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What does it mean to poach?

Poaching is a gentle cooking method in which meat, poultry, fish, eggs or fruit is simmered in a court-bouillon made of water, stock or wine. Poaching helps ensure that delicate meat, fowl or fish does not dry out. Fruit such as pears can be poached in a lightly sweetened simmering bath of water or wine and spices such as vanilla bean, cinnamon or star anise.

The bain-marie is a variation of the poaching method, in which custards, terrines and other dishes are placed in ramekins that sit in a bath of hot water (normally filled to half-way up their sides) and cooked in a slow oven.
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