Poaching a dead art?

Discussion in 'Professional Chefs' started by nicko, Oct 17, 2001.

  1. nicko

    nicko Founder of Cheftalk.com Staff Member

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    I have rarely seen poached items on menus, and I was wondering if any chefs are doing poached items on their menus? From time to time I have seen a poached fish dish, but it is rare to see a poached filet of tenderloin or poached chicken dish on a menu. In the one Chicago restaurant I worked in we did a poached beef tenderloin that was just excellent. The real trick was to make sure you poaching liquid was seasoned well.

    Anyone running poached items on thier menus this fall?
     
  2. blanchtoque

    blanchtoque

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    I've done the Poached chicken, we called it, Half a boiled Chicken with Motzha Dumplings. I have never Poached Beef before except in a pot a feu (sp?).

    Now let me ask, Why the topic heading of "Is Braising a dead art?"
     
  3. m brown

    m brown

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    braising is hot and heavey in these parts! 'specially shanks of all kinds and ribs.......

    I poach pears in saffron'd wine, roast peaches, grill pineapple, caramelize bananas, maserate dried fruits, poach orange segments then oven dry them to make "lolly pops", I sautee apples, and braise mango!

    I am not even a cook! Proud to be a dough head borrowing from all the fuits of our cultural stew!!!
     
  4. nicko

    nicko Founder of Cheftalk.com Staff Member

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    Sorry about that guys I typed braise in the topic title instead of poach.

    Braised I see quite often and something that I am happy to see on menus. Nothing I love more than a good osso bucco.

    Still what I meant as the topic of this discussion was Is poaching a dead art?
     
  5. blanchtoque

    blanchtoque

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    We poach Fish all the time. One of my favorites ways is in red wine.

    I think Poaching beef suffers from the boiled beef legends of British cooking.

    Does Posoli with pigs feet count as poaching???
     
  6. w.debord

    w.debord

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    Gosh, I've never heard of poached tenderloin. Could you enlighten me more on it? Then are you adding sauce or something else to the beef to finish it?

    The name doesn't sell 'poached tenderloin' it need more cache'.... But then it's all about trend away. I'm not sure which comes first the trend in restaurants and cooking shows or an article in a major publication sparking the interest?

    But sooner or later the grilling craze will pass (after they've sold their last grill pan) and we will need something 'exotic' to latch onto. The problem with poaching is it needs to require purchasing new eqipment too. It's hard to go BAM with poaching, it will require a new catch phrase or ingredient too. What about adding chile oil to your poaching liquid, we could have a whole craze over the liquid options? Wines vs Chilie oils vs soy sauce....

    I remember my Mom having fondue parties with the neighboors 30 plus years ago. She eventually threw out her fondue pot after it went out of style, just think I could have had a neat retro fondue pot, ****!

    Wouldn't it be funny if this thread got read by a magazine writer (looking for a new idea) and Nicko started a poacing trend?
     
  7. nicko

    nicko Founder of Cheftalk.com Staff Member

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    I still hardly ever see poached fish on a menu. Maybe for banquets, but not on a restaurant menu. The when I was Les Nomades in Chicago working with my former partner Chris Koetke who was the chef at the time we used to do a poached beef tenderloin. The poaching liquid was very salty and almost seemed over seasoned but it had to be in order give the meat the proper flavor. It was good, and very tender, but as I said it was the only place I have ever seen it done (very classical French I believe).

    I just think poaching of fish and meats is a great menu item and I was wondering if other chefs are using this somewhat forgotten technique.
     
  8. kimmie

    kimmie

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    Charlie Trotter also poaches tenderloin. His recipe is in his book «Kitchen Sessions».

    I didn't try that yet but I always wanted to. That will be on the menu in my new kitchen...:lips:


    Nicko: Could poaching be a Chicago thing rather than a thing of the past?
     
  9. compassrose

    compassrose

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    Speaking as an eater rather than a chef, I'd LOVE to see more poached items on menus... 'cos poached, of course, is usually one of the code words for "slightly healthier" especially if the description doesn't include other words like "in seasoned oil"...

