Sweet Tea-Brined Roast Chicken for Sunday Supper

Credit…David Malosh for The New York Times. Food Stylist: Simon Andrews.

Good morning. It was peak cherry blossoms last week where I stay, the flowers almost ready to spring off their branches to blanket the curbs like drifts of snow. There was a deep humidity in the air and it made me think of summer down south, the way the atmosphere can seem almost liquid under the sun, everything ripe, everything slow. I made sweet tea and drank it over an enormous amount of ice, on the stoop, marveling at how sometimes sweet tea is the best tea, even if you usually drink tea straight, no sugar, with not even a lemon to counter the tannins.

Sweet tea is reckless tea, unhealthy tea, a liquid candy bar, not something to drink every day. But it has its place, and I made enough of it so I could use the leftovers as a brine for Millie Peartree’s luscious roast chicken (above).

It’s a dead simple recipe, perfect for a Sunday dinner. Combine the tea with a big handful of Cajun seasoning and marinate chicken legs in it all day. Then roast them on an oiled sheet pan in a hot oven for a little over 30 minutes, until they’re crusty dark brown and cooked through to the bone. Baste with the juices and serve with baked sweet potatoes, oh my.

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Sweet Tea-Brined Roast Chicken

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That’s Sunday sorted, then. As for the rest of the week. …


I scored some thick fillets of tautog the other day and used Julia Moskin’s recipe for pan-roasted fish fillets with herb butter to coax them into a state of perfection: crisp on one side and softly just-done within. Use whatever fish you can find that is local and fresh and you’ll experience similar joy.

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