Thursday, December 3, 2009

TURKEY…..PIZZA?

I mentioned turkey pizza the other day to a friend as a way of using leftovers this week and we both sort of thought it sounded pretty awful as a way to get rid of that extra turkey lurking in the fridge - so I promptly put the thought out of my head. Today however, I received an email from Cook’s Country Kitchen and they put forth a recipe for a Turkey Tart that intrigued me enough to re-think the whole turkey pizza idea.

My quest for single serving meals also meant that I needed to try to come up with a solution that would be tasty and easy enough for a weeknight meal, PLUS make only enough for a serving for one. So tonight I headed home with this as my goal.

No matter how organized you are, homemade pizza usually takes at least an hour to prep between either making or thawing your dough and prepping your toppings. Obviously you can purchase a premade dough, but I don't recommend them because they just don't taste good. Since I prefer whole wheat dough, it takes even longer to rise, so if you use this recipe be prepared to eat a little later or do this on a weekend.
As for the turkey topping, after I looked over the tart recipe I realized it looked a bit familiar. The ah-ha moment came when I contemplated using some other cheese and then it hit me...this is a recipe for the classic spinach, pear and blue cheese salad minus the salad part. They simply added some turkey, removed the spinach and stuck it in a pie crust. Cook's had to create some sort of filling to bind the whole thing together but that didn't have to be the case if I tried this on a pizza. So after some careful consideration I came up with the following. It is a huge diversion from the typical flavors of turkey and gravy so it was a welcome dish for my end of the week turkey leftovers.
TURKEY-LURKY PIZZA a la BOBBI
DOUGH
Here is my favorite pizza dough recipe that makes enough for two small-ish pizzas. I generally make this and keep a couple of balls in the freezer for nights when I come home and want a pizza. Each ball really makes enough to serve two people if you're not too hungry or include a big salad with the meal. I still consider it a meal for one even though I generally still have some leftover. Most everyone else I know could and would polish off an entire 8 inch pizza with no problem. I get about an 8-inch pizza out of each piece.
1 tsp yeast
1/2 cup warm water
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup white flour
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
pinch of oregano
1 1/2 tsp. olive oil

Combine yeast and water together and let sit for a few minutes to activate the yeast. Combine dry ingredients then add yeast water and oil. Combine with a fork or your hands until all ingredients are moist and begin to come together. Remove from the bowl and knead for 4-5 minutes until it forms a smooth elastic ball. Rub with olive oil all over, set on the counter and cover with a bowl or towel and let rise until doubled. Normal white flour dough will take about an hour, this version will take nearly 2 hours due to the heavier whole wheat.

Once risen, divide dough in two, form into small balls and either use immediately or store for later use. This can be frozen and then thawed.

When ready to use, stretch the dough into about an 8-inch circle. Put on a flat cookie sheet or a pizza peel dusted with corn meal. Make sure it's loose enough to slip off the peel to get onto the pizza stone. Preheat the oven with a pizza stone to as hot as your oven will go. Mine will hit about 475-500 degrees. let the oven preheat for at least 30 minutes to ensure that it's plenty hot when your pizza hits the stone.

TOPPING
1/3 cup leftover turkey meat , cut into bite-sized pieces
1.5 oz crumbled blue cheese (I used cambozola instead because I like the creamy texture better)
1/4 firm pear, cored, and diced
2 Tbls. pecans, toasted and chopped (I used sugared walnuts instead since I like them better)
2 Tbls. dried cranberries
1/2 tsp minced fresh thyme
1 Tbls. sour cream (optional)
Salt and pepper

Combine turkey, blue cheese or cambozola, pears, pecans, cranberries, and thyme in a bowl; season with salt and pepper. You can add a tablespoon of sour cream to the mixture to create some moisture if you want. Remember that the turkey is already cooked, so it could dry out in the hot oven.

TO MAKE PIZZA

Top your pizza crust with the turkey mixture. Again, make sure the shell will move around on the peel. Transfer to the hot oven and bake until crust is golden brown and cheese is melted, 9-12 minutes. Remove from the oven, put on a rack to cool slightly. Transfer to a cutting board to slice and serve.

Frankly I wasn't sure I'd like this even as I took it out of the oven. To my surprise it was very good and quite unique. I've come to believe that you can put just about anything on a pizza crust and it will taste great.

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