About Poaching

About Poaching

To cook fully immersed in barely simmering water. Do not mix up poaching with boiling, which in turn causes most meats to become dry and hard and delicate seafood fillets and eggs to break apart.
Just about any liquid may be used for poaching, however water and stock are classified as the most often used. One common poaching liquid is the vegetable stock known as court bouillon, made from simmering fragrant veggies like carrots, onions, leeks and fennel with a bouquet garni in water with some white wine. Some other poaching liquids include meat or fish stock, light sugar syrup (for fruits), and most basic of all, water flavored using natural herbs and a little white wine or wine vinegar.

Occasionally the poaching liquid is served around the poached foods in wide soup dishes so that the liquid can serve as a delicate stock-like gravy. For many poached foods, particularly poached meats, like French pot-au-feu or Italian bollito misto, the poaching liquid is served individually as a first-course bouillon. The poaching liquid may also be stored and used for making soups or gravies.
For even cooking, begin large whole fish and larger parts of meat in cold liquid and smaller, quicker-cooking foods, like small whole fish and fish steaks, in hot liquid. There are numerous reasons behind this. If a large fish begins in simmering liquid, the surface of the fish will cook before the heat has a chance to permeate to the inside, so that the outside will overcook prior to the inside is cooked. If however, a small fish begins using cold water and the water slowly heated, the fish can overcook before the liquid even reaches the simmer. Starting up in cold liquid induces slow-cooking meats to throw off scum that may be properly skimmed to help keep the stock clear. However quick-cooking of tender meat cuts would be best started in simmering liquid in order that the outside cooks quickly, leaving the inside rare to medium-rare.

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