We have enjoyed using Activa to maximize and manipulate often overlooked poultry parts, particularly the skins. From our block of Ducks Skin to our Chicken Skin Crusted Grouper the potential inspires us. It was not until earlier this week, amidst a 4 day workshop, that chicken bellies revealed themselves.
We trimmed the two sides of the belly off the bird and dusted them with Activa. We pressed them together, keeping the skin on the outside. We vacuum sealed the bellies and refrigerated them overnight to give the transglutaminase in the Activa time to bond the pieces together. Then we cooked the vacuum sealed belly for 2 hours at 65°C in the CVap. After 2 hours we chilled it in an ice bath. When it was cold we took it out of the bag and seared it in salted butter. It browned gently, then we let it rest, and finally we sliced it for tasting.
The chicken bellies were rich, gelatinous, and juicy. They were also a little too firm and chewy. They could cook for another hour to continue to break down the collagen and connective tissue. The bonded bellies have a size and shape of a small veal cheek or a large striped bass cheek. The luxurious flavor and texture really got our attention. And besides, there are other birds, from ducks to turkeys, that have bellies too.