4/18/08

Chicken, Artichoke, and Mushroom Pizza with Caramelized Onions

Delivery? Screw delivery. We make our OWN pizza. You know why? Because we can do THIS. This is good. VERY good.

It's nice to make your own pizza because you get EXACTLY what you want on it and you know damn well what quality your ingredients have. You can also get creative. Whatever you're craving, you can make it into a pizza. Mark and I recently went to a small bar/restaurant called Bar Cento in Cleveland and it served Belgian beer and made these great thin crust grilled specialty pizzas. One of the pizzas was called "Liver and Onions" and to some, that might sound gross. But to me and Mark, it sounded awesome.

Turns out, it had a foi gras and rice mixture all over the pizza accompanied by caramelized onions. Now, who thought liver and onions could turn into a pizza? That's just an example of what can be done with a pizza when you want something different from pepperoni and cheese (which don't get me wrong, I love that too).

So when I made this pizza, I was really in the mood for artichoke hearts. I had been craving them for days and I knew we just bought a new jar of them. We had an extra pizza dough left over from a few nights ago when we made pizza, so I thought I'd get creative and make a unique and hearty pizza that incorporated artichokes into the ingredients. I immediately thought of a chicken and artichoke pizza and thought back to all the times I've had that combination of toppings from a pizza delivery place. They were sometimes ok, sometimes not good at all, but never as good as I knew they could be. The chicken was always dry and there were only two flavors; chicken and artichoke. No other layers of flavor, and well... we just can't have that!

So, before I get into the toppings, let's start with the pizza dough. Mark and I did an abundance of pizza research (it was a tough job) and eventually came up with a pizza dough recipe that we both really like and the best part is... it's fat free! Yeah, seriously! It tastes good, and it's fat free. Well, the crust is. We totally screw things up once we throw down with some toppings, but what are we trying to prove, huh?

You'll find the pizza dough recipe posted below along with today's specialty pizza recipe. Here's how it's made:

Start with 1 1/2 cups tepid water and mix in 1 tablespoon of sugar until it's dissolved.

Next, add 1 tablespoon (or 2 - 1/4 oz. packets) of yeast to the water and mix until pretty much dissolved.

Once the yeast water starts to bubble up like this, you know the yeast has been activated and it's ready to go.

In a mixer bowl, combine 4 cups high gluten (12%) flour (we like King Arthur bread flour the best), and a 1/2 tsp salt. Combine that, then pour in your yeast water.

Using the dough hook, begin mixing the wet and dry ingredients together. If the dough is too dry to form into a dough ball, add a bit more water as needed. Keep doing this until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl into a dough ball.

When the dough ball forms, remove it from the mixer and turn it out on a floured surface.

Knead the dough for a few minutes until it’s got a good elasticity. Stretch the dough into a smooth ball and place it back into the mixing bowl. Cover with a damp towel and let it rise for about a ½ hour. The dough should double in size.

After the dough has risen, remove it from the bowl and turn it out onto a floured surface again.

Gently punch it down and knead it by folding the dough in half one way, then in half again the other way, to form a square. Knead it, then fold twice again. Knead it like this for a couple minutes, then stretch into a ball again, place back into the bowl again, cover with a damp towel again and allow it to rise a second time for a ½ hour. It will again double in size.

After it has risen the second time, the dough is now ready to be used! Section the dough out into three portions that will make 3 medium-sized pizzas. One pizza is the perfect size for two people.

Ok, now for the toppings. Start by sauteing some sliced mushrooms in some olive oil and butter. Season with sea salt and fresh ground pepper. When those are done, remove from the pan and set aside.

Next, caramelize some onions.

The pizza "sauce" for this pizza was actually an olive oil, tomato, pepper, garlic, basil spread, really. To make it, heat some olive oil in a pan and combine the aforementioned ingredients.

Cook the ingredients down until most of the tomato juices evaporate and it's more of a thick sauce consistency.

Pour the sauce into a bowl and set aside. Once you've done that, you're left with this. This is called FLAVOR. We will be adding some more ingredients to this flavor now, creating our layers of... that's right, you guessed it... FLAVOR. This pizza has alot of that. (I hope you didn't expect a quick 1-2-3 recipe for this pizza. Uh, not here sister!)

