adventures of an american housewife in the south of france

The Popcorn of Your Dreams

Here's a funny fact about me:  I'm obsessed with popcorn.  When I was in high school, I used to eat one or sometimes two bags of microwave popcorn each day.  It was my favorite snack for after school and/or nighttime.  Since then, my addiction has subsided to a normal person's intake of a few bags a month, and certainly with every movie I watched.  It wasn't until a few years ago that I learned about the dangers of microwave popcorn and how a chemical in the lining of the bag, perfluorooctinoic acid, has been linked to horrible things like cancer.  Many companies have since changed the chemicals they use in their bags, but I really didn't need any further convincing that cooking popcorn in the microwave was no longer the way to go for me.  Besides, microwaves kinda freak me out. So about a year and a half or 2 years ago, Michael and I made a conscious decision to switch to good old fashioned, homemade Stove Top Popcorn (as well as eliminating a microwave from our lives altogether once we moved to France).   Of course cooking popcorn in an air-popper is the healthiest way to make it, but not everyone has such luxurious contraptions around the house, so I like to think cooking it on the stove is a happy medium.  A few weeks ago, I tweeted about finally perfecting stove top popcorn and I got so many requests for my secret, that I decided I had better share my tips on the blog.  Here's how I do it. You'll Need:
  • a large heavy pot with a lid
  • 2-3 tablespoons of vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup of popcorn kernels

so simple!

Easy enough, right?  Put the oil in the pot and swirl it around to try to coat the bottom.  Add about 4 or 5 popcorn kernels, place the lid on top, and shake it up a bit to coat the kernels in the oil.  Turn the heat up to Medium-High.  We have a convection stove here, which ranges from 1-9 and I put mine on a 7.

these are your test kernels and will tell you when the oil is ready

After a few minutes, you will one of the kernels pop.  This is your cue to standby, the oil is almost hot enough.  Once a few more of your test kernels have popped, open the lid and pour in the rest of the kernels.  Replace the lid and gently shake to coat the kernels in the oil and put the pot back on the stove, keeping the same temperature.  After another minute or so, your new kernels will start to pop. This is when you will keep the pot on the burner, but gently shake the pot.  As the popping becomes faster, continue to shake the pot, a bit more vigorously now, and about every 10 seconds or so, crack the lid open allowing some steam to escape.  And that my friends, is my trade secret.  Ever since I started doing that, I haven't burnt a single piece of popcorn. Once the popping has slowed down with about 2-3 seconds between pops, just like in the microwave, your popcorn is done.  Immediately pour the popcorn into a bowl.    Now comes the fun part - the spices!  We like to play around with a lot of flavor combinations (oregano, chili powder, cumin, parmesan) but my go-to combo is very simple:  salt, pepper, and garlic powder.  No need for butter ever - the oil gives it a great flavor and the spices pack enough punch.

yum, yum!

Mix it up real good and enjoy your perfectly popped bowl of popcorn!

sorry for the dark picture. now that i've mostly kicked my popcorn habit, I only eat it at night.

beautiful kernels

4 Responses to “The Popcorn of Your Dreams”

  1. Julia says:

    i am ALL over this.

  2. alyssa says:

    Just a touch of butter and some shakes of the hot sauce will do you right, too! Delish!

  3. Devon says:

    haha – i have seen you demolish bags of popcorn over the years! homemade is the way to go when you are that in love :)

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