I don't know when exactly it happened, but at one point in my life, popcorn has usurped pasta as my ultimate comfort respite cooking for a hangry meal, and it's been a fulfilling relationship to this day.
I love the sound of popcorn when combined with oil and stirred on the bottom of a large pot - like little marbles clattering around on a frozen pond. I love the pop-pop-pop sound it makes behind the walls of the cooking vessel. At first gently but persistently, then excited and relentless, then determined but absent-minded. I love the heady popcorn fumes that escape when you open the lid after it's all said and done. And there is no greater satisfaction than pouring a pot of popcorn into a giant bowl and discovering that there isn't even a single unroasted core in the entire batch. Oh the thrill of it all!
The sad thing is that most people never see these little triumphs because most people either buy a) pre-popped, pre-seasoned popcorn in a big bag, which is a huge waste of money, b) make microwave popcorn, which is marginally better, but still has a cardboard-like texture and is more expensive than necessary, or c) just eat popcorn at the movies, where all the spices are artificial and clumsy (and BIGGEST SCAM EVER).
So I'm setting a sunny yellow flag for the popcorn kitchen and want you to know exactly how to climb this mountain of snacks. That's right: I'm going to teach you how to make popcorn on the stove. And nothing will ever be the same.
First thing: get some popcorn kernels. Even if you opt for organic, which is completely optional, popcorn is very cheap, generally less than $ 1 for a 4-ounce serving, while getting store-bought $ 4 back for the same amount. You will also need cooking oil (extra virgin olive oil is my favorite, but peanut, canola, grapeseed, and vegetables all work) and kosher salt. If you want to season it my way - which I highly recommend, although I'm obviously biased - get a canister of nutritional yeast and some mashed red chilli flakes (Aleppo pepper ideally, but you can achieve it with normal). Ones). The combination of these ingredients results in a cheesy, tangy flavor dust for the popcorn that challenges the dominance of Nacho Cheese Doritos.
To make the popcorn, you'll need a cooking vessel with a lid that has room to grow. The volume of the popcorn will multiply dramatically and it will take empty space to zoom in. The lid keeps it from ricocheting in your kitchen, although that's a fun party trick. You will also want to use a saucepan with good thermal conductivity.
Grab your olive oil. For ½ cup of popcorn kernels - a decent amount for 4 regular popcorn people or 2 crazy popcorn eaters - add 3 tbsp. Oil in the pan. Yes, it seems like a lot of oil, but without it, steam won't build up in the pot, and without the concentrated, moist heat of the steam, it won't pop.
Set the pan on medium heat, pour in ½ cup of popcorn kernels, stir to coat with oil, and keep stirring occasionally until the kernels start to sizzle. Place the lid on the pan and slide the dial midway between medium and medium high. Nowhere go! Soon, but not too early, there will be popping noises from the pot. After this has happened for a minute or two, take the pot with the lid on and shake it up and down. This is to prevent the dreaded scourge of unpopped kernels - you will hear them clink in them. Let the popping go on, but if you see tendrils of smoke escaping from under the lid, immediately reduce the heat to medium.
When the popping has subsided into an eruption every few seconds, turn off the heat. Tilt the lid to allow some steam to escape because squishy pops are an abomination. After a minute of steaming, pour the popcorn onto a rimmed baking sheet or your largest and widest bowl. Immediately drizzle ¼ cup of olive oil over the popcorn. This must be done while it is still hot, and then you need to toss thoroughly, with the intention of coating the kernels with oil. When embellished, sprinkle nutritional yeast, chilli flakes, and kosher salt generously on top, then toss vigorously to distribute them. If you're more of a melted butter person, or want to add grated cheese, or lots of pepper or whatever, this is what you should do. The most important thing is that you need to add the fat first - olive oil, coconut oil, butter - and then everything dry - spices, salt as we're conquering popcorn, I stand with you.