Great fried chicken is all about balance. The meat should be tender and juicy, while the coating is crisp and crunchy. This recipe achieves both with a flavorful, tenderizing brine and a crackling flour and cornflake crust.
Basic brine (makes 4 cups)
- 1/3 cup kosher salt
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup juniper berries
- 2 tablespoons black peppercorns
- 4 bay leaves
Blueberry sweet & sour sauce (makes 1½ pints)
- 1½ cups sugar
- 2/3 cup seasoned rice wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons ketchup
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 1 cup blueberries or other fruit such as blackberries or chopped peaches
- One 3- to 4-pound chicken, cut into 10 pieces
- Basic brine (recipe above)
- 4 cups all-purpose flour, divided
- 4 cups cornflakes
- Vegetable oil, for frying
- 2 cups buttermilk
- Blueberry sweet & sour sauce (recipe above)
For the brine:
Combine 4 cups water, the salt, sugar, juniper berries, peppercorns, and bay leaves in a pot and bring to a boil. Stir until the salt and sugar dissolve, then remove from the heat and let cool completely before using. It will keep in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
For the blueberry sweet & sour sauce:
Combine the sugar, vinegar, ketchup, and cornstarch in a small saucepan with 1⅓ cups water and bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until bubbly and thick, about 5 minutes. Stir in the fruit and set aside to cool. Cover and refrigerate for up to 1 week.
For the chicken:
1. Combine the chicken and cooled brine in a large pot and refrigerate overnight.
2. Bring the chicken in the brine to a simmer over medium heat and cook until the chicken is just cooked through, about 20 minutes. Remove the chicken from the brine and let cool. Discard the brine.
3. Make the batter by combining 2 cups of the flour and the cereal in a gallon-sized plastic bag. Seal the bag and use your hands to crush the flakes and mix them with the flour.
4. Heat oil in a deep fryer to 375°F or, alternatively, heat 2 inches of oil in a heavy-bottomed pan to the same temperature.
5. Put the remaining 2 cups flour in a shallow baking dish. Pour the buttermilk into a second shallow baking dish. Pour the cornflake mixture into a third baking dish. Dredge each piece of chicken in the flour, then the buttermilk, and finally the cornflake mixture to coat well. Working in batches, drop into the oil and fry until golden brown, turning as needed, 5 to 6 minutes. Take care not to overcrowd the pan or fryer; cook only 3 or 4 pieces at a time.
6. Remove the chicken from the oil, blot on paper towels, and sprinkle with salt. Serve with the blueberry sauce.