    Nothing better than a nice something beautifully poached in savoury liquid. Stick a little "lower-fat selection" or "heart-healthy" symbol beside the menu item (and, of course, make sure it IS lower fat even after the kitchens get done with saucing and plating it) and poaching should sell.

    When I eat out, I am always looking for healthy options that I DON'T have to go crazy with customising to make that way. One, I know it's a pain to the kitchen staff, especially if busy (and while I know none of you would ever do this, enough of my friends are waitresses that I've heard some horror tales of what p-o'd kitchen staff do to the dishes of those that have the nerve to order special things during a rush). Two, while sometimes I have ended up with something really good, too often when I ask to leave off this, put that on the side and please don't use any butter, I end up with something meagre that's been thrown together. Just because I don't want to exceed my recommended fat gram allotment for the week in one meal doesn't mean I want to spend money on food that's not worth eating; I know very well (because I do it all the time) that it's fairly easy to make food that tastes delicious AND is also good for one.

    So -- in short, I'm with Nicko here. Where's the poached stuff?
     
  10. isa

    isa

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    I love poached fish, and fruits but for some reason poached meat doesn't really appeal to me.
     
  11. lynne

    lynne

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    I agree with you Nicko about poaching appearing to be a thing of the past. I don't think I have seen anything on a menu that is poached (except quail eggs at one or 2 upscale restaurants that feature game)!

    I do do poached salmon with cucumber scales for some occasions and a number of other fish dishes where the fish figure in as a poached component.

    Of course then lots of different poached fruits for breakfast fruit or dessert courses.

    Even true poached eggs seem to be a thing of the past. A lot of restaurants don't do them properly for some absurd reason. Lots of places now if you order eggs benedict ask how you would like your eggs - scrambled, "boiled", like an omelet.... [just the breakfast pov]
     
  12. isaac

    isaac

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    i was reading this interesting post and i ran across when someone said that grilling will fade away. i think it is part of the american cuisine...just in my opinion... i dont think it will fade away. everyone loves grilled food.

    anyway... i just love the poach food too. i used to poach salmon in a red wine for one customer who got thrills out of the fact that the red wine turned the salmon nice and red.

    i cant speek for the rest of the people but i think one of the reasons why americans somewhat shy away from poached items is that they think it doesnt offer complex flavors like grilled items or sauted items do. however... what they dont know is that it actually does add its own edge of complexaty.

    i also think it is heathier for people to eat poached items... les fat. personally... i think that poached items are very important but i think americans havent really catched onto it as much as like grilling (for example).

    also... poaching requires skill. not saying that only professionals can do it. my mom wants to poach fish but she doesnt know how. i think it is slowely catching on in america.

    there is my two cents.
     
  13. w.debord

    w.debord

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    Issac my comparison to grilling was about the fact that cooking is all about trend. One day "trend" will revisit poaching because it is a valid method and healthy too. I think Americans' follow what's put before them mostly. If you put poached items out there in cooking shows and magazines people will buy them in restaurants.

    Nickos' right though, it's really only on the banquet menus. And it's remains very popular there! Could it be that it requires too much skill and time from the line thats why chefs don't put it on their menus....in more average restaurants? Cold poached items have less holding time that raw product cooked to order. So wouldn't waste be a factor too in why it's not seen much?
     
  14. daveb

    daveb

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    Don't sell "boild beef" short. In Vienna, its considered an art form. It's considerably differrent from the dry gray slabs of "whatever" that our campus cafeteria used to serve up.
     
  15. hubuk

    hubuk

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    Does this recipe count as poaching - it is one of the most enjoyable recipes I have cooked. I vary it to use fresh mushrooms. Alan spedding was one of the UK contestants on the UK version of Masterchef.

    Chicken with wild mushroom cream

    This is one of Alan Spedding's recipes. Alan has featured on several TV cooking programmes as a keen amateur chef.

    Alan Spedding: "This has got to be the single best tasting dish that I`ve ever cooked, the smokey taste of the wild fungi makes it worth the small expense that you`ll have to fork out for them but take my word for it, the taste is orgasmic, the recipe simple, and once savoured never forgotten. The recipe serves two."

