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Adventures with Transglutaminase


BryanZ
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  • 9 months later...

Hi Toufas.

Try cookingissues. They have a good breakdown of the different types, including GS. They don't mention EB - did you mean GB?

Happy glueing ...

Leslie Craven, aka "lesliec"
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After a good dinner one can forgive anybody, even one's own relatives ~ Oscar Wilde

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  • 1 month later...

I am in the process of curing a pancetta and was wondering if Activa could be used to bind the meat while it dries? I will be rolling it as usual but it would be cool to have it hold its shape without ties. Also, If I can use it for that purpose, how long would I need to keep it compressed before it would hold together?

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I haven't played with this stuff yet, but I just had the vision of bacon ravioli, bacon stuffed with something good and sealed with TG all around, then fried up. Would that work? Bacon pocket with gooey cheese or something like that inside?

"And don't forget music - music in the kitchen is an essential ingredient!"

- Thomas Keller

Diablo Kitchen, my food blog

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  • 4 weeks later...

I don't have a recipe, but I know you need to melt gelatine into the peanut butter first, then use a robot coupe to add the meat glue. I don't think the amount of gelatine is critical, so long as you have enough for the glue to bond with.

James.

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  • 5 months later...

Hi all.

I was a little undecided about where to post this - it would fit in 'Dinner' or a 'What I did for Christmas' thread quite happily - but in the end, since the common factor in all my recent experiments has been transglutaminase, I figured this would be the place.

I've had some difficulty finding TG in New Zealand. I first started looking for it in 2009 without much luck; I created an eG thread asking about a local source and met some nice eG people online as a result, but no glue was forthcoming. I went off the idea for a while, then when thinking about what I might do for Christmas dinner this year came up with the idea (I know, I'm not the first!) of turducken using only turckey, duck and chicken breasts stuck together with TG. Another search was started, using one or two contacts I didn't have three years ago, and ...

TG.jpg

I hadn't previously heard of Dunninghams, but they've been supplying the food trade with equipment, tools and ingredients for some 90 years, it seems. Normally they sell TG in 1kg bags but they also break it down into 50g 'samples' for $NZ20, which is just about my speed. One surprise was the manufacturer - I'd always had the impression only Ajinomoto made TG, but this one appears to come from Australia.

My first experiment was squid 'pasta', trying to get an effect I'd had at Gelonch in Barcelona last year. Short version - success notably lacking! I used 2 - 3% TG to the weight of the pulverised squid, but it didn't really come together in the way I'd hoped. I need to do some more reseach on these fish noodley things before I try that one again.

Next I tried a stringless filet mignon. First I laid out some strips of streaky bacon (Pestell's from Rai Valley, if you're interested. Nice stuff) on a sheet of kitchen wrap:

Bacon_ready.jpg

Then I sprinkled the TG (the lines are from brushing it evenly over the surface with a silicone pastry brush):

Bacon_brushed.jpg

Next, a nice bit of eye fillet, silverskin and other odd bits trimmed:

Mignon_ready_to_roll.jpg

Starting to roll ...

Mignon_rolling.jpg

... and done:

Mignon_rolled.jpg

The whole thing then spent a day or so in the fridge before I vacuum-sealed and froze it, ready for some sous vide treatment in due course. The bacon appears to have adhered very well, and I look forward to trying the result.

Now we come to Christmas dinner. The first course was a variation of the 'fish checkerboard' written about in Modernist Cuisine and elsewhere. I used strips of monkfish and salmon, did the same sprinkle technique as above and, after 24 hours or so resting in the fridge, the result was this:

Fish_1.jpg

Into a pan with hot oil (my own bay-infused olive oil) - one side done and sprinkled with salt:

Fish_2.jpg

And cut into serving pieces. The monkfish was a little underdone but it didn't seem to matter - next time I'll probably include a sous vide step to ensure everything is fully cooked:

Fish_3.jpg

The adhesion of the pieces was good. I'm very much coming round to the view I've seen elsewhere, that measuring the TG isn't vital; you just need an even coating. There's probably a Goldilocks factor - not too much, not too little. I didn't do a photo of the plated dish, unfortunately, but it was very pretty and worth trying again.

