Saturday March 26, 2011
It's always nice to have something fun for dinner on a Saturday night, especially if you are staying in, having friends over for a movie night, a game of cards or to watch the hockey game on TV. One of the best things to eat for such an occasion is pizza, and why order take out pizza when you can make great tasting, innovative pizzas at home. This recipe is for my taco pizza, inspired after a visit to Boston Pizza last year. It combines all the classic taco toppings and a few extra twists. First I start with a homemade dough, followed by a homemade spicy tomato sauce featuring chipotle peppers, then a generous layer of spiced ground beef, and onion, jalapenos, bell peppers and Mexican cheese. After the pizza is cooked I top it off with some shredded lettuce, fresh chopped tomato, avocado, sour cream and cilantro. Yum! It's just like a taco but in pizza form. Here's how I make it.
Basic Pizza Dough
3 1/2 cups flour (I use 2 cups bread flour with 1 1/2 all-purpose)
1 1/4 cup of warm water (100 to 115 degrees Fahrenheit)
1 packet of yeast
1 tsp white sugar
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
In a large bowl, add the warm water. Be careful to get the temperature right or the yeast will either not activate if it is too cold, or be killed if it is too hot. I use my digital thermometer. Dissolve the sugar in the water and stir in the yeast. Let the mixture activate for about 10 minutes. Once the yeast has worked, add the salt and oil, and begin adding the flour gradually, mixing with a wooden spoon. I like to mix it into a well-incorporated thick batter, and then begin adding the flour more slowly. Near the end of the flour, its time to get your hands in there. On a clean counter, begin kneading the dough. This is a critical process, and it is important not to under knead. You may need to add flour to the board occasionally. I like to press the dough with the palms of my hands, fold it back on itself, and give it a quarter turn, and repeat. After kneading you will have built up the glutens in the bread...a key in good pizza dough. Form into a ball, and add a little olive oil to the bottom and sides of your bowl. Place the dough in the bowl, cover with a clean towel, and rest in a warm place to rise...about 1 hour, until well risen to the top of the bowl.
At this stage, I like to punch down the dough, cut it into however many pies I want to make (e.g. in half for two large pan pizzas). I next grease my pie pan with olive oil and begin stretching the dough. Once done, I cover again and let it rise a second time...for about 15-30 minutes. Then I restretch to the corners and it's ready for toppings. If I am using my pizza stone, I let the second rise take place in seperate bowls, and hand toss the dough to make my pie.
Spicy Tomato Sauce for Taco Pizza
2 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 large can of tomato puree (32 oz)
2 tbsp white sugar
1 tbsp dry oregano
2-3 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, minced
Salt and pepper
In a medium sauce pan, over medium heat, add the olive oil, onion and garlic, salt and pepper. Saute until softened, and add remaining ingredients. Simmer on a low heat for about 30 minutes. Adjust seasoning to taste and that's it.
Spiced Taco Beef: (makes two pizzas)
1 1/2 pounds of lean ground beef
1 medium onion, minced
1 jalapeno pepper
Minced taco seasoning (if you're desperate use a store-bought packet, but I prefer to make my own by adding the following:
1 tsp of chili powder
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp each of garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, paprika, chipotle powder, Black pepper
1 tsp salt
In a saute pan, add a little oil over a medium heat. Add the beef, onion and jalapeno and brown in the hot pan, stirring occasionally. Before the meat has cooked through add the seasoning and combine well. Add a little splash of beer (or water or beef stock), about a 1/4 cup, and let the liquid reduce down. Reserve for topping the pizza.
To make the pizza, divide the dough in half and spread out over two greased pizza pans or cookie sheets. Top each pizza with the sauce, followed by the seasoned beef mixture and then some grated Mexican cheese. Add additional sliced onion and or pepper or black olives if so desired. Cook in a preheated 425 degree over for about 13-15 minutes until the crust is browned on the bottom and the cheese is bubbly.
Let cool for 5 minutes and cut into serving pieces. Let your guests top their own pizzas with such toppings as shredded iceburg lettuce, diced tomato, pickled jalapenos, fresh cilantro, sour cream, diced avocado, black olives, banana peppers, etc.
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About Me...The Wicked Newfoundlander
I'm originally from Newfoundland, Canada, and very proud of it! I moved to upstate New York in 2007, and I spend much of my time working and playing throughout New England. Besides my wife, our dog and hockey, I'm passionate about food. I love to cook and create great tasting food. I also love tasting and critiquing food, and comparing regional cuisine (notably Newfoundland and New England dishes).