Saturday, September 24, 2011

Stovetop Popcorn

My last post got me thinking....I wonder how many people just pop a bag of microwave popcorn when it is so easy to pop your own on the stove top! I mean, nothing beats the taste of fresh popped popcorn, and it's even better when you can control the oil/seasoning.

Here's what you need:

Popping corn (~1/4 cup), vegetable oil (not olive oil though!), & seasoning.

Medium saucepan with lid

That's it. See, making popcorn isn't so hard!

The trick to popcorn perfection is high, fast heat. You want to turn the stove to a little more than medium-high (I put mine on the "8" of my stove), but not all the way to high.

Pour a little oil in the bottom of the pan. I like to use around 1 tablespoon, but you can use less/more if you want.  You really do need some sort of oil though to keep the popcorn from burning or tasting stale. Add 3 or four kernels of popcorn to the pan and put a lid on it. These are your "test" kernels. 

Once these kernels pop, you know that the oil is the perfect temperature (and not too hot!). Immediately pour in the rest of your popcorn.  I use 1/4 of a cup, which makes a little less than 3 cups of popped corn. Once the kernels are in the pan, put a lid on it. The trick to keeping the popcorn from burning depends on a few factors:

  1. Do not walk away from this pan for any reason!!!
  2. Gently "shake" the pan to keep the kernels moving/swirling around 
  3. Just like with the microwave, when the popping stops for more than 3 seconds, remove the pan from the heat 

When the popping stops, carefully pour the popcorn into a bowl, season and enjoy. Just be wary of any renegade popcorns that may pop at you as you pour. Personally, I use the lid of the pan to shield myself from any flying corns.

I can eat this entire bowl all by myself....but feel free to adjust the amount of uncooked kernels based on how much you will eat.

Here are some of my favorite seasoning ideas:

  • black truffle salt
  • parmesan cheese
  • cinnamon & sugar (2 parts cinnamon to 1 part sugar)
  • salt and pepper

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