The food industry puts too many chemicals in our food, it’s an idea I wholly concur with, which is part of the reason I do almost everything from scratch. There are enzymes and amino acids which have been lumped into that idea of chemical which Molecular Gastronomists have embraced and which I use regularly in my kitchen. One of my favorite kitchen toys is Activa, aka transglutaminase.
Restaurants and supermarket butchers use it to make uniform cuts of meat. Simply take two small pieces, sprinkle the amino acids, and put them together. The amino acids will fuse the two pieces into one.
When I first purchased Activa, like most people, I went overboard fusing deer with beef, or putting chicken skin on pork, or poultry legs where nature did not intend them to be. Now, I use it more incorporate scraps or shape what I’m making, as I did here.
I took the meat from several deboned legs (tendons removed) and fused them into on piece. I made slits in the meat to “stuff” it with Mushroom Pate (link coming). To keep the moisture and flavor from the pate in the meat I fused the skin from chicken breast over it. Then I pan fried the meat in a non-stick pan until it was just about done and browned the skin in the broiler. It was amazing. It was pretty normal here — I do this all the time. Mushrooms and chicken are a natural match. Adding different seasoning to parts of the meat, not several seasonings all over the meat made each bite unique. The skin was crispy, the inside self saucing and moist.
Don’t discount food additives just because they have a long name, or are processed. Activa is just an amino acid and enzyme which can help you explore your creativity in the kitchen.