This post is getting a little large. I'll conclude at this point and start a new one for the turducken.

  • Like 1

Leslie Craven, aka "lesliec"
Host, eG Forumslcraven@egstaff.org

After a good dinner one can forgive anybody, even one's own relatives ~ Oscar Wilde

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Right, to resume the story of this year's Christmas dinner ...

I started by dismembering a large (by NZ standards) turkey. The word 'butcher' as a perjorative was coined for people like me. The thighs and various other good bits have been vacuum-sealed and frozen for later and the bones became stock (and very good it was too). All I wanted for this was the breast - and once I got it off I decided I only needed one side, so the other is now also in a vacuum bag in the freezer.

Next, I split the breast to get a (relatively) even strip of meat. I added salt and pepper, sprinkled the transglutaminase and laid a couple of duck breasts, skin removed, and chicken breasts along it. Not the prettiest sight:

Ready_to_roll.jpg

Another sprinkle of TG over everything, then rolled. The final step was a further sprinkle of TG then draping the duck skin over the top:

Rolled_draped.jpg

I wrapped the result firmly in kitchen wrap and put it in the fridge to 'set'. After a day or so I took it out and cooked it sous vide for 6 hours at 62°C, chilled it quickly, dried it and put it back in the fridge uncovered for another couple of days to dry the skin, which seemed to be well-stuck. Here's how it looked at the end of that:

Oven_ready.jpg

Since it was already cooked, all it now needed was about an hour at 170°C. Maybe hotter would have been better - the skin didn't crisp up as much as I'd hoped, but I think we can agree it looked pretty good:

Done.jpg

Starting to slice. You can certainly tell where the duck is, since it's a completely different colour, but the turkey/chicken boundaries are a little harder. Note how well the skin is adhering to the rest:

Sliced.jpg

And served with potatoes roasted in duck fat and sous vide baby carrots, and gravy made with the turkey stock:

3_plates.jpg

It was delicious. Very moist, very tasty. I'll do this again.

So ... transglutaminase. On my (very limited) experience, I'd certainly recommend it as a useful addition to your kitchen if you like to play. It's pretty straightforward to use and nowhere near as finicky as some modernist ingredients. Will it revolutionise how you cook? Probably not. Can you do similar things without it? Mostly, yes - 'traditional' turducken has been around for years; so has filet mignon with the bacon tied on with string or secured with skewers.

But there are some things it can do which will make your dinner party guests (or restaurant patrons) think "how did he/she do that?". Meat glue is a scary concept for some, but I think it can offer you some extra fun in the kitchen. And many of us are here on eGullet because we sometimes like to do things a little differently, right?

  • Like 1

Leslie Craven, aka "lesliec"
Host, eG Forumslcraven@egstaff.org

After a good dinner one can forgive anybody, even one's own relatives ~ Oscar Wilde

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  • 1 month later...

I can now report on further experiments.

Over here I wrapped a nice piece of fillet steak in bacon, held on with TG. I gave it a couple of hours sous vide (54°C, I think), then a good fright in very hot oil:

Mignon_1.jpg

On carving, the bacon had bonded very well. The meat itself was as good as I'd expect for a cut like that. I would have liked to get the bacon more crispy; the whole thing was essentially the same texture all through. Tasty, though, and saves fiddling about with string at any part of the process.

Mignon_2.jpg

My most recent glueing came about as a result of watching an episode of Heston's Feasts - the one where he 'creates' an animal out of bits of a boar, goose, lamb and chicken. The edible part of this was a saddle of lamb, stuffed with pork mince and a pre-cooked cylinder of chicken.

A brief note to worried pedants (like me) who haven't yet got round to checking whether Heston's spelling and pronunciation of his animal - 'cockentrice' - was correct. Briefly - yes. The cockentrice (it has other spellings, but they're similar) was the combined pig/chicken the Tudors liked for their feasts. The thing you're thinking of (like me) is the cockatrice, an entirely different, and mythical, dragon/chicken combination with a bad reputation. But I digress.

