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  Poaching
 

 

Definition:

Cooking food either partially or completely covered by a liquid which is brought to, and maintained at a temperature just below boiling point.

 

Poaching is an effective way of cooking foods for either hot or cold service.

Not only does it produce healthy food but it enhances flavour. It can, however, require considerable skill and judgement, particularly with complex shallow poached fish dishes.

Some dishes described as poached are strictly speaking a mixture of boiling & poaching for example a whole poached salmon.

 

Purpose:

The main reasons why foods are poached are because:

- it is a fast method of cooking tender food

- food is moved as little as possible and does not break up or fall apart

- poaching liquid can contribute to taste and make good bases for sauces

- keeps flavour of food well and does not add fats/oils

 

METHODS:

1) Deep Poaching -     involves covering the food with cooking liquor, and is usually carried out on top of the stove at 96c.

 

2) Shallow Poaching - is where the food is partially covered with cooking liquid. The process is usually started on top of the stove and continued in the oven. The liquid usually comes two thirds of the way up the food. The food is usually covered by a "cartouche" and often with a lid as well.

In shallow poaching the liquid is normally used to form the basis of the sauce.

  

EQUIPMENT
 

Various equipment can be used to poach foods:

                      Saucepans

Brat pans

Fish Kettles -  specially designed for processing whole fish - tight fitting lids - containing a perforated drainer with handles - made from stainless steel, aluminium or tin-lined copper.

Round or oval frying pans, "sauteuse" and "plats sauter" - used for shallow poaching - made from fireproof china, tin-lined copper, enamelled cast iron.

 

Advantages

Food is easily digestible when poached

 

 

Disadvantages

Skill is required when poaching food

For many foods it is not a suitable method

 

Examples of foods which you might choose to cook by poaching:

 

 

Farinaceous        gnocchi

Eggs

Fish                     sole

Fruits                   fresh and dried

Poultry                 chicken