Thursday, February 9, 2012

Simple Smoked Chicken Pizza

Buongiorno! Sei affamato? (Good day! Are you hungry?) Oh, Italiano! Famous for spaghetti, gelato, wine, wonderful fresh breads and of course, the pizza. In Malaysia and many other countries, ordering a simple pizza from an Italian restaurant could cost (I'm not counting Pizza Hut or Dominos) quite a bit especially if they have the powerful, grand wood-fired ovens. But why not make your own little pizza at home in your humble oven? Make your own fresh dough and kneed it as if you're pizza virtuoso adding on whatever toppings your heart desires and massive amounts of cheese that would pull away stringy with each piece separated from the circular goodness.

I always thought making pizza dough would be extremely long and tiring but we've found out that it isn't very draggy at all (of course you can't expect a 5 star pizza crust) Here's a little step by step to making a simple 3 cheese smoked chicken pizza topped with water crest. This recipe makes two 9-inch pan thin crust pizzas. If you want a thicker crust, use the same amount for one regular 12-inch pan pizza.
Ingredients (Pizza dough)

  • 1 tbsp active dry yeast
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tbsp lukewarm water
  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour (You will need at least an additional 1/2 cup of flour to work the dough later)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Instructions (Pizza dough)
  1. Dissolve the yeast in the water and let it sit until the yeast has worked. (About ten minutes) In that case, you can see slight bubbles on the surface of the water.
  2. Stir the flour and salt together in a large bowl and form a well in the centre.
  3. Add the yeast mixture in the well.
  4. Use a fork to gradually mix the ingredients together until a dough forms.
  5. Dust some dough on your working surface. Work the dough gently for 10 minutes by kneading it on your working surface which has been lightly dusted with flour.
  6. Pour 1 tbsp of oil into a bowl. After kneading the dough for 10 minutes, the ball of dough should be elastic and should have a little bounce. Shape it into a ball and place it into the bowl.
  7. Cling wrap the bowl and allow to sit for 2 hours. While waiting, you can prepare your pizza sauce and toppings. The dough will expand up to double in size.
  8. After two hours, gently knead the dough for a few minutes and take a half of the dough (for two 9-inch pan pizzas), rolling and pulling it gently to fit the shape the pan. Dust the pan with some flour and stretch the dough to cover the pan. You can also use a baking tray.
Work the dough by using the heel of your hand and pressing it into the dough forward.
Allow the dough to rest for 2 hours. 
It's definitely fun making pizza at home simply because you get to choose your toppings, you could even add pineapples, beef, well pretty much anything you want. It's always fun to try and combine new things! However, here are the ingredients that we used for our pizza toppings which is nice and simple, cheesy topped with a fresh element from the water crest.

Ingredients (Pizza toppings)

  • Tomatoes
  • Onions
  • Mozarella 
  • Parmesan (Remember not to put too much parmesan as the taste might overpower the rest of the ingredients)
  • Cheddar
  • Smoked chicken slices (Marinade half a chicken breast in some hickory smoke and garlic, pan fry the chicken and cut into slices) 
  • Simple pizza sauce (instructions below)
  • Water crest s
Ingredients (Pizza sauce)

  • Tomato paste
  • 3 cloves of garlic (Finely chopped)
  • 1 small onion (Finely chopped)
  • Prawn stock (Saute some prawn shells in some olive oil and add about 200 ml of water and simmer)
  • Dried or fresh oregano and basil (a few pinches will do)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Instructions (Pizza sauce)
  1. Saute the onions and garlic till the onion is translucent.
  2. Add the tomato paste and prawn stock. Allow it to simmer for about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the herbs and season the sauce.

Spread the tomato paste onto the dough and top with your desired ingredients and of course, lots of cheese.
Bake the pizza in the oven at 180 ÂșC for about 10-15 minutes or until golden brown.
Top with some watercress shoots for some extra greens.
A simple 3 cheese smoked chicken pizza topped with fresh water crest shoots.

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