Friday, December 2, 2011

Culinary IQ: Friday, December 2, 2011; Poaching

To Poach

Today I am going to discuss the last of the seven classic French cooking methods, Poaching. When I am done discussing poaching I am going to give you the recipe for Roast Prime Rib of Beef that has become a Christmas tradition at our house and uses the the roasting method.


Poaching can be described as boiled without boiling. It refers to the gentle, slow cooking that requires the piece to be completely covered by a hot liquid. The goal of poaching is to tenderize a tough piece of meat, or to use liquid to impart flavor to an ingredient during cooking. It is also used to hydrate certain dry ingredients that require liquid for cooking such as rice and pasta.

Traditionally, poaching starts with a cold liquid and the liquid is brought to the desired temperature as quickly as possible. The poaching liquid is normally flavored by aromates. The liquid is brought to a temperature that can gently cook the piece, but the one constant is that the liquid is never brought above the boiling point during the cooking process. However, the poaching liquid itself can be brought to a boil before the product is added.

The poaching process is categorized as follows:

Type: expansion, starting in a cold liquid. Concentration, starting in a hot liquid.
Humidity: humid
Color: white

The Poaching Process

  • Prepare the piece. 
  • Prepare the liquid for cooking.
  • Immerse the piece and cook.
  • Remove from liquid and keep covered.
  • Finish the sauce.

Poached foods can be served hot or cold, and are usually served with a sauce, either covered by the sauce or if whole, the sauce can also be served in a sauce boat.

  • Meat or poultry
  • Fish
  • Vegetables
  • Eggs
  • Grains
  • Pasta
So now you know about the seven classic French cooking methods, give them all a try.

Roast Prime Rib of Beef
Serves 10 to 12

Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
1 ½ tablespoons Kitchen Bouquet
1 tablespoon dry Colman's mustard
1 8- to 9-pound beef rib roast , bone in
1 cup peeled and sliced (⅛ inch thick) yellow onion

Rub the seasonings on the roast in the order listed. Pack the sliced onion on the roast. Place the roast on a rack in a roasting pan. Roast in a preheated 450°F. oven 20 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 325°F. and roast 1 hour more. Reduce the oven to 300°F. and roast about 1 hour more, or until the beef registers 115°F. for rare in the center when tested with a meat thermometer. Remove from the oven and allow to stand 15 minutes in a warm place. Slice and serve immediately with Wine Sauce for Beef

Wine Sauce for Beef
Makes about 2 cups

2 ½ cups beef stock or broth
½ cup dry red wine
Salt to taste

Bring the beef stock or broth and wine to a boil in a small saucepan. Simmer, uncovered, until reduced to 2 cups. Add any pan drippings from the rib roast to the sauce. Strain the sauce and skim off as much fat as possible. Add salt to fast. Serve with roast beef.

Poaching adapted from: Cuisine Foundations, The Chefs of Le Cordon Bleu. Publisher, Delmar Cengage Learning.

Roast Beef Recipe adapted from: The Frugal Gourmet Celebrates Christmas, Jeff Smith. Publisher, William Morrow and Company.

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