I had some leftover chicken, so I added the already cooked and shredded chicken to the pan. If you're cooking your chicken from raw, I would STILL add it to this pan so the chicken can pick up the flavor. I would suggest cutting the raw chicken into small cubes first, then adding the chicken to the pan and cooking until done. Cubed chicken would work just as well on this pizza.

Next, add the marinated artichoke hearts and saute until the artichoke hearts get a little brown color on them.

Ok, kids... it's time build this pizza! Make sure your oven is pre-heated to 425 degrees so it's nice and hot for this thin crust pizza.

UPDATE: Here is the expanded aluminum screen that we use to bake our pizzas on.

Start with spreading out the sauce onto the pizza dough.

Next, add the caramelized onions, then the mushrooms.

Now for the cheese, glorious cheese. For this pizza, I used mozzarella, white cheddar, and american cheese. Yes, I said american cheese. But I'm not talkin' Kraft singles, folks. That's cheese "food". I mean the good american cheese that you get at Costco or the like. It's got a creaminess and sharpness to it and melded together with other cheeses, it really adds a little something. This combination of cheeses really made this pizza POP.

Ok, one more layer of ingredients: the chicken and artichoke heart mixture. Spread that all over the cheese.

Oh wait... one MORE layer! Not really a layer, but a finishing touch. Sprinkle some parmesan cheese on top.

Now bake this scrumptious pizza for about 15 minutes at 425 degrees (or until the cheese is bubbly and starting to brown as you see here). If you take it out sooner, it just won't be right. Patience... (I know, I don't have any either...)

This picture really doesn't do this pizza justice. I mean, it looks a little like hurl, ya know? I SWEAR it doesn't TASTE like hurl. Not even CLOSE! It was actually a bit sweet, creamy, garlicy, and with the added crushed red pepper flakes sprinkled on top before eating, it was spicy and just perfect. If you like this combination of ingredients as much as I do, I highly suggest making this pizza. It was just so good and now I'm craving it again!

It's good to be back to posting to this blog. I REALLY missed it, but I had to hit the books hard and take care of some other things that didn't have a thing to do with food. But during that time I did cook some pretty cool things that turned out good, so keep checking back for lots of new recipes!

Oh, and if you were wondering, I passed the test! Yippee! Happy Friday and happy "temperatures in the high 70s"! In Ohio, this is an AWESOME thing after a thousand years of winter. See ya later!




Pizza Crust recipe:


Ingredients

4 cups high gluten (12%) flour. King Arthur bread flour is good.
1 cup warm water (between 95° and 115° F.)
1 tbsp or 2 - 1/4 oz. packets (1/2 oz. total) of yeast (1.5 tbsp, if you like it a little more "yeasty.")
1 tbsp sugar or honey
1/2 tsp. salt

Procedure

In a small bowl, combine the warm water and the sugar. Once combined, add the yeast and vigorously stir until the yeast is completely dissolved in the water. Let the water/yeast mixture sit for about 10 minutes or until the water starts to look “foamy”. This tells you that the yeast is active and is ready to do its thing in the dough.

Next, in a large bowl (using your electric stand mixture if you have one – use the dough hook), combine the flour and salt. Slowly add the water/yeast mixture and let the mixer combine the ingredients into a dough. If the dough is too dry, add a bit more water as needed. Same thing if the dough is a little too wet. When the dough ball forms, remove it from the mixer and turn it out on a floured surface.

Knead the dough for a few minutes until it’s got a good elasticity. Stretch the dough into a smooth ball and place it back into the mixing bowl. Cover with a damp towel and let it rise for about a ½ hour. The dough should double in size.

After the dough has risen, remove it from the bowl and turn it out onto a floured surface again. Gently punch it down and knead it by folding the dough in half one way, then in half again the other way, to form a square. Knead it, then fold twice again. Knead it like this for a couple minutes, then stretch into a ball again, place back into the bowl again, cover with a damp towel again and allow it to rise a second time for a ½ hour. It will again double in size.

