Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Spicy Chicken Pizza

I don't think I've even had an inkling until lately that I'd have a recipe of my own worth sharing. That alone says a lot about my skill level in the kitchen and it's slight improvement over this past year. This pizza came about because Justin really likes chicken pizza, but the way I had been making it had me feeling a bit, 'blah' about the whole homemade pizza thing. I was determined to come up with something that was a bit more exciting. Not that this is really an original recipe, but it's more of an adaptation and conglomeration of a couple of different ones.

I started off with this crust recipe from Amy at The Finer Things in Life. I did adapt it by switching the amounts of flour for the whole wheat and unbleached, but I used white whole wheat instead of the darker kind. Here is what I did:

  • 1 Tbsp. yeast
  • 1 cup very warm water
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 1/2 c. whole wheat flour
  • 1 c. white flour
  1. Mix yeast, sugar, and water. Allow to sit for a few minutes to get yeast activated.
  2. Add salt, oil and both flours. Mix well.
  3. Knead into a smooth dough on a floured surface. (I usually knead for about 2 minutes.)
  4. Allow dough to rest 5-10 minutes. (It’s easier to shape if it rests.)
  5. Press into a large, greased pizza pan. (This recipe makes enough for one large “hand tossed” consistency crust. I usually double it and freeze half.)
  6. If you like your crust a bit more crispy, then you can prick the surface with a fork and bake it for about 10 minutes before adding the toppings. This is how my family likes it.
  7. Add pizza sauce and toppings.
  8. Bake at 425° for about 15 minutes.

I sometimes use the jarred pizza sauce that you can find at the store, but I have grown to love my version of a recipe that I found on Recipezaar.com once when I realized too late that I didn't have any sauce on hand.

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried basil (or 1-2 Tbsp fresh)
  • salt
  • pepper
  1. In a medium saucepan, sauté garlic in oil until golden.
  2. Add tomato paste, water, sugar, oregano and basil.
  3. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  4. Simmer for 10 minutes over medium low heat.

The key to the great flavor is definitely the marinade for the chicken which I found in a Wolfgang Puck recipe. This has made all the difference in the world when it comes to making homemade chicken pizza more exciting.

Here is what I do:
  • 1 average sized chicken breast (probably about 3/4 lb)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • the juice from 1 lime or about 1 1/2 - 2 Tbsp
  • 1 large jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, pressed or peeled and minced
  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • kosher or sea salt
  1. Chop the chicken breast into small cubes.
  2. Mix the other ingredients for the marinade and place the chicken and marinade in a bowl in the fridge or in a storage container for the freezer.

I realized very quickly that I can do these 3 main steps ahead of time to make the actual prep for pizza night go a lot more quickly and create much less mess. That is very helpful when things get crazy around here, plus it allows me to make up enough for more than one pizza at a time to use up the fresh ingredients. On pizza night, I just have to make sure the crust, sauce, and chicken are thawed and ready to go. Then it goes a bit like this:
  • pizza crust
  • pizza sauce
  • marinated chicken cubes
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella
  • 1 medium onion, chopped (we like sweet onions with this)
  • 1 Roma tomato, thinly sliced (more if everyone likes tomatoes)
  • 2-3 Tbsp fresh grated Parmesan cheese
  1. Roll out pizza dough onto a pan or stone. Prick all over with a fork, and place in a preheated oven (425 degrees) for about 10 minutes.
  2. Cook marinated chicken in a skillet just until brown.
  3. Remove crust from the oven and add layers of sauce, mozzarella, cubed chicken, chopped onion, thinly sliced roma tomato, and a bit of Parmesan cheese.
  4. Bake at 425 for approximately 15 minutes or until it's as done as you like it.

I have to admit that I was really happy with how great this pizza turned out. I was not looking forward to having the same old kind we had been having, but I didn't want to hand over the money to order out, either. This is definitely a happy compromise. It may all sound a bit complicated and overwhelming at first, but it's definitely not hard at all once you get a feel for what you're doing. Plus it ended up being very frugal, and I didn't have to veer off of the eat from the pantry challenge much at all. The only special purchases were the limes, jalapenos, cilantro, and the tomato. I think that ended up being around $3.50 for enough to make 3 pizzas.

1 comment:

  1. Lovely combination of flavors here.Beautiful recipe – Perfect for the start of Spring. I look forward to making this.


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