Mark Bittman's Cooking Tip For Perfect Chicken

If you're like many Americans — who chow down on an average of 80 pounds of chicken per year, according to the South Florida Reporter — then you really, really like poultry. Whether tossed in seasoned flour and fried to perfectionbraised with Mediterranean flavors, or marinated and then grilled until tender, there's no denying that this versatile, accessible protein is a winner when it comes to lunch, dinner, and even, occasionally, breakfast sandwiches.

While most folks who enjoy cooking chicken prefer to grill, fry, roast, or pan-sear it — in that order — according to a Tasting Table poll, few might think to poach it. This method of simmering whole or cut pieces of chicken in water or broth can be associated with bland diet food, but it doesn't have to be that way, according to food writer and recipe developer Mark Bittman.

Poaching chicken in wine produces a tender, flavorful bird

Unless you're consciously adhering to a low-fat diet, then poaching chicken might not be your cooking method of choice for the versatile poultry. Prone to tasting bland and turning out dry due to a lack of added fat in the recipe, according to Taste of Home, poached chicken is often overlooked in favor of more flavor-imparting preparations.

But poached chicken's bad reputation is a shame, according to various chefs; Andrew Zimmern, for example, favors slowly poaching the bird in a pot of hot chicken stock by turning off the heat and letting it sit, while food writer Mark Bittman grabs a bottle of white wine as his preferred poaching liquid. All that flavor in the wine will gently infuse into the bird, Bittman told People, while its high acidity levels will keep the poultry nice and tender as it cooks.

Any bottle of white you have on hand will do, Bittman notes, "Dry, fruity, even sweet will all work great."