At one point in the process, Heston sprinkled some mysterious white powder over his assembled meats before rolling them up. Aha, I thought; I know what that stuff is. And so do you, or you wouldn't be reading this thread.

So, thus inspired, I took myself to my favourite butcher and desired them to produce a saddle of lamb. It's not a cut you see commonly (at least I never had), and my man Fred hadn't prepared one for a few years, but he trundled off out the back and came back with something looking like this:

Ctrice_1.jpg

Imagine two racks of lamb, still attached to the surrounding skin, fat, etc. Now remove the bones. That's what you end up with - a sheet of meat and fat, attached to the skin, and with two meaty strips running down either side of the middle. Mine was, I think, from a bigger/older animal than Heston's, but no matter.

While waiting for the saddle to be prepared I noticed a tray of rather nice looking pork fillets and promptly changed the recipe. Mine would have solid pork down the middle and chicken mince as the third ingredient. Here it is, laid out:

Ctrice_2.jpg

A good sprinkle of transglutaminase:

Ctrice_3.jpg

And then roll it all up. For some reason - probably habit - I tied it with string, but it would make more sense just to use plastic kitchen wrap:

Ctrice_4.jpg

Note the various components. I had to cut it in half; in its original state it was (a) too big for a FoodSaver bag and (b) more than I needed for a single meal.

The following week I cooked one of the halves (the other half is still in the freezer). Nothing fancy - just a conventional oven at 160-170°C for two or three hours. Lovely browning was achieved, and the components are all still identifiable:

Ctrice_5.jpg

And finally with spuds, beans from the garden and gravy:

Ctrice_6.jpg

As with the turducken from my previous post, this worked really well. I'll go further: it was freakin' delicious. Next time I'd give the chicken mince some interesting seasoning - probably some fresh thyme would have been good, for instance - but as it was with just salt and pepper before I rolled it, it was just fine.

Again, you could get much the same effect by cooking lamb, pork and chicken separately and serving them together, but transglutaminase just makes it so much more fun.

  • Like 1

Leslie Craven, aka "lesliec"
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After a good dinner one can forgive anybody, even one's own relatives ~ Oscar Wilde

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  • 2 years later...

... in which I indulge in some topic necromancy to show the result of my most recent employment of TG.

 

Christmas dinner this year was for a group of international waifs and strays we've picked up along the way who, like us, don't have large families to join at Christmas.  So we had two Americans, a Frenchman and an Australian as well as we three New Zealanders (well, wifey was born in England but she's better now).

 

The guests started arriving a little before 1pm and we finally saw them off some 9½ hours later, well filled but still walking.  And here's part of what they were stuffed with:

 

Saddle.jpg.2ea1ab1b8c473eb94b3d497fa50b2

 

It's another saddle of lamb, as in my previous post above (nearly three years ago.  Have I done nothing else since?).

 

The photo was taken today, long after the guests had departed and the meat had cooled down. I think you can identify the components better that way.  The lamb meat can be seen mostly in the two nice pieces at the top.  Between them, right in the middle, is some Toulouse French Grind seasoned minced pork from L'Authentique, a local company whose Toulouse sausages are a very frequent addition to our shopping trolley. There are two more sections of that visible at the four and eight o'clock positions, with pieces of chicken breast across the middle.

 

As before this was all held together with transglutaminase/meat glue (plus string because the TG was getting old and I didn't entirely believe it would still work - but it did, despite being a year past its best-before date!).  What was different this time is I managed to fit the whole thing in a FoodSaver bag so I could cook it sous vide.  I think it's the biggest thing I've done SV, so I gave it plenty of time - something like seven hours at 60°C by the time it came out.  Then it spent another half an hour or so in some duck fat in a hot oven, just to give it some colour.

 

A beautiful result.  The TG had worked perfectly and the whole thing was juicy and delicious.  I even got some respectable gravy out of the bag juices added to some chicken stock and thickened a little.

