Poaching or poaching is a cooking technique from the Latin excalfacĕre, ‘heating’ whereby food is heated in a liquid (it may be a broth, broth, milk or simply water) while stirring slowly, never reaching during the process the boiling point mijoter point – 80 ° C, this is the fundamental difference it has with blanching.

The food to be poached must be completely submerged in the hot liquid during the process. It is usually referred to as a poached egg .


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  • 1 Other terms
  • 2 short broths for poaching
  • 3 Foods suitable for poaching
  • 4 How to poach small parts
  • 5 Times and temperatures to poach each food
  • 6 poached eggs
  • 7 Sources

Other terms

Poaching consists of cooking a food immersed in a liquid just boiling. It is a low temperature cooking technique, with poaching the food does not lose juice, if it is well done it is very far from the scouring pads and tasteless sick foods that are usually associated with the word “boiled”, they retain the flavor that It is their own (although you can incorporate the aromatic ingredients you want) and they are very well presented since they hardly shrink.

Short broths for poaching

To poach, you can use meat or poultry broth or fish fumet (depending on the ingredient to be cooked) or more usually short broth, which consists of water mixed with one of the previous broths, or with wine or vinegar or even milk, and flavored with various vegetables and herbs. They are seasoned with salt and peppercorns or lemon. The name comes from the French court bouillon, which refers to the short cooking time it requires compared to the broth itself.

Short broth mix water and meat or fish broth in equal parts, season at the rate of 10 grams of salt per liter and add vegetables (onion, carrot, leek, celery, according to the recipe), herbs (parsley, thyme, bay leaf, also according to the recipe) and some peppercorns. It is simmered about 15 minutes before using it.

Short broth to the wine , mix the water with white or red wine in equal parts and season with 12 grams of salt per liter and a few grains of pepper. Vegetables and herbs are also added and cooked about 20 minutes over low heat.

Short vinegar broth put 75 milliliters of good vinegar for every liter of water. The rest of ingredients and elaboration, like the previous one.

Short broth with milk (for fish): add 75 milliliters of milk for each liter of water, and season with 15 grams of salt per liter and a few drops of lemon juice. This broth does not need to be previously cooked.

Food suitable for poaching

They are suitable for poaching: beef, veal, poultry, lamb, fish, both in large pieces and in small pieces, which will logically vary the cooking time. Eggs are naturally poached, too.

How to poach small parts

  • For chicken breasts or thighs, beef or beef tenderloins, loins or slices of fish, small fish, small birds, we will heat the corresponding broth, which will never be much, but only enough to cover them a couple of centimeters above. Once boiling, we will introduce the food into it and turn off the fire.
  • The resting time, with the casserole covered, will range between 5 and 15 minutes depending on whether it is meat or fish, the size and thickness, whether or not they have bones.

The ox and the veal should be left with little inside. How to poach large pieces: They are placed well in a container in which they fit almost just (always taking into account how we are going to remove them later).

Whole large fish: The fish are poached in elongated containers with a rack on the bottom that allows them to be removed whole once cooked without breaking (lubinera). It is advisable to prepare this grid, either smearing it with butter , or placing a non-stick paper to prevent the fish from sticking. It is possible to improvise a casserole of this type by making a double bottom of aluminum foil with which to remove the fish. It is not the same, but it allows us to have casseroles of various sizes if the stocker we have is too large or does not arrive.

In any case, know that historically it has been considered a gastronomic crime to chop a large fish. Anecdotes abound about the problems of cooking overly large fish, starting with the famous Emperor Domitian who ordered a special vessel to be made so as not to have to chop a turbot, and who from then on always traveled with a team of expert potters just in case. We do not enjoy such means, nor in general are we lucky enough to be able to get those huge fish worthy of a great feast, but if something similar happens to us – within a limit – we can resort to the oven. The fish is prepared the same, covered with the short broth and poached in the oven at a low temperature (the water must not boil).

Whole birds: To poach the birds must be cleaned well and flanged with twine so that the legs are close to the body. They can be stuffed, stuffed, truffled, whatever you want. They can also be prepared boneless and stuffed (just like veal, pork or lamb). In this case they are sewn well and cooked wrapped in a well tied gauze so that they do not lose shape.

Once the piece is placed in its casserole, it is covered -about 3 centimeters above- with the broth at room temperature and the corresponding aromatic ingredients are added according to the recipe. The water is brought to a boil almost abruptly and is kept, extinguishing the fire if necessary, in a very light boil.


Times and temperatures to poach each food

  • Poached temperature: It will be around 90º. Taking into account that fish, birds etc. they are introduced into the water at room temperature and heated gently to avoid gushing.
  • Poaching times: Counted from the moment the correct temperature is reached will be approximately:
  • Whole fish: 14-16 minutes per kilo (depending on thickness)

Whole poultry without boning: 45 minutes per kilo. Boneless and stuffed pieces of veal, pork or poultry: 1 hour per kilo.

Poached eggs

Eggs are poached in water with one tablespoon of vinegar per liter. A large frying pan or low casserole is used for this.

The eggs are broken one by one in a cup and are also introduced one by one when the water is boiling, then the heat is lowered and they are allowed to cook very gently for 3 or 4 minutes, depending on the size. During cooking, a slotted spoon is used to constantly wrap the yolk with the white. If the eggs are not very fresh, the previous operation is completely useless and the egg will be scattered and ugly.

Then they are removed and drained on a cloth. They are trimmed to make them beautiful. If they are not going to be served immediately, put them in a container with cold or lukewarm water according to the expected service temperature.

Perfectly shaped poached eggs (in cling film): There is a way to cook the eggs, halfway between the poached and molded, which looks pretty good. This involves lining a cup with plastic wrap and cracking the egg there. The package is closed with a plaster of bread or tied with twine and removed from the cup. The 65 grams are cooked in boiling water for 4 minutes and the 75 grams for 5 minutes.

Then the plastic is removed and served. If we want them to be more rounded, the bags are tied with a long string and hung from the handle of a wooden spoon that is left over the edge of the pot of boiling water. Thus the eggs are submerged without touching it.

Poached eggs are the basis of many recipes and combine with a lot of sauces, especially with vegetables and vegetable creams.

How to serve poaches In general, all poaches can be served cold or hot, with some sauce (mayonnaise, vinaigrette, butter or cream, vegetable creams, veloutés …), they can also be covered or accompanied with gelatin.


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