Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Grilled Barbecue Chicken Pizza

With my recent desire to rid my digestive system of its daily intake of high fructose corn syrup, I have been making some of my condiments from scratch. My most recent experiment has been a thick, homemade tomato sauce. With the recipe for homemade bbq sauce perfected, it occurred to me that I had all the fixin's for my absolute favorite pizza in the entire world: Barbecue chicken.

It was early AM on Tuesday morning when I started pondering what my dinner plans for the evening were going to be. After taking a quick inventory of my refrigerator, I decided that grilled meat wasn't going to get the job done by itself. What I did have was some raw pizza dough, a package of chicken breasts, some fresh mozzarella, and six ounces of my homemade BBQ sauce. All we were missing was the tomato sauce.

Pizza Dough

The tomato sauce takes no more than fifteen minutes if you know what you are doing and I had twenty to spare. First step was to boil water for the tomatoes. The recipe requires five peeled vine-ripened tomatoes and the boiling water helps peel the skin right off. While the water boiled I chopped up the onion, celery and garlic and tossed it all into a pan coated in olive oil. Once I had the onion and celery frying up, I peeled and finely chopped the tomatoes and added them to the pan. With ten minutes to spare, the major grunt work was out of the way. I added the brown sugar, basil, parsley, lime juice, soy sauce and two tablespoons of tomato ketchup. The sauce was ready with two minutes to spare and the whole house smelled amazing.

Peeled Tomatos

Time for work.

Cube Dweller

Hooray! Time to grill this mother. After starting the coals I took out the pizza dough that I had rolled out onto a baking sheet before work and laid down an even healthy coat of my sauce while leaving a 1.25" border for the crust. Next, I sliced up the raw chicken breasts into thin strips and laid them out liberally over the whole pizza surface. I spread spoonfuls of the bbq sauce over the chicken strips and then laid down a thick layer of freshly shredded mozzarella. Topped the whole thing off with a small sprinkling of oregano (Thanks Papa Gino's).

I grilled the pizza still on the baking sheet for easy transport and no mess. Tin foil would have worked as well, but it's not a ridged surface and I'm all about function, baby. There's no real specific time frame for grilling this as it all depends on your coal amount and placement. Because I typically place the coals in a sloped pile on one side of the grill I rotated the pizza 180 degrees halfway through to ensure an even crust. The pizza crust should be firm and the cheese golden before removal.

Grilled Pizza

The end result was a delicious and quick weekday meal for me and my roommate Mariel. Because the ingredients are cheap and the sauce and mozzarella can be used again, it's a great option for doing pizza one night and pasta the next.

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