We all know how deliciously convenient microwave popcorn is. How many times have we tossed a bag in the microwave and watched it spin in a mesmerizing circle under those yellow lights. The bag starts to swell with steamy popcorn air and the smell of butter (or perhaps, butter scented chemicals??) fills the air. The microwave timer ticks down, the popping slows and you know it’s mere seconds before you can start chowing down on salty, buttery goodness. I know, it’s hard to resist. But there IS another and dare I say, better, way...
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A while back, popcorn became our late night, go-to snack. It was easy and delicious, but honestly, it was kind of an expensive habit to keep up with! So when browsing the selection at the grocery store, my eyes wandered to the bottom shelf where a hefty bag of unpopped, yellow kernels started calling my name! My frugal mind did a rough calculation and figured that 1/3 cup serving size will run you on average less that $0.20! Mamacita, that's a good deal...
I remember when I was little, my grandmother would make stovetop popcorn for us to snack on….always plain with LOTS of salt. I would shovel handfuls into my mouth, licking every last bit of salt off my fingers. Talk about good! That simple, freshly popped popcorn from the stovetop will always fall in the nostalgic snack category to me.
Once I remembered how easy it was to stovetop pop, it was on! No more buying bags of microwave popcorn and no fancy air popping machine necessary. All you need is a large, deep sided sauté pan (3 quart should work) with lid, 1/3 cup good quality popcorn kernels and 2 1/2 tablespoons of a high smoke point oil. We typically use canola or vegetable, because it's what we usually have on hand, but peanut, coconut and grapeseed oil are all great choices for popcorn.
Add oil and 3 kernels to pan over medium-high heat, with the lid on. Once the kernels pop, pull the pan from the heat and add the remaining kernels. Shake the pan around, making sure that all of the kernels have been coated in oil. Leave the pan covered, off of the heat, for around 20-30 seconds. This will help the kernels get close to their popping point, so that they can all pop together when they're back on the heat.
Add the covered pan back to heat and wait for the popping to commence! Give the pan a good shake every few seconds. Once they start to pop, stay close and listen to the popping sound! Once the popping slows to around a couple of seconds between pops, pull from the heat, leave the lid on and shake the pan around until there's no more popping.
You should end up with around 10 cups of popcorn. Pour your beautifully popped popcorn into a bowl and finish off with your favorite flavors. You could just add some salt and call it a day, but there are so many tasty ways to finish off this stovetop popcorn.
You could add some melted butter and salt for a classic, movie theater style. We added a little fresh parsley and black pepper to this batch!
Or you could get fancy with some olive oil, grated parmesan, kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper.
Or make it spicy with some hot chili oil, crushed red pepper and ground red pepper.
*If you're adding oil or butter to your popcorn, be sure to add it in a slow, circular motion, so that it evenly coats the popcorn instead of drenching a few pieces. You don't want soggy bits in there!
Thanks for Chewsing!