After it has risen the second time, the dough is now ready to be used! Section the dough out into three portions and roll out into a circle. No need to pre-bake the dough – just add your pizza sauce, shredded mozzarella, and the toppings of your choice, then bake in a 425 degree oven for about 15 minutes. Don’t take it out until the cheese is golden brown on top. Let the pizza sit for about 5 minutes after you remove it from the oven so the toppings can setup. Then slice and serve!



Chicken, Artichoke, and Mushroom Pizza with Caramelized Onions

Dude, I'm tired... see above and you can pretty much figure out the recipe. Rock on.

10 comments:

  1. Tara, this pizza looks FABULOUS and I'm definitely going to make it. I love artichokes anyway, but what you've done with them here- YUMMMMM. Thanks for sharing. And thanks (form me and my fellow 167 employee-owners) for using King Arthur Flour. P.J. Hamel, King Arthur test baker

    ReplyDelete
  2. hey - beautiful! but 2 things... first go slap down $35 or so for a pizza stone!!!!!!

    and #2 is a question. i have a round thing with holes on it too. but my pizza sometimes sticks to it a little... what about you?

    ReplyDelete
  3. Yeah, we've gone the pizza stone route. They work fine, but both of them were top of the line and cracked within a dozen uses (usually as they were cooling). So, we decided to experiment with other methods. We've found that the best device outside of a stone are these inexpensive aluminum screens (less than $10). Aluminum is a great conductor of heat, so the results are just as good or better as with a stone (which is a relatively poor conductor of heat and, therefore, must be preheated). The expanded holes in the screen allow steam to escape just as the porous texture of a stone does. This leaves you with a nice and even, crisp and golden crust that does not stick in the least. The key is to make sure that it is a plain expanded screen (NO Teflon!!). I'm having Tara post a picture of what we use.

    At some point, we're going to build a brick oven when we get more space. For now, the screens are a great compromise as they work well, are inexpensive, and won't break easily.

    ReplyDelete
  4. PJH - Wow, thanks! It's so cool to hear from you and yes, we LOVE your company's flour. We've tried many others and have always kicked ourselves. It's the best!

    CEF - Thanks! See: UPDATE in this post to check out the expanded aluminum screen we use to bake our pizzas on. I love them and they're light and easy to clean and store.

    ReplyDelete
  5. i think mine is teflon... i hate it cause it sticks.

    my stone has legs and i got it from williams sonoma and if it cracks i'll be pissed and bring it in for a refund... the thing about using a stone is there's no good way to get it on the preheated stone once the pizza is loaded. i have a metal peel but even with cornmeal on the bottom - it's not sliding onto that stone like the movies...

    i need to research how people really do this thing. it's becoming a challenge to me.

    where did you get the aluminum screen?

    ReplyDelete
  6. and how it sticks to the 'teflon' ??? what's up with that?

    ReplyDelete
  7. CEF - We got the aluminum screen at the Restaurant Depot here in Ohio. There doesn't seem to be one in TN, but I'm sure you have a similar type of store around you. It's like foodie mecca there. You walk in and they have every single thing you could ever need to make any type of food you ever wanted and serve it up as it should be. I love walking around that big store and wishing I owned a restaurant.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Outside of one lone All-Clad crepe skillet, I find teflon cookware to be about worthless. The coating usually isn't durable at all. Even All-Clad doesn't hold up all that well under normal kitchen abuse (even though they will usually replace it without much hassle). I also have some reservations about the safety of ingesting PTFE. We rarely, if ever, use it. It's mainly cast iron, stainless steel, and aluminum (to a much lesser extent) for us. My opinion is that a well seasoned, cast iron skillet can do omelettes and crepes just about as well as any teflon coated pan.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I came across your blog by accident. So far I tried couple recipes you posted. They came out great. Your posting is great and very detail. Post more.

    ReplyDelete
  10. pookandhouse - I'm glad you found me and thanks! I will definitely try to post more. :-)

    ReplyDelete

If you are commenting to enter a giveaway, please do not comment as "Anonymous". If you choose to comment as "Name/URL", please use your Twitter handle as your Name or provide a URL that provides us a way to contact you in the even that you are the winner. Thank you! ~ FOODIE