I’m not a pizza fan, really. Pizza Hut has become a pseudo-obsession for me mostly because of the ridiculously disproportionate amount of bread and cheese to sauce; a deep dish Pizza Hut pizza is akin to eating a grilled cheese sandwich. Also, we went to China a couple years back and as you’d imagine, Chinese food is pretty…unpredictable? Fun fact: Chinese people don’t do cheese – the country that treasures chicken fetuses as a delicacy thinks cheese is gross. OKAY, CHINA. Anyway, Pizza Hut kept me alive over there because their fondness for all things American supersedes being icked out by cheese, apparently.
Tom said we couldn’t order Pizza Hut on a non-weekend because he hates fun so I decided to make pizza instead.
I’d wanted to try out the dough hook on my KitchenAid Mixer anyway and pizza dough seemed pretty hard to mess up. I honestly don’t know how I functioned before this mixer came into my life. I take better care of it than my car. Unequivocally the best part thing about getting married isn’t the companionship or the unconditional support, it’s the AWESOME KITCHEN GADGETS.
(The companionship and unconditional support is reallysupernice too though, Tom, if you’re reading this.)
Thanks to KitchenetteBlog.com for the dough recipe – it was simple and pretty foolproof, even for a dough hook novice.
BBQ CHICKEN PIZZA
3 cups bread flour (you need bread flour to keep it crispy! AP will work but will lead to tougher crust.)
1 tsp. sugar
1 tbsp. kosher salt
1 packet dry active yeast (all packets are the same size – make sure it’s fresh)
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 cup warm water, approximately 110 degrees (not too hot or you’ll kill the yeast!)
1/2 lb. chicken, chopped small (about one very large chicken breast)
1/3 cup BBQ sauce, whatever brand you like
1 whole onion, sliced
1 cup shredded mozzarella or other white cheese
optional: chopped parsley or chopped cilantro, red pepper flakes
1. To make the dough add yeast, sugar, and warm water to the mixing bowl. Allow to sit about 10 minutes or until the yeast “blooms” which is a fancy word for “gets all foamy.” Turn mixer on low then add salt and olive oil – begin adding bread flour in a bit at a time. You’ll have to mix for several minutes on medium-low to get the dough to form a cohesive ball…if it seems way too dry/wet simply add a TOUCH more water/flour until it’s moist but not super-sticky.
2. Grab the dough ball and put on a lightly floured surface. Fold it over itself a few times to remove most of the creases then form into a large ball (it doesn’t have to look perfect!) Put some olive oil on your hands, rub the dough ball, then place the dough in a large glass bowl that’s been oiled. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap then leave in a warm place (i.e. under a light in the kitchen or on top of the dryer) for 1-1.5 hours or until doubled in size.
3. Preheat oven to 450 degrees – make sure it’s very clean! If you’re using a pizza stone, go ahead and let it heat with the oven. Season your chopped chicken. In a saute pan, sear the meat over medium-high heat with a tbsp. of olive oil. Cook just a couple of minutes or until the chicken is about 85% done then pour onto a plate. It will cook more in the oven.
4. Heat 1 tbsp. more of olive oil in the same pan over medium heat. Add sliced onions and season liberally. Brown the onions for about 10 minutes, stirring often. ***Tip: If the onions start to burn just add a splash of water to the pan then cover. They’ll steam/simmer in the water rather than burn. You can do this several times.
5. Remove pizza stone from oven or grease a pizza pan. Give your pizza dough a good punch then gently stretch it – let it be the shape it wants. Try using gravity to stretch the dough: hold one edge and let it droop, move on to the next edge, etc. until you get the shape you’re looking for. Be sure to leave a 1″ border of thicker dough for your crust. Put your dough on the stone/pan. (If using stone, spread some olive oil on the bottom of the dough so it won’t stick.)
6. Spread the barbecue sauce onto the dough leaving a 1″ border. Top with the chopped chicken, then the cheese, then the onions. Brush olive oil over crust area for maximum browning. Feel free to add some salt, pepper, or red pepper flakes at this point. Bake in 450 degree oven about 12-15 minutes or until crust is crispy and browned. Top with chopped herbs if using and let pizza set about 5 minutes before you cut it.
Enjoy and maybe pretend you’re eating Pizza Hut (optional.)