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Recipe courtesy of JCT. Kitchen

Fried Chicken and Sea Island Red Peas

  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 26 hr 10 min (includes brining time)
  • Active: 45 min
  • Yield: 4 servings
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Chicken and Brine:

1 cup kosher salt

1/4 cup sugar

Pinch black peppercorns

4 sprigs fresh thyme

1 sprig fresh rosemary

Two 3- to 4-pound chickens

Sea Island Red Peas:

1 pound red peas

2 cups chicken stock 

1 1/2 cups veal stock 

2 tablespoons sherry vinegar

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 fresh bay leaf

1 carrot, medium dice

1 Vidalia onion, medium dice

Fresh thyme 

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 cups chopped kale or other sturdy green

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

Seasoned Flour:

4 cups all-purpose flour

6 ounces cornstarch

4 tablespoons kosher salt

3 tablespoons granulated garlic

2 tablespoons cayenne pepper

1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper

1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Buttermilk, for soaking chicken

Peanut oil, for frying

Sea salt


  1. For the chicken and brine: Combine 1 gallon water, the salt, sugar, peppercorns, thyme and rosemary in a pot and stir over medium heat until the salt and sugar are dissolved. Let cool, and then pour the brine over the chickens in a large container. Let brine in the refrigerator for 24 hours.
  2. For the red peas: Combine the peas, stocks, vinegar, garlic, bay leaf, carrots, onions, thyme and some salt and pepper in a pot and bring to a simmer. Cook until the peas are tender, and then stir in the greens until wilted and tender. Stir in the butter right before serving, and season with more salt and pepper if needed.
  3. For the seasoned flour: Mix together the flour, cornstarch, salt, garlic, cayenne, black pepper and nutmeg.
  4. For frying the chicken: Heat 1 inch of peanut oil in a heavy-bottomed skillet to 330 degrees F. Cut each chicken into 8 pieces. Soak in enough buttermilk to coat well, and then toss in the seasoned flour, ensuring that all of the nooks and crannies are covered. Pat off excess flour, and then place the dark meat pieces in the skillet (these need to cook longer than the chicken breast). Fry for 4 minutes, and then add the white meat pieces and cook until chicken has reached an internal temperature of 165 degrees F, turning halfway through. Once done, place the chicken pieces on brown paper bags to remove any excess oil, and season with a sprinkle of sea salt. Serve with the red peas.

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