The Way to Cook Chicken in White Wine

You probably know many ways to cook chicken, but do you know Julia Child’s way to cook chicken in white wine? In this post, the Serendipity Farmhouse Test Kitchen explores Julia’s master recipe Chicken Simmered in White Wine.

way to cook chicken

Hi! Now that Autumn has arrived, let’s see what Julia Child has to offer that suits the season.

For us at the SFH Test Kitchen, chicken immediately came to mind. When poached or simmered with vegetables, the aroma fills the kitchen with the promise of a warm meal. Better yet, when prepared in white wine or vermouth one can only feel a sense of Autumn cheer.

A grouping by techniques

My amazing kitchen staff and I are well versed in four primary cooking techniques. They are dry-heat cooking with fat, dry-heat cooking without fat, moist-heat cooking, and combination cooking.

Julia’s recipe is an excellent example of moist-heat cooking. That’s because, depending on which variation of her master recipe you use, you will be poaching or simmering.

way to cook chicken

Throughout her book The Way to Cook and DVD set, Julia emphasizes the logic of grouping items by cooking techniques or methods. In her words:

“The technique is what’s important here, and when you realize that a stew is a stew is a stew, and a roast is a roast whether it be beef, lamb, pork, or chicken, cooking begins to make sense.”

Combination of Techniques

way to cook chicken

Julia demonstrates how various techniques are combined within a recipe. She starts with a master or template recipe and then adds to it. In the case of chicken cooked in white wine, she adds aromatic vegetables. The vegetables are julienned. Item #115 in the Way to Cook DVD shows you how to do it.

Choice of White Wine

Although you can use almost any type of dry, white wine with this dish, you may want to take a tip from Julia. She recommends that you use a fine, dry French vermouth. This adds a noticeable accent to the overall flavor.

Vermouth is a fortified white wine. But don’t worry, the alcohol is cooked away during the 25 minutes when the chicken is simmering. – We found out years ago that Julia’s favorite vermouth was Noilly Prat. We always keep a bottle in reserve for Julia’s recipes.

So, let’s gather our mise en place and get to work. You can do it the way we do it, or you can try out any of the variations offered by Julia. Whichever you do, have fun and –

Bon appétit!

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Recipe Resources

If you would like to learn more about Julia’s way to cook chicken in wine, here are some resources that will help.

Chicken Poached in White Wine – In this video from “The French Chef” TV series, Julia demonstrates a technique for poaching chicken in white wine. This is a very basic version of the recipe. In the same video, Julia demonstrates how to modify the recipe for serving in a casserole.

In 1989, Knopf released the cookbook The Way to Cook. Internet Archive has posted the complete cookbook here. A version of the recipe we used, Chicken Simmered in White Wine, is on page 144.

In 2009, Knopf released The Way to Cook DVD. The accompanying booklet lists the recipe our Test Kitchen used in item#114. the booklet uses a slightly different name for the recipe – Chicken Poached in Wine with Aromatic Vegetables.

More resources are listed in the Wikipedia article – The Way to Cook.

way to cook chicken

The Way to Cook Chicken in White Wine

You probably know many ways to cook chicken, but do you know Julia Child's way to cook chicken in white wine? In this post, the Serendipity Farmhouse Test Kitchen explores Julia's master recipe Chicken Simmered in White Wine.
Prep Time 45 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine French
Servings 4 people


  • A covered flameproof casserole, chicken fryer, or electric frying pan that will hold the chicken and vegetables comfortably


  • cups each julienned carrots, celery, and onions. See item #115 in DVD booklet. We only used a cup of each vegetable.
  • 2½ to 3 lbs. cut-up frying chicken
  • Salt to taste
  • ½ Tb tarragon
  • cups dry white vermouth or white wine
  • 2 cups more or less of chicken stock, canned or homemade
  • 1 bay leaf


  • Julienne 1½ cups each of carrot, celery, and onions. See item #115 in DVD booklet
    way to cook chicken
  • Mix julienned vegetables and strew one-third of them in the bottom of a heavy casserole.
    way to cook chicken
  • Place dark meat of chicken (legs and thighs) on top.
    way to cook chicken
  • Season with salt and tarragon.
    way to cook chicken
  • add another layer of vegetables. Then then add the white meat (breasts and wings).
    way to cook chicken
  • Season again, and top with remaining vegetables.
    way to cook chicken
  • Pour in wine and enough stock almost to cover chicken. Add the bay leaf.
    way to cook chicken
  • Bring just to the simmer and cover.
    way to cook chicken
  • Cook at a slow simmer 25 minutes, or until done.
  • Serve as is, over steamed rice. We used wild rice.
    way to cook chicken


Accompaniments: Serve the chicken and vegetable julienne over a bed of steamed rice or wild rice basted with the chicken juices.
Keyword chicken in white wine

See Chef Blondie’s video demonstrating this recipe: Here!

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