 

I didn't take photos of the meal preparation itself - I was a little busy at one point, with two Anovas plus the oven going! - but it wasn't greatly different to how it looked in my previous post above.  One of the party doesn't eat pork, so I gave a turkey breast very similar treatment (no TG, but SV first then into the oven) for her, also with very satisfactory results.

 

If you're still wavering about trying meat glue, there's no need to be scared of it.  Yes, used as I do it adds little more than novelty value to your cooking.  But a little novelty never hurt anybody.

  • Like 8

Leslie Craven, aka "lesliec"
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After a good dinner one can forgive anybody, even one's own relatives ~ Oscar Wilde

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lesliec

 

thanks for sharing.  a long  time ago on PBS there was a show called Great Chefs of New York.  and indeed they were great

 

this was way before chefs became Food p0rn stars.   one restaurant chef made a similar item to yours above.   i made it several times as

 

at that time there was a first class butcher etc very near me.   it was a saddle as above, with a veal  mousse  ( 1/2 inch ) then a trimmed filet mignon

 

in the center.  tied up, browned, the slow roasted to the filet was rare.  I loved making it, doing all the boning , making the mousse etc

 

myself.

 

your is more impressive and looks delicious.

 

your saddle brings back fond memories.   no glue was used.  it was about 1984

Edited by rotuts (log)
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9 hours ago, rotuts said:

your saddle brings back fond memories.   no glue was used.  it was about 1984

 

 

Thanks, Rotuts. I've just been having an email conversation with a chef friend (and fellow eG member) about why you'd use TG if you could just use string.  The answer is partly 'because I can', but you do get an effect you just can't get with string.  When it was time to carve, I was dealling with, effectively, one piece of meat.  With a no-TG version you've got the distinct possibilty that the components will separate, causing you presentation stress.  But it's going to taste good, either way.

 

I think it's probably similar to why I cook my beef sous vide before I assemble it into a Beef Wellington.  I'm then dealing with cooked meat and all I have to think about is getting the pastry browned nicely.  But in both cases it's using a cooking technique that will save just a little bit of stress at preparation or serving time.  Should everybody use TG?  Of course not.  But I enjoy dabbling with these slightly less-than-mainstream things.

Leslie Craven, aka "lesliec"
Host, eG Forumslcraven@egstaff.org

After a good dinner one can forgive anybody, even one's own relatives ~ Oscar Wilde

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  • 10 months later...

I'll have to give this thread a little bump.  Last week I prepared a butterflied rump roast with meat glue and tonight some chicken thighs stuffed with homemade toulouse sausage.  The roast was cooked SV ( 24 hr. @ ~138) and the thighs will be grilled tomorrow.  

rP1050296.jpg

 

rP1050306.jpg

rP1050308.jpg

rP1050309.jpg

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Thanks for the topic resurrection, @Steve Irby.  I'm betting the chicken thighs with Toulouse are going to be wonderful.

 

I haven't really given much thought to this year's Christmas dinner, but another lamb saddle as above may well be on the cards.

Leslie Craven, aka "lesliec"
Host, eG Forumslcraven@egstaff.org

After a good dinner one can forgive anybody, even one's own relatives ~ Oscar Wilde

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On 10/28/2016 at 3:13 PM, lesliec said:

Thanks for the topic resurrection, @Steve Irby.  I'm betting the chicken thighs with Toulouse are going to be wonderful.

 

I haven't really given much thought to this year's Christmas dinner, but another lamb saddle as above may well be on the cards.

They were pretty darn tasty. Cooked on a gas grill close to perfection for my taste.  I went on the under-cooked side since I've had a problem lately with flare-ups.  I've been slacken on grill maintenance if truth be told.

 

rrP1050311.thumb.jpg.8449230b41c8f8c5f7a2af22bbcdaf68.jpg

 

rP1050315.thumb.jpg.c6c58081050d62594e8d71545fa5e649.jpg

 

rP1050317.thumb.jpg.e673fb5c67b51ba633646caca245560e.jpg

The Ajinomoto brand that I'm using has to be at least three years old.  I split a ~1 lb. package with a friend and sub-divided into about 8 portions that I vacuumed bagged using a chamber sealer.  The stuff is still doing the job.

 

 

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