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Definition of Poaching:

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 both 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 poach are strictly speaking a mixture of boiling & poaching for example a whole poached salmon.


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

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

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.

Various equipment can be used to poach foods:


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 á sauter" - used for shallow poaching - made from fireproof china, tin-lined copper, enamelled cast iron.

Always check equipment for cleanliness, cracks or defects. Clean by washing in hot water and detergent, rinsing and drying.

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1. Collect equipment and check for cleanliness, capacity & lid.

2. Collect ingredients and prepare.

3. Prepare the cooking liquid.

4. Add seasonings and flavourings.

5. Maintain cooking temperature after putting food in carefully.

6. Pay attention to timing.

7. Drain carefully and prepare sauce.

8. Garnish

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see also Fish Preparation

Draining - take care that food does not fall apart use palette knife or fish slice.

Reducing - shake the pan and stir to prevent burning

Holding for service - hold as little as possible - eggs can be refreshed and reheated as required.

Use of Cartouche - defined as greaed grease proof paper placed over shallow poached food.

Court-bouillon - which is a flavoured liquid used mainly for poaching fish

Fumet - is a reduced stock used when shallow poaching fish .

Skinning - of poultry prior to poaching or remove from fish prior to service.

Eggs - add a little vinegar to the water break egg into cup and pour into water.

Fruit - cooked in hot syrup often with lemon juice added.

Make sure cooking liquor is cool when adding fish - hot liquid will contract the surface and spoil appearance.

Skim - frequently when cooking meat and poultry to remove impurities.

Blanch - meat before poaching to remove impurities i.e.. bring to boil from cold - drain and refresh.

Truss poultry and Tie meat in a neat shape to ensure even cooking.

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