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Poaching is the process of gently simmering food in liquid, generally water, milk, stock or wine.
Poaching is particularly suitable for fragile food, such as eggs, poultry, fish and fruit, which might easily fall apart or dry out. For this reason, it is important to keep the heat low and to keep the poaching time to a bare minimum, which will also preserve the flavour of the food.
The poaching liquid is called court bouillon and a classical court bouillon consists of: an acid (wine, lemon juice), aromatic (bouquet garni), poaching liquid, and mirepoix. The liquid should ideally be around 160-185¡ãF (70-85¡ãC), but when poaching chicken, it is vital that the chicken reach an internal temperature of at least 165¡ãF (74¡ãC) in the core, in order to be ingested safely.
Poached eggs are generally cooked in water and vinegar, fish in white wine, poultry in stock and fruit in red wine. Typically an egg is poached just to the point where the white is no longer runny and the yolk is beginning to harden around the edges.