Discovering this “new” old popcorn recipe has certainly been an eye-opener for me. I found it at a food blog where the author wrote that her mother discovered it years ago from a popcorn package. Yes, this is the way we made popcorn back in the fifties and sixties, and it had been long forgotten by me. We have been using air-poppers and then microwave poppers, and now ready-made microwave bags, so that most of us have no idea how good popcorn can taste when made the old-fashioned way.
Making popcorn from scratch oftentimes resulted in scorched Old Maids (unpopped kernels). The author claimed that this recipe produced “Perfect Pop Corn,” unburned, with all the kernels popped. I was motivated to put her to the test. No longer storing “real” popcorn in my pantry, I went to the grocery and purchased a jar of gourmet popcorn by that guy with the funny sounding name that I cannot spell.
So far I have produced three batches of perfect popcorn. The first I popped in a heavy duty Emeril pan. The second two I used a cast iron enameled Cousances pan with a glass lid. It was really fun to watch the kernels popping and the iron pan has a spout, so that the lid does not fit air-tight, which, they say, helps to keep the popcorn crisper. Perhaps, in the past, we did not have access to such fine pans in our kitchen. These are heavy-duty guys! I have a gas range, and I was not able to shake the pans. I did tilt them a bit – but that may not even be necessary.
I used canola oil and “gourmet” freshly ground salt, and found the taste of this popcorn to be so incredibly delicious right out of the pan that I did not use the butter. I think we will be eating breakfast, lunch and dinner for a while from that jar of Orville’s popcorn.
Elise’s Perfect Popcorn
- 3 Tbsp canola, peanut or grapeseed oil (high smoke point oil)
- 1/3 cup of high quality popcorn kernels
- 1 3-quart covered saucepan
- 2 Tbsp or more (to taste) of butter
- Salt to taste
1 Heat the oil in a 3-quart saucepan on medium high heat.
2 Put 3 or 4 popcorn kernels into the oil and cover the pan.
3 When the kernels pop, add the rest of the 1/3 cup of popcorn kernels in an even layer. Cover, remove from heat and count 30 seconds. (Count out loud; it’s fun to do with kids.) This method first heats the oil to the right temperature, then waiting 30 seconds brings all of the other kernels to a near-popping temperature so that when they are put back on the heat, they all pop at about the same time.
4 Return the pan to the heat. The popcorn should begin popping soon, and all at once. Once the popping starts in earnest, gently shake the pan by moving it back and forth over the burner. Once the popping slows to several seconds between pops, remove the pan from the heat, remove the lid, and dump the popcorn immediately into a wide bowl.
With this technique, nearly all of the kernels pop (I counted four unpopped kernels in my last batch), and nothing burns.
5 If you are adding butter, you can easily melt it by placing the butter in the now empty, but hot pan.
6 Salt to taste.
Makes two quarts, a nice amount for two people, or for one hungry one.