Friday, March 27, 2015

Deep Dish Pizza

Date Night is something I look forward to every week. We have to be creative here in Cameroon. We can't go out after dark here and there is no such thing as "fine dining" in Bamenda. However, there IS fine dining at Chez Sinclair's every Wednesday night.

Each Wednesday I prepare a favorite meal for Ben and I. We have family devotions, put the kids to bed and then Ben and I enjoy a meal together and watch a movie or something to spend some time together. One of my favorite meals to make is Deep Dish Pizza. My mouth is watering as I type! :) This dish is so easy and Oh so yummy!

Here are some instructions on how to make this sure-to-please dish:

First thing you will want is a pizza dough. You can buy a pre-made dough if you prefer, you can make it by hand or you can use one of my favorite appliances...a bread machine.  Here are the steps for the bread machine method:
1. Put 2/3 c. of water in bottom of bread machine pan
2. Add 1/4 c. of olive oil
3. Add 1 tsp. each of dried oregano, basil, and marjoram
4. Add 1/2 tsp. garlic salt and onion salt
5. Add 2 c. of flour
6. On top of your flour add 1 pkg. (.25 oz) of yeast or I add 2 tsp. from a bulk package.

Once you have your ingredients in your pan and machine, set your machine to dough and start 'er up! This is the actual recipe from my recipe book. It makes the perfect amount of dough for this recipe. I have absolutely no idea where this recipe originated from, so I can't give any credit, however it might have been from Taste of Home magazine.

I'm actually a little lazy when I make this. I add the proper amount of water and olive oil. I then throw in a TB of Italian seasoning and shake in a bunch of garlic salt, add the proper amount of flour, the 2 tsp. of yeast and I'm done! You need to be specific about some things, but you learn over time what you can adjust.

While your dough is rising you can prepare the yummy filling. For the filling you will need:
1 lb. ground beef
1 tsp. ground sage
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. fennel
peeled, diced, and seeded tomatoes
1-2 green peppers diced
1-2 garlic cloves, pressed
shredded mozzarella
about 40 slices of pepperoni

As you can see some of my measurements are general. I cook everything to taste with this recipe. I don't do a lot of measuring.

The original recipe called for sausage. A friend of mine, Becky Branch, gave me a cook book that she had created a long time ago and it included a lot of substitutions. A recipe for sausage was one of them and it used 1 lb. ground beef, 1 tsp. of sage and 1 tsp. of salt. I have used this recipe for years with all sorts of sausage recipes, one of our favorites being sausage gravy and biscuits. It is a wonderful substitute and, depending on how lean your meat is, can be a lot lower in fat. So, I substituted this sausage recipe to be used in this pizza. I also added the fennel because that just gives the ground beef an extra sausage kick. If you are a big sausage lover, by all means...use the sausage instead.

Cook your ground beef, onions, garlic and green peppers in a skillet. Add your sage, salt, and fennel and combine very well. The more onions, peppers and tomatoes you use, the fuller your pie filling will be.  Add your tomatoes and cook the mixture down. This is purely preference here, but I hand peel and dice my fresh-from-the-garden tomatoes. I can't handle tomato skins sticking to the roof of my mouth. If that doesn't bother you, just skip the peeling part, OR buy some diced canned tomatoes (be sure to drain them). The seeding part is important, but if you forget, like I did the other night, no worries. Just be sure to cook your mixture longer to cook off all of the extra liquid. You don't want your filling to be runny. Again, I can't give you an exact amount because I don't measure my tomatoes, onions or peppers. I just throw a lot in there. You can use your judgement here.

Once your meat mixture is done you will roll your pizza dough into a large circle and place in the bottom of a 12-inch cast iron skillet that has been buttered or oiled well. Let the dough hang over the sides until the pie is filled. Place some shredded mozzarella on the bottom, add meat mixture, cheese and slices of pepperoni.

Repeat the layer again: Meat mixture, cheese and pepperoni. Fold the dough under to form a crust. It will want to sag worries. It will still look pretty when it goes into the oven.

And it will look even prettier coming out of the oven!

This dish is SO good it will rival any Chicago pizzeria! Give it a try - you won't be disappointed! When mine came out of the oven I made an herb butter to brush over the crust. I just melted some butter, stirred in some parmesan cheese, garlic salt and Italian seasoning. Mmmmm! So tasty!

People often ask me what are some of the things that I like to bring back to Cameroon and I always answer by saying pepperoni is at the top of my list. This dish is why! We are a pizza loving family and for me, if it doesn't have pepperoni on makes me sad. We have run out of pepperoni many times while being on the field. Pizza night isn't quite as exciting for me, but our best substitute is using the above sausage recipe to top a traditional pizza. The kids now prefer it to regular sausage.

Let me know if you give this a try and how it turned out!
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