Wed 1 Apr 2009
When my husband and I moved to New York, we no longer had the “luxury” of having a microwave oven. We had one when we lived in Northern Virginia but left it behind when we moved to NYC as we knew kitchen counter space would be extremely limited. We have gotten along quite well without this modern convenience and we barely ever missed having one except for when we had a craving for popcorn. Yes, as artificial as it is, we only ever ate microwave popcorn. I once tried to cook Jiffy Pop but I burned it. Then we got to the point where we would only have popcorn when we went to a movie theater.
I started to think, “Geez, what did people do before microwaves when they wanted popcorn?” When I was a little girl (pre-microwave ovens) my parents had a hot air popcorn popper. Well, I don’t have one of those and I am not about to go buy one. I tend to agree with Alton Brown regarding single-use kitchen items. When space is at a premium, as it is in our apartment, I need my kitchen equipment to be multi-functional.
So, I did some experimenting and taught myself how to make stove-top popcorn. It really only took 2 tries to get it right. (The first time, I used too much oil and took the pot off the stove too soon, leaving a ton of unpopped kernels behind). The second time, I got it right. Here’s how I do it:
Using a large heavy-bottomed 8-quart pot over medium-high heat, heat just enough canola oil to generously coat the bottom of the pot (about 1 tablespoon). Then add enough popcorn kernels (I used Arrowhead Mills Organic Popcorn) to form a single layer in the bottom of the pot (about 1/2 cup). Shake the pan well to coat the kernels in the oil.
Cover the pan. Once the kernels start to pop, occasionally shake the pot from side to side/front to back to make sure that the unpopped kernels stay settled at the bottom of the pan and the popped corn does not burn. When the popping has slowed significantly, remove the pot from the heat and carefully remove the lid away from you (beware of escaping steam!).
Pour popped corn into a large serving bowl, top with your favorite popcorn toppers (melted butter, fine sea salt, Parmesan cheese, chili powder, finely chopped fresh herbs, what-have-you) and toss well to evenly distribute the deliciousness.
Now, pop in a DVD of choice and enjoy some fresh, hot, all-natural homemade popcorn!