Monday, April 29, 2013

BBQ Chicken Pizza

I like chicken. I like pizza.  But I never really liked the idea of mixing the two.  I think it was based on a bad frozen pizza I had as a child.  But one day when Jason lived in Baltimore, we ended up eating at a place called Joe Squared.  Maybe it's owned by two people named Joe? I'm not sure, but we were there with a friend and the guys decided they wanted this BBQ chicken pizza.  I didn't want to be a naysayer, so went against my instincts and ordered it and I ended up finding my favorite pizza.  I'm not a pizza connoisseur per se, but their pizza is so good that whenever we go to Baltimore, I never want to get anything new and just want this pizza at Joe Squared.  Their thin crust with just a little bit of charred bits is something I have not figured out how to replicate, but I did my best to imitate the pizza toppings themselves.  Honestly, I just let Trader Joe's pre-made crust rise for a few hours then roll it out as thin as I can, because making things with yeast intimidate me. 


This is one of my few recipes not originally from a cooking blog (ie: the Smitten Kitchen), so I figured I'd share mine and at the very least you now know where you can go in Baltimore for the original, better version.  I think the real secret is the white sauce.  I actually didn't have parmigiano cheese that original white sauce recipe calls for, but it turned out fine. Plus, I thought it would have been a bit too cheesy to have the sauce cheesy and cheese on top.  The quantities for everything else are rough estimates, and the nice thing about pizza is you can kind of put your own spin on it really easily.

Please forgive the quality of the "after" picture.  It was so good that I forgot to take a shot the night we baked the pizza, so this is lunch at work the next day.  The avocados and spinach were really much more green when it was fresher.  At least the light is better than it would have been.

White Sauce (loosely based on:

2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
1 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons fresh basil, minced
Heat butter in a small saucepan. Add flour and stir until thoroughly mixed.
Slowly whisk in milk, adding gradually. Stir in remaining ingredients. Will thicken upon standing.

BBQ Chicken Pizza (adapted from Joe Squared):
Pizza dough
1 cup shredded chicken
BBQ sauce
1/2 cup corn
1 avocado
1 small onion, or half large onion
A handful or two of spinach
1 cup mozzarella cheese
white sauce (above)

Make or prep pizza dough according to your own methods or package instructions.

With the chicken in an oven-proof dish, mix in enough BBQ sauce to cover it and put it in the oven while you are working on everything else (chopping avocado, making white sauce and caramelizing the onions, about 15-20 minutes). 

Slice the onions, then caramelize them by adding them to a pan over medium heat with a little oil, stirring occasionally until they get nice and browned.

Everything else you can just add after putting the white sauce on the pizza dough.  I like to put the spinach on before the cheese, otherwise it falls off/apart more easily.  If you are using frozen corn or spinach, it works better to cook them first, or the pizza gets a little watery as the vegetables thaw.

Cook according to directions on crust (usually 450 degrees for about 20-30 minutes). Yum.

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