    Ingredients
    2 Nice free range chicken breasts (skin off)
    1 pkt. of dried " morels" or "cep " mushrooms soaked in 250 ml warm water.
    150 mls chicken stock.
    150 mls dry sherry.
    250 mls Double cream (fresh, not long life)

    Method
    1. In a saute or frying pan, melt a large knob of butter , season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper then gently fry to seal the meat for one minute each side over a medium heat. Turn up the heat, turn the chicken and add the mushroom stock from the soaked mushrooms. ( reserve the mushrooms to one side )

    2. Allow the mushroom stock to boil away and reduce down, keep turning the chicken breasts to ensure even cooking. When the stock has reduced to a syrupy consistency, add the chicken stock and repeat the process of reduction again to the syrupy stage.Don`t forget to keep turning the breasts in the pan. Add the sherry and repeat once again until the syrupy stage is reached, now add the mushrooms and the cream.

    3. Bring the cream to the boil in the pan and then allow to boil away for a minute or so until it begins to thicken up and take on a sauce like consistency. Serve the breast sliced or whole, topped with the mushrooms and the sauce. It goes really well with oven roasted root vegetables.

    4. It really is important when making this dish to taste, taste, and taste again and then you`ll be able to learn how the flavours change during reduction and exactly when to add the next ingredient.

    5. Now to try, and to prepare yourself for an explosion of the tastebuds and for one of the best tasting experiences of your life. Give me some feedback, let me know what you think, and if you get into difficulty give me a shout and I`ll sort it.

    Serves 2
     
  16. nicko

    nicko Founder of Cheftalk.com Staff Member

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    W.DeBord,

    I think that it is important to recognise that a properly poached fish, chicken or piece of meat takes a lot of skill. When I think of the poached salmon that I have seen in banquets it is mostly cooking the fish till it is very over cooked in a flavorful liquid. Obviously there is a lot more to it. Take for instance a poached sol vin blanc, if improperly prepared it becomes watery.

    I think that poaching salmon is a quick menu item for banquets and most people just leave at that.
     
  17. elakin

    elakin

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    i have seen "olive oil poached" fish on a number of upscale menus lately. this is seemingly a new trend....and one that i think works very well.

    the oil can be infused with flavors (peppercorns, herbs...) and then is barely warmed through. cool enough that you can dip your finger in without it burning. usually, a "meatier" type of fish is used, like sturgeon, swordfish, or tuna, and it's cooked very gently in the oil for 10 or 15 minutes until it's mid-rare.

    this technique cooks the fish very gently (much like normal poaching). it stays nice and moist and has a great, meaty texture.
     
  18. nicko

    nicko Founder of Cheftalk.com Staff Member

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    elakin,

    We used to do that in France, with salmon. Very slowly, cooked the fish in good quality olive oil. Very good, and very tender.
     
  19. chiffonade

    chiffonade

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    Poaching can be viewed as something that needs "hands on" attention. If something is being poached it implies its cooking time is brief. If close attention is not paid, it can become tough. Poached fish is ever so briefly cooked so it's in and out of the poaching liquid quickly enough for it not to be a problem.

    Braising on the other hand, takes long and is usually done during prep time and either held or re-heated. For braised dishes, reheating is perfectly acceptable because braised dishes improve with prolonged cooking. (I know you wanted to address simply poaching, but I figured while I was at it...) Braised dishes are preferred because they require little or no a la minute attention - just plate with sides and out.

    If enough poached dishes are done, it might be in a chef's interest to assign someone to do only this task. If the kitchen is stretched thin (and let's face it, if you're not Wolfgang Puck, the kitchen is probably maxed), poached items might suffer in quality without that dedicated person.
     
  20. chefjohnpaul

    chefjohnpaul

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    I used to do a variation of an escabeche' that was actually a poached item. I'd take peanut oil and saute' garlic, shallots, and ginger, add sake, water, and rice vinegar, bring to a boil and pour over raw fillets of salmon in a shallow dish but deep enough to cover fillets. Let stand for 20 min and the salmon would be cooked through perfectly and never over cooked. Serve with sticky rice and wasabi beurre blanc. ICHIBAN.

    Did I read a post that said to saute' chicken breasts on both sides to 'seal' them? (see Harold McGee's - "On Food & Cooking" about searing and sealing):confused: