Thursday, 6 December 2012

Chicken and chorizo pizza

Chicken and chorizo pizza 

Friday nights at our place usually involve pizza, and this one is a particular favourite- mind you spicy chorizo seems to make almost anything taste good- but is especially good with some chicken, homemade tomato sauce and veges.
It does take a few steps (and more than a few minutes to make) with the dough, the sauce and the topping- but once you have the dough and the tomato sauce down pat, the number of variations on this are almost endless, and endlessly tasty.

Part 1: The dough

Start with making the pizza dough. Stir 2 teaspoons of dried yeast into 1 1/4 cups of lukewarm water. You can either half boil a kettle to get some warm water, or just waste water letting the tap run until it's warm. Stir it around until it just starts to froth for a few minutes. You can add half a teaspoon of sugar at this step if you like.
With the second half of your half boiled water from the kettle, warm up the bowl you'll be using by pouring it on the outside. You don't have to do this step, but it does keep the dough nice and warm to help rise... and put a little love into a pizza and it loves you back.
Place your frothy yeast-water into the bowl (or mixer with a dough hook) and throw in 2 1/2 cups of plain flour.
Along with 1.5 tablespoons of olive oil
Half a teaspoon of salt
And start mixing! Or folding. Or kneading if you're doing it by hand.
Electric mixers with a dough hook make this very easy. Halfway through kneading, make sure you stop the machine, take the dough off the hook and start it up again (to make sure all flour is properly mixed in).
After about 5 minutes with the hook it should appear smooth and doughy- you can always add more flour if it's too sticky, or more olive oil if too dry, but the recipe proportions are pretty good- so just measure them out properly and you should be good to go! 
Once your dough is done, find another nice big bowl
Splash a little olive oil in the bottom
and spread it around the inside
Take your dough off the hook, scrape it out of the mixing bowl, and place it in the oiled bowl.
It really helps if you oil your hands, or place flour on your hands, as either will stop the dough sticking to everything it touches
And leave it for a rest. 

Cover it up so it stays nice and warm, and I even sit it on a tea towel so it's not against the cold bench. Leave it for at least half an hour, and it will be ready for the oven!

Part 2: Tomato sauce

Now while the dough is rising, we can get on with the good stuff. Here is my recipe for a super easy tomato sauce for the first layer of the pizza. I like using this more than tomato paste as it's not quite as salty, no preservatives and very easy to make.
These are pretty much everything you'll need. Dice one onion up. Heat a tablespoon on olive oil up in a  saucepan, when it's a medium heat, throw in your onion to start cooking.



When it's slightly translucent after about 5 minutes, throw in one clove of garlic all chopped or minced up. Unfortunately today the supermarket supply chain failed, and I could only get garlic in a jar. No fresh Garlic! I was very disappointed in Woolworths. And also slightly surprised that canned garlic wasn't actually that bad.
After another minute (you'll be able to start smelling it!) throw in some fresh chopped thyme. Or any other herb you would like- dried oregano or rosemary will also work.
Then we get into the serious stuff. Half a cup of red wine. You can also just swap this for vegetable stock, but it isn't half as much fun. Or flavoursome.
And and optional just a dash of red wine vinegar if you feel like it. Let it boil away with the wine for one minute.
Then throw in one tin of chopped tomatoes. 70 cents from your nearest supermarket.
Stir and let it simmer away on low heat for about 15 minutes. Let it reduce down until it's quite a thick sauce. Add some salt and pepper too. And there's your easy tomato sauce! While it's simmering you can get onto part 3 of the recipe- the toppings.
(don't forget the chilli- since we're keeping with the spicy chorizo theme, I threw in a teaspoon of chilli too)
Note: now would be a very good time to turn your oven on to 190 degrees.

Part 3: Topping

I know the Italians tend to only place one or two toppings on a pizza, while being extravagant with up to four types of cheese. I must admit, while I admire the simple flavours, I can't help but crave just a few more toppings. So this is a bit of a compromise- simple flavours, but a little more nutritionally balanced with some vegetables on top. 
Here we have a capsicum, a tomato, a chicken breast and one chorizo sausage.
Dice up the capsicum, and slice up the tomato.


Slice the chorizo sausage in half, and then into little pieces. Do the same with the chicken- my little pieces are about 2cm by 1cm.
While your sauce is simmering away in the background, put a frying pan on high, with a tiny splash of olive oil, and fry the chorizo up for a few minutes.
When it starts looking crisp, and oil is coming out of it, throw your chicken pieces in to cook in all the tasty chorizo oil. Fry it up and stir it around for 5 or so minutes until the chicken is mostly white.
Then throw in the capsicum to the pan to soften it up a little for a minute or two.
You might need to drain the pan out as the capsicum will start becoming a little juicy, and you don't want to turn it into stew!
Use a plate to cover your dinner while pouring the excess juice away, and let it cook for another few minutes while you start assembling the pizza.
Almost there. Grab a pizza tray, and grease it with some oil.
Find where your dough has been hiding out for the past half hour- it should have at least doubled in size.
I always enjoy punching all that air out of it!
Scrape your dough up into a ball
and place it on the pizza tray. You could at this stage roll it out, throw it in the air, catch it, twirl it etc.
But I find it much easier to just spread it out with your fingertips without rolling it.
Now time for your tomato sauce to go on top- it should be quite thick by now.
Spread the sauce out, then scatter the chicken/chorizo/capsicum mix on top
Layer the sliced tomato evenly over the pizza.
And find a little parsley to throw on too! Always need just a little bit of green. You could also put a few baby spinach leaves on at this stage too if you have some lying around.
Cover it all up in a good layer of mozzarella cheese- about 2 cups worth. Place it in the over for 25-30 minutes at 190 degrees.
And this is what pops out at the other end. It will be done when the cheese is golden brown and the crust has risen.
Dinner is served...


Chicken and Chorizo Pizza

Pizza dough

1 1/4 cups warm water
1/2 teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoons yeast
2 1/2 cups flour 
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil

1. Mix sugar and yeast into warm water- leave to foam for 5 minutes. 
2. Into a warmed bowl, pour yeast water, flour, salt and olive oil, mix and knead into dough for about 10 minutes, or 5 minutes if using an electric mixer with a dough hook
3. Place dough in an oiled bowl, cover and leave to rest for at least 30 minutes.

Simple tomato sauce


1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 clove garlic
1/2 cup red wine
1/2 tablespoon red wine vinegar (optional)
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
400g tin chopped tomatoes
Salt/pepper/chilli flakes to taste

1. Saute diced onion over medium heat in a small pot on the stove, until it starts to become translucent. Add garlic and thyme.
2. Add red wine and vinegar, and let it boil up for a minute.
3. Stir in the tin of chopped tomatoes, salt pepper and chilli, lower heat and let it simmer for at least 15 minutes until it becomes quite thick.

Toppings

1 small red capsicum, diced
1 tomato, sliced
1 chorizo sausage, diced
1 chicken breast, diced
sprig of parsley chopped
2 cups of grated mozzerella cheese

1. Fry up the chorizo sausage, when starting to brown, throw chicken in the pan.
2. Add the capsicum when the chicken is mostly white (5 or so minutes). Leave to sauté for a few minutes. If there is too much juice and it is starting to stew, drain some the juices out with a plate.

Assembling the pizza

1. Grease a pizza pan with oil. Place the ball of dough on the pan, and spread out with fingers until it covers the pan.
2. Pour tomato sauce onto the dough and spread out.
3. Arrange the chorizo/chicken/capsicum mix on top, then place tomato and parsley on top.
4. Spread the cheese on top.
5. Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes at 190 degrees c until golden brown.



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