Monday, August 31, 2015

Secret Recipe Tailgate Bonus: Chicago Style Pizza

I've been busy this month with Secret Recipe Club.  My regular Group A post, I picked up an orphan, and now a bonus party for the fifth Monday of the month.  Then next week, September is in full swing, and I'm posting with Group A once again.  Whew.
The premise of Secret Recipe Club is simple:  a group of foodie bloggers, all choosing a recipe from each other's assigned blogs, posting simultaneously.  There are 4 groups, but what happens when there's a fifth Monday?  Up until now, nothing.  But Sarah, our fearless leader thought that we could have some fun with a club-wide party for those interested.  We'd pick a theme, be assigned a blog, and make something for the theme.  This one is perfect for heading into fall.
Tailgating is a proud tradition involving lots of food, lots of alcohol, and the occasional sporting event.  Often, they take place in a parking lot while waiting for said event to happen.  J and I tailgate 7 or 8 Saturdays every fall, usually in the front seat of our car in Ann Arbor with Zingerman's Grab and Go Tailgate bag lunches before heading into the Big House to join the faithful (in case you ever want to try these...I recommend Benno's Birdie as a sandwich.  It's delicious!)
Weekends that the Wolverines are away, we start watching Game Day in the morning and usually turn off the TV around midnight (yes, we are that family) while eating a large breakfast and then finger foods in the evening.  I'll make wings, like I am this coming weekend; or nachos.  Sometimes, I'll make a hot baked dip.  Or sometimes, I'll make pizza.
I was assigned Wendy's blog, A Day in the Life On the Farm.  She and I both participated in Camilla's #TenDaysofTailgate last year, so I knew there would be lots of fun recipes that I might be able to use.  Ultimately, I made something I would never make for a true tailgate, but I would make for a long day of football, lounging, and too much food.
Wendy spent a year posting pizzas.  I found one that sounded good, and when I went back to look at her source material I discovered that this pizza was to mimic the absolutely delicious Chicago pizza of Pizza Papali's in Detroit.  While my favourite will be from the Pizza House in Ann Arbor, Pizza Papali's is darn good.  I was sold.  It's even meatless to boot.  Don't tell J.
I present to you now from A Day in the Life On the Farm, Chicago Style Pizza:

For the Dough:
1-2/3 c flour
1/4 c cornmeal
1 tsp sugar
3/4 tsp salt
1-1/4 tsp yeast (I used bread machine yeast)
2/3 c lukewarm water
1-1/2 Tbsp butter, melted
2 Tbsp butter, softened

For the Filling:
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp olive oil
5 oz spinach
1/4 tsp dried red chili flakes
8 oz mozzarella, shredded

For the Sauce:
1-1/4 oz can diced tomatoes
1/4 c prepared pesto
2 Tbsp Parmesan Cheese, shredded

1.  Make the dough:  In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine dry dough ingredients.  Mix well with dough hook before adding water and melted butter.  Continue to stir dough ingredients until a smooth ball forms, pulling away from the sides of the bowl, about 5 minutes.  Remove dough from hook and form into a ball.  Grease the bowl and add dough, turning to coat.  Cover with plastic wrap and leave in a warm, draft-free place to double in size (about an hour).
2.  Punch down dough and turn out onto a lightly floured pastry sheet.  Roll dough into a square, approximately 8" by 10".  Spread dough with butter and roll up, jellyroll style.  Pinch edges and ends before rolling into a long rectangle.  Fold in thirds as you would a letter, and then pinch ends in to form a ball.  Return to the greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for about an hour, until doubled in size again.
3.  Make the Sauce:  Combine tomatoes and pesto in a small saucepan.  Heat over low at a simmer for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Sauce should thicken and reduce.  Set aside to cool.
4.  Make the Filling:  In a large skillet, heat oil and add garlic and onion, stirring frequently until translucent and soft.  Add spinach and chili flakes, and stir until wilted. Scrape filling into a colander to drain as much liquid as possible.  Set aside to cool.
5.  Assemble the pizza:  Preheat oven to 425F.  Divide the dough into 2 pieces:  a 2/3 ball and a 1/3 ball.  Taking the larger ball, roll out on a pastry sheet to about a 15" circle.  Line a lightly greased deep dish pie plate with the dough.  Spread 1/3 of the cheese over the dough, top with half the spinach mixture, followed by 1/3 cheese, remaining spinach and remaining cheese.  Roll the remaining dough into a 10" circle and place over the filling.  Crimp edges to seal, keeping them against the sides of the pie plate.  Pierce the top of the pizza with a fork to allow steam to escape, and bake at 425F for 15 minutes, until golden.
6.  Reduce oven temperature to 350, and spread sauce over the top of the pizza.  Bake for 5 minutes, until sauce is heated through.  Let stand 5 minutes before slicing and serving.

From A Day in the Life on the Farm

This smelled really good while reducing.  J commented that there was a lot of garlic in it, but that just made the final product even better.  When I took the pot off the heat, the sauce was still fairly loose, but it tightened up as it cooled.

We both really liked the dough.  It wasn't too thick, and the cornmeal added a little crunch.  I fitted the lid over the filling, and then rolled the edge.  You want to leave a rim for the sauce.
Here it is, baked, with sauce and cheese, ready to go back in the oven to heat through.  The crust was golden, the sauce, tangy.  So yummy!
The final product.  Cheesy and delicious.  With a tall glass of something fizzy, we were ready to watch the game...from the comfort of the couch.


  1. I've been playing with making our own pizza lately, and this sounds like it would be right down our alley. Great SRC choice.

  2. I'm so glad you enjoyed the pizza. I need to get back into the pizza making mode....I miss them.

  3. Wow, you are a busy little SRC bee!

  4. Great idea for watching the game at home - and an alternative to the dinners of finger foods. (Which, for the record, are my favorite.)
    P.S.: GO BLUE!

  5. Looks like tasty pizza to me! Great choice for reveal day.

  6. You can't go wrong with pizza at a tailgate! The tradition here in Philly is tomato pie, almost like pizza, but served room temperature and no cheese.

  7. Yum! Pizza perfect for a tailgate.

  8. Now I am craving pizza. This looks delicious. Great pick for tailgating.

  9. I've never made deep dish pizza before, but you make it look so easy. Great SRC post!

  10. I love Wendy's blog! This pizza sounds delish! You are such a good SRC citizen, picking up an orphan this month =)

  11. That is some serious tailgating concoction!

    and so great of you to adopt an orphan... very very nice!