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Poêler is a French cooking method between steaming and braising. It is a combination of dry and moist cooking methods. At first the food is steamed in a covered saucepan or casserole over medium heat with a minimum of liquid. At the end of the cooking time, the heat is increased and the lid removed until the food is "fried" to a light brown colour.

Poêler is a cooking method especially for poultry and poultry parts with skin, butcher's meat with a skin or sinew cover (i.e. veal brisket), protein-rich fillings, and fish in its own skin.

The skin or sinew cover consists to a large proportion of collagen, which softens through moist cooking at medium heat – at about 100 °C – and stores humidity. (When cooked at high, dry heat, the collagen gets hard and brittle; fat and meat juices can be lost.) Fat cells of the hypodermis give off water, even if only small amounts are available.

The muscle tissue underneath the skin is low in collagen but rich in water, albumin and globulin, and cooks best at medium heat of 70 °C (optimum) to 80 °C (maximum). Thereby the water binding properties of the proteins albumin and globulin unfold and only a very small part of the meat juices evaporates. Collagen stored in the muscle also softens during moist cooking and absorbs some water. Therefore the texture of the meat stays juicy.

Towards the end of the cooking time the skin is soft and slack. High temperature dries it up fast and turns it to a delicate and crispy crust without damaging the underlying muscle tissue.

Poêler is similar to steam-frying which is mostly used for vegetables. For steam-frying a heavy skillet is used. The vegetables are stirred over a high heat and very small amounts of liquid are added once in a while to prevent sticking. This cooking method also ranges between steaming and frying.


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