Monday, August 22, 2011

Chicken and Tomato Pizza

This is my favorite pizza.  I mean, I am a lover of all pizza, but this one is always my go-to.  I could literally eat a large pie on my own, yes I know disgusting, but that is seriously how much I love it.  I've made pizza at home countless times and sometimes it comes out simply amazing (like this one), and other times it is just ok.  I guess I haven't mastered the art form (yet), and of course it is difficult when you don't have a pizza oven that can reach temperatures over 700 degress.  I still need to invest in a pizza stone one of these days, but for now my pizza pan will do. 

I have always used the same recipe for pizza dough, which you can check out in my Margherita Pizza Blog Post but this time I tried all bread flour (honestly because I ran out of regular flour) and like 1/2 tsp of baking powder.  I don't think the baking powder actually did anything, but I figured why not try it. (I'm sure everyone that knows how to bake is mocking me right about now)

Pizza Dough Recipe
(This makes about 2 pizzas.  I usually make one big pizza and use the rest for garlic knots- we'll save that for another blog because I'm still trying to perfect that recipe)

  • 3 cups of bread flour
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • ½ tsp of baking powder (optional)
  • 1 packet of dry active yeast
  • 1 cup of warm water (about 100-110 degrees if you want to get technical)
  • 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
  1. Pour the yeast into the warm water and stir to combine.  Let this sit for about 2-5 minutes to reactivate the yeast.  When the yeast gets all foamy on the top it is ready.
  2. In a big bowl combine the flour, salt and sugar (and optional baking powder) with a whisk and make a small well in the middle of the bowl. 
  3. Then add the oil and yeast water to the well and combine with your hands until a sticky ball of dough is formed.
  4. If you need to add a little more flour, just add a little at a time.
  5. Take out of the bowl and knead the bread for about 5 mins. (Anytime you knead dough you want to sprinkle the counter or work area with flour so the dough doesn't stick) Shape it into a tight ball. Then put back into the bowl and cover entire ball with some oil (I usually just spray it with cooking spray) and cover with plastic wrap where the plastic wrap is touching the dough- not tightly covering the bowl on top, we are just covering the dough from the air so it doesn't form a tough "skin".  You could even drape a kitchen towel over the top of the bowl instead.
  6. Let sit for at least 45 mins in a warm place until it has doubled in size.  If you don't have a warm place, turn the oven on to 200 degrees for a couple mins then place the bowl with the dough in there (but obviously shut the oven off- we aren't cooking the dough yet)
  7. When it has doubled in size, knead it again for about 5 mins and then divide the dough into two even pieces.  Roll out the dough into the shape of your pan (pizza pans are cheap- I have two: one from Waldbaums, and one from Wal-Mart, but before I had the round pans I just made my pizzas "Sicilian" or rectangle and put on a baking sheet.) Transfer to your pan and top with toppings.
  8. Cook for at least 10 mins at 450-500 degrees.  Pizza cook time will vary on crust size and what you topped the pizza with.
Now onto the toppings...

  • 1 boneless skinless chicken breast, diced into small pieces
  • 2 tomatoes, diced (or one (14oz) can of diced tomatoes drained)
  • about 10 basil leaves, chiffonade (Which means cut into thin long strips.  All you do is pile up the basil leaves, roll them into a little log and cut across, the result will be nice ribbons of basil) but you can also just rip or chop.
  • about 8oz of mozzarella cheese (but I probably wind up using more)
  • 1/4 cup of you favorite sauce
  • oil, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes
  1. Dice the chicken.  In a small frying pan add about a tsp of oil to the pan and heat over medium heat.  When hot add the chicken and a pinch of salt, pepper and red pepper flakes.
  2. Cook only about 5 minutes until the chicken is no longer pink.  Turn off the heat and set aside to cool.
  3. Dice the tomatoes and seed/squeeze them out a little.  You don't want your pizza to be watery.
  4. When you have your dough ready and on the pan, coat the dough with sauce.  Use very very little sauce.  Too much sauce is a common mistake and will result in a wet, uncooked bottom of the pizza. Gross. 
  5. Top will cheese, cooked chicken, tomatoes, and basil
  6. Cook until done.

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