Last evening during a Cooking Class on Crusty Breads, we stumbled across an opportunity to use up some leftover fried chicken for a pizza topping. The class participants, when asked for their choice of toppings, replied with “What are our options?” “Oven roasted tomatoes, cheeses, peppers, salami, pepperoni, and oh! What about a chicken and chipotle pizza?” – how about that?
We took out the chicken, diced it. Grabbed the chipotle chilies, minced them, and grated some cheddar cheese. On top of a freshly made whole wheat and white pizza dough round, we put the concoction together. Many of the 11 participants liked this pizza over the other, more traditionally topped versions that we also tried.
Below is a pizza crust recipe, some general instructions and the Chipotle Chicken topping that we threw together.
Whole Wheat Pizza Crust
2 cups unbleached, all purpose flour or bread flour, plus more to work into the dough
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/2 tsp table salt
1 scant* Tbls (or one packet) of dried yeast (instant, quick rise or whatever you have)
1 1/2 cup warm tap water
1 Tbls brown sugar, honey, or white sugar
2 oz olive oil
coarsely ground corn meal
Mix together the flours and salt. Whisk the yeast and sugar into the water and allow to proof for 5 minutes or so. Once the yeast begins to foam, add the olive oil to the water mixture and pour over the flours. Blend well with a wooden spoon, adding more flour (gradually) until the dough pulls away from the side of the bowl and appears ‘workable’. Turn out onto a counter top or dough board which has been lightly dusted with flour. Knead for 5 minutes or so until the dough is smooth and pliable.
Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl and grease the top of the dough. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rest for about an hour. The dough should be about double in bulk. How can you tell? Take two fingers and plunge them into the dough. If the indentation of your fingers remains and doesn’t ‘bounce back’, you’ll know the dough is ready to be worked again. (See the pictures on my previous post on Bread and Beans.) When the dough is ready, de-gas (or punch down) and allow to rest for another 10 minutes or so while you get the pizza toppings together.
Place a pizza stone in the oven and heat to 425 degrees.
Divide the dough into 3 or 4 pieces. Keeping the remaining pieces covered, work one portion into a flat round. Employ the use of gravity (hold the corner of the dough above the board and let the dough stretch and enlongate), fingertips (place the dough on your lightly floured board and press it into a round with your fingers), or use a rolling pin to roll it out like you would a pie crust. Once you get the dough into a 10 or 12 inch round (or oblong), you are ready to top the pizza. Place the dough on a pizza peel that has been liberally dusted with coarse cornmeal, and drizzle with olive oil. Here are the toppings we used for our Chipotle Chicken Pizza:
2 Tbls Oven roasted tomatoes or a marinara of your choice
1/2 of a chipotle chili, minced (more if you like it hot)
1/4 cup chopped cooked chicken
1/3 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
2 Tbls or more of shredded cheddar cheese
a sprinkling of red or yellow bell peppers, minced or chopped
grated Parmesan cheese
Spread the tomatoes or sauce over the crust, then sprinkle on the minced chili. Add the remaining ingredients in the order listed.
Slide the pizza into the hot oven and bake until bubbly. After removing from the oven, topping with fresh minced cilantro would be a great addition and would add to the southwestern feel of the pizza.
*What does ‘scant’ mean? Slightly less than full.
What do you do if you don’t have a pizza peel? Well, you can buy one from the Cook With Mary product line – go to Blogroll and take a peek. Or, you can use the back side of a rimmed baking sheet or a rimless cookie sheet.