January 19 is national popcorn day! Chef Erin Circelli-Russell, head chef at Fanshawe's The Chef's Table shares her recipe for gourmet popcorn.
Here's what you need
7 sprigs thyme, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 tbsp orange zest
1 tbsp canola oil
1/3 C popping corn kernels
1 tbsp smoked paprika
To taste salt & pepper
Garnish orange zest, freshly grated
In a small saucepan, melt 3 tablespoons of the duck fat with thyme, garlic and orange zest over very low heat. Allow to infuse for about 6 to 8 minutes. It should only sizzle the tiniest bit. Remove the pan from the heat for a few minutes if it gets too hot.
In a large pot, heat vegetable oil and the remaining 2 tablespoons of duck fat over medium heat. Once the duck fat has melted, drop in four or five kernels of popcorn. Put the lid on and wait for the kernels to pop.
When the kernels have popped, immediately remove the pot from the heat and add the rest of the kernels. Wait 30 seconds, then put the pot back on the fire. The corn should start popping almost immediately. Shake the pan every few seconds to make the un-popped kernels fall to the bottom of the pot. When the popping slows to about 5 seconds between pops, remove from the heat and pour the popcorn into a large bowl.
Remove the garlic from the infused duck fat. Drizzle the infused duck fat over the popcorn, stirring between additions. Season the popcorn with salt, pepper, and paprika. Add freshly grated orange zest to finish it off.
Erin Cirecelli-Russell is the lunch chef for The Chef's Table at Fanshawe College. With a life-long passion for cooking, Erin's career began in her early teens where she worked in banquet halls and at a local pasta shop. After graduating from Fanshawe's Culinary Management program, she travelled the world where she dove deep into local life and cuisine. Erin loves to encourage students to try new and exciting mash-ups with food and drink. In her eyes, there are no rules when it comes to food and cooking.