November 21, 2009

Pizza with Pulled Pork and Banana Peppers

We can't get enough of banana peppers! We are big-time container gardeners (being confined to a Chicago condo with no yard to speak of), and we had two giant pots going this summer. And we got totally spoiled with having fresh banana peppers to put on everything--from tuna sandwiches to pizza. We went through them so fast, I didn't even have any left over for canning for the winter (plus I haven't quite wrapped my brain around pickling yet, so oh well...).

Yesterday, I discovered a giant jar of pickled ones at our local grocery store for all of $3.99. We think it might help us get by for a bit, and along with a shredded pork roast from Tuesday night, we turned it into pizza! It was simply fantabulous! Keep in mind that I am a made-from-scratch snob, so if you don't want to go whole hog with homemade pizza dough, that's totally fine. Boboli crusts are plenty sufficient, as is Trader Joe's unbaked pizza dough, available in the refrigerated section. But here's the whole shabang, should you seriously want to treat yourself one fine Friday night at home.

Pizza with Pulled Pork and Banana Peppers

Dough (makes enough for two pizzas)
1 1/2 cups lukewarm water
2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast (not rapid-rise)
2 tbsp olive oil plus more for bowl
1 1/2 c whole-wheat flour
2 1/2 c unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper (optional)

Toppings (range is for one to two pizzas)
1-2 cups favorite barbeque sauce
2-3 tbsp tomato paste
1-2 cups shredded pork roast
3-4 banana peppers, seeded and sliced
2-4 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1/4 cup cilantro leaves, coarsely chopped

Pour water into bowl of stand mixer fitted with dough hook and sprinkle yeast on top. Allow to foam 5 minutes. When foamed, add olive oil. In a separate bowl, sift together flours, salt, seasoning, and pepper (if using). Add flour to mixer and beat on Stir or Level 2 with dough hook for 4-6 minutes or until smooth and elastic. (If dough is sticky, add up to 1/4 cup of either flour. You can also knead by hand for 6-8 minutes.) Oil a stainless steel or ceramic mixing bowl and turn dough ball once to coat. Cover loosely with towel and allow to rise in a warm place until double, or about 1 hour (on top of fridge is a good place!).

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Place pizza stone or crisper in oven. Punch dough down and divide into two equal-sized balls. (If not using both, wrap second ball tightly in plastic wrap, place in freezer-grade Ziploc bag, and freeze for up to 3 months.) Roll out dough on floured surface to 1/4-inch thickness. Slide onto sheet of parchment paper or cornmeal-dusted edge-less cookie sheet (serves as a pizza peel!). Mix sauce and tomato paste in small bowl until combined. Spread half the sauce (about 1 cup) onto the pizza, top with pork and peppers, sprinkle with cheese and cilantro leaves. (Use reserved sauce for other pizza or store in airtight container in fridge for up to 10 days.) Slide pizza onto heated stone or crisper in oven and bake for 20-22 minutes or until edges are puffed and golden brown. Allow to cool 5-10 minutes before serving. Complete recipe makes two pizzas and serves 4-6.

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