25 September 2008

Barbecued Chicken and Eggplant Pizza


Don’t you love homemade pizza? I do. Do you know what’s even better than making homemade pizza? Easy. Homemade pizza that someone else makes for you - especially when they let you sit by with a drink and watch!

HomeAlone

I took advantage of just such a wonderful opportunity recently. My husband and son were away on a male bonding adventure and had left me home alone for the week. While they were gone I tried so many fun recipes for future posts that I sort of forgot to actually make something for myself to, well...you know...eat, something that amounted to a real meal, containing several selections from appropriate food groups and the like. Kindly my friends invited me to have dinner with them at their house. Better still they were making homemade pizza.

I have to say that while I like to cook I absolutely love to be fed! It is so fun to be invited into someone else’s kitchen, to see the way they prepare a meal, what they eat and how they make it. That’s part of the appeal of reading food blogs isn’t it? Sitting with someone else, seeing and hearing about their real life adventures in the kitchen. And this was even better because it was in real time and in my own real world.

I had been told in advance that there would be something about the dinner I might find surprising. When I arrived I could see that we were having pizza and with a few questions and guesses I learned that the surprise was a pizza loaded with vegetables including bell peppers, onion, mushrooms and, most especially, eggplant.

Challenges

Well, eggplant pizza is a bit surprising but I was especially surprised considering the source. You see I have been giving the cook a hard time for months because we once ate Indian food together and he totally passed on trying the eggplant dish which prompted me to inquire about what vegetables he does enjoy eating. Come to find out, by my estimation, there weren’t that many. Suddenly I remembered his negative reaction to a post I wrote about Brussels sprouts. Let's just say he expressed a strong dislike for that vegetable. Okay, that's not really so unusual, many people have an aversion to Brussels sprouts, but over time I learned that he doesn’t much like fresh tomatoes or avocados either. Add to that the eggplant and I pegged him as "vegetable-challenged".

And so I have kind of neglected to share my vegetable based blogging creations with him, explaining that I felt pretty sure he wouldn’t like them anyway, them containing vegetables and all. But it seems that maybe that wasn’t quite fair. While he is a bit challenged by a number of different vegetables he assured me that he wanted to learn more about them and was open to trying new things. After all he did grow fresh tomatoes on his deck this summer. To further prove his point he was making this pizza.

Veggie Loaded Pizza

And it was a pretty process too! He rolled out the dough, thin, trimmed the edge and quickly arranged the crust, neatly rolling the edge. Then he spread it with tomato sauce his wife prepared and sprinkled that with cheese. He sauted onions and mushrooms which he arranged on top. Then he cut up peppers and slices of eggplant that had been brushed with a mixture of oil and seasonings and grilled the night before. He also had barbecued chicken which he added to the pizza as a final touch.

Oh yea, it looked good! After a few minutes in the oven it was ready and absolutely gorgeous. We ate on the deck, savoring this wonderful thin crust veggie loaded pizza, in the warm twilight. Everyone agreed it was good, some said surprisingly so. I wasn’t at all surprised but still I must admit, I am glad he didn’t prove his point with Brussels sprouts!

Here is the recipe as described by the cook:


Barbecued Chicken and Eggplant Pizza

Pizza Dough
(from the Breadman bread machine instruction booklet)

1 cup water (tepid, not cold)
2 Tablespoons olive oil
3/4 tsp salt
3 cups bread flour
1 Tablespoon cornmeal
2 teaspoon bread machine yeast

Place the above ingredients into the bread machine in the order given. Set the bread maker to its "Pizza Dough" setting and press the "START" button. About an hour later 1-1/2 pounds of dough are ready for making crusts.

For thin crust pizza, I use 3/4 lb of dough per 18" diameter crust and start by working the dough into a fat pancake shape with my hands. Then, using a rolling pin, work the dough into an even thickness. When it is big enough to cover our pizza pan, I spray the pan with PAM and transfer the dough to the pan by folding the dough up on itself several times until I can lift the whole thing into the pan and unfold it. The excess is trimmed off about 1/2" outside the pan rim and then the edges are rolled up to keep all of the good juicy stuff from leaking out while it cooks.


Whether or not I "pre-cook" the dough before adding the toppings depends on how thick I am going to pile on the goodies. A thin pizza with a light amount of toppings will cook well without pre-cooking the dough. A pizza piled high with yummy stuff might not get done in the middle unless you cook the crust before adding the toppings. Either way, set the oven to about 400 deg F and if you pre-cook the dough, 5-7 minutes in the oven is usually enough.


Tomato Sauce

1 can tomato paste per pizza
1 Tablespoon water (approximately)
1 Tablespoon Italian herb seasoning (again approximate)

Stir together and spread across the prepared crust. Tip: A rubber spatula works great for spreading a thick paste on a pizza. If you like your sauce thinner, it can be brushed on.

Once the base is on, cover the pizza with plenty of grated Mozzarella cheese. 3/4 of a pound is fairly typical for our pizzas. We also like to add cheddar cheese and might add 4 to 6 ounces of cheddar on top of the Mozzarella.


Next, add the toppings -

Toppings

Sauteed onions (Walla Walla sweets)
Sauteed mushrooms
Barbecued chicken thighs (marinated in Mr. Yoshida's "Original Gourmet" marinadeabut four hours before being barbecued), diced
Barbecued eggplant and peppers, diced (See cooking instructions below)

Arrange sauted onions and mushrooms as well as diced bits of barbecued chicken, eggplant and bell peppers over top.

Bake pizza at 400 degrees for approximately 18 minutes or until cheese is melted and crust is golden.

Let the pizza sit for a few minutes after coming out of the oven so that the cheese can set. Slice and serve.

Slice and serve.


Barbecued Eggplant and Peppers
(recipe inspiration from epicurean.com)

1 eggplant, sliced 1/2 inch thick
olive oil
garlic seasoning
Italian herb seasoning

In a small bowl mix oil and seasonings.

Brush the mixture on sliced eggplant.

Grill on a hot barbecue until marks show (about 2 minutes). Turn over, and repeat.

5 comments:

Grace said...

that's a gorgeous pizza! a pie has to be pretty impressive and unique for me to like it, and i think this one'd do the trick. i wish someone would make one for me. :)

Ivy said...

Pizza looks delicious!

What will it take for me to go through the hassel of making homemade pizza dough? Hummmm-this pizza comes pretty close. Haha

Can't wait to see the fun recipes you have been making.

P.S. Thanks for commenting on my blog. :)

Happy cook said...

Wow what a wonderful pizza.
Looks so DELICIOUS

Kim said...

I am playing catch up on my visits. This is one drop dead gorgeous pizza, not to mention I love the combination of eggplant and chicken. Wow!

Kate said...

I found this recipe through a google search for a bbq chicken eggplant pizza. I had store-bought crusts so used those instead, but followed the recipe otherwise. One of the best pizzas I've ever made! My boyfriend said it was incredible. Thanks so much!