Updated: August 26, 2011

The three cooking methods we use here are really the healthiest ways to cook anything. But chicken is now a freezer staple consumed by more Americans than beef or pork (not surprising, since skinless chicken is an excellent source of lowfat, high-quality protein). Breast meat is the leanest per ounce (47 calories; 1 gram of fat), followed by legs (54 calories; 2 grams of fat), wings (58 calories; 2 grams of fat) and thighs (59 calories; 3 grams of fat). Here are the best ways to cook your bird and keep it lean:

1. Stir-frying Rapidly cooking in a small amount of oil, in a wok or large skillet, over high heat. The pan should be large enough so that all food comes in frequent contact with the hot surface. Cutting meat and veggies into uniform pieces ensures that everything will finish cooking at the same time.

2. Braising Pan-searing followed by simmering in liquid. Searing (pan-frying in very little oil to create a golden crust) locks in flavor and moisture, and leaves flavorful morsels clinging to the bottom of the pan that are quickly incorporated into a sauce once liquids are added.

3. Poaching Simmering in water or broth until cooked through. This technique is ideal for recipes that require pre-cooked chicken, such as salads, enchiladas and sandwiches. For extra flavor, add whole peppercorns and bay leaves to the simmering liquid.

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