While cooking, listen to this: Love in an Elevator by Aerosmith
There was only one kosher pizza place in all of metro Detroit, and though I never kept kosher, a lot of my friends did. This unnamed place opened a second location my junior year right in the lobby of the JCC, which also happened to house my high school. The number of times I visited that place with friends to order sub-par-borderline disgusting food was countless, and while I tried to remain open minded, there was one dish I refused to order - the BBQ "chicken" pizza.
What can I say? As the token meat eater of this partnership, fake meat makes me skeptical! But like most other skeptical food judgements I have, Rina managed to change my mind. With this pizza.
I mean, anything smothered in cheese is a winner in my book, but combined with the easiest pizza dough recipe from my favorite, Cookie + Kate, tweaked to our liking, this pizza was calling out to me from the oven and beyond. I even questioned the choice of barbecue sauce - on a pizza? That's blasphemous! Well, I'm not too proud to admit I was wrong - and, hell, I was wrong. There is never not a good time to eat this pizza. Quick and easy dinner? Check. Late night drunk food? Check. Cold breakfast pizza? Double check.
It's kind of nuts we haven't posted a pizza recipe yet - we greatly apologize, and will continue improving on this! While we don't have a wood-burning pizza oven in the back of our tiny kitchen, we do the best with what we have, and let me tell you, what we have is pretty magnificent. Living in New York the pizza choices are out of this world, but when it comes down to it, there's nothing like homemade. This pizza even makes two doughs, to both make your life easier and encourage experimentation. Or to double this stellar recipe.
I never condone screen licking, so feel free to lick away, because the next few photos are foodgasmic!
When it comes down to it, sometimes a little skepticism goes a long way, especially when you have Rina in the kitchen. And espeically when this pizza is the best parts of summer crammed into one full-sized pizza pie. I mean, you can practically smell the BBQ smoke.
So have a seat, invite over some friends, crack open some craft beers and dig in. The perfect compliment to this pizza is good company.
VEGETARIAN BARBECUE "CHICKEN" PIZZA
Yield: 2 pizzas
Active Cook Time: 10m | Total Cook Time: 25m
Category: Main, Pizza
Source: pizza crust barely adapted from Cookie + Kate
Special Equipment: high-speed food processor, rolling pin, pizza stone or pan
1 cup warm water*
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 Tablespoon olive oil
2 ¼ teaspoons (or 1 packet) active dry yeast
2 ¾ cups all-purpose or whole wheat flour (we used all-purpose)
¼ cup grated Parmesan
1 teaspoon salt
Hefty dash of freshly ground black pepper
½-⅔ cup barbecue sauce
1 red onion, diced
1 cup vegetarian chicken bits (Quorn is our favorite)
2 cups shredded low-moisture, part-skim mozzarella cheese
Dash of red pepper flakes
*You want the water to be kind of at bath temperature - warm enough that you're cozy, but not too hot that it hurts. Kate says to heat the water to 110 F - if you have a thermometer and aren't used to working with yeast, this is a good temperature to aim for. Over time, and with practice, a quick finger test will be all you need.
Prepare the oven: preheat to 500 F, and place a rack in the upper third of the oven.
Proof the yeast: in a small bowl, whisk together the warm water, sugar, olive oil and yeast. Allow to sit for 5 minutes.
Prepare the pizza dough: in a high-speed food processor, pulse the flour, Parmesan, salt and pepper until combined. Then, while it's running, slowly add in the yeast mixture and process until it forms a shaggy mass, about 1 minute.
Knead the dough: turn the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and knead a few times until it comes together. Split in half. Take one half and, with a lightly floured rolling pin, roll each half into two rounds about 11 inches in diameter. Remember, I cannot do geometry for the life of me, so what's most important here is that the dough fills your pan or stone evenly, without any tearing or extra thick or thin spots.
Top the pizza: spread the barbecue sauce over the pizza, leaving the edges uncovered to make a nice crust. Sprinkle with a light layer of cheese, then add the red onions, vegetarian chicken bits and red pepper flakes, and top with another layer of cheese. For extra artsy points, do a swirl or drizzle of barbecue sauce on top.
Bake the pizza: place the pizza in the oven and bake for 12 minutes, turning halfway through, until the cheese and crust are lightly golden.
To serve: pizza fresh out of the oven is best, so slice up and serve immediately.
To keep: that being said, leftover pizza is like a Hannukah present your fridge gave you. Wrap any leftover pizza in foil or plastic wrap and stick in the fridge, where it will keep for a few days.