, then cut into small 1/2-inch-thick rectangles
  • 1/2 cup chopped Vidalia onion
  • 1 bunch kale (11/2 to 2 pounds) ribs discarded, chopped
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 1 cup beef broth

Crisp the bacon. Put the butter and bacon in a large pan and cook over medium heat until the bacon begins to crisp and renders most of its fat. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a plate (no need to line with a paper towel).

Cook the veggies. Add the onion to the pan and cook until softened, 5 to 8 minutes. Add the kale and season with a pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper. Cook, tossing, until it wilts, about 5 minutes.

Finish and serve. Add the coconut milk and broth and continue to cook until the kale softens, another 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the reserved cooked bacon, toss, and serve.

Serving Size

Makes 4 to 6 servings

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