This month's Daring Bakers challenge was to create a pizza of our own. The general way to make the pizza dough was given, but the selection of sauces and toppings were up to each blogger. Having made pizza dough in the past, I decided the shining point of this recipe would be finally emanating an old favorite of mine - a pizza from a gourmet shop in my hometown that was topped with country gravy, fried chicken, mashed potatoes, and mozzarella.
Because this was such a favorite of mine growing up, I was real worried that I'd be disappointed with my own end result. It's hard to live up to something you remember being so delicious. To be honest, while adding the ingredients on top, things weren't looking too great. The flavors just didn't seem to be coming together as well as they could have been, and I was worried it would come out bland. Something magical happened when it was all smashed together and baked in the oven though, and the pizza came out tasting exactly the way I remembered. I nailed it on my first try, and loved every bite. Now that I know how to make this pizza, I'm sure I'll be making it once in a while as a good treat.
8 pork sausage links
2 T. unsalted butter
1 T. flour
1 c. milk
Cook the pork sausages as per directions on container. Using tongs or a fork, remove the sausages, leaving behind all the baked-on bits and grease.
Add the butter and melt. Sprinkle the flour on top, and whisk together to make the roux. Make sure to scrape up all the bits leftover from the sausage - that's where the gravy gets its flavor. Continue stirring over medium heat until a light nutty smell is coming from the roux, and it turns blonde. Whisking well, slowly add the milk and turn the temperature to high. Continue stirring, and whisk until thickened to the point of nappe, then remove from heat. Cut up the sausage links into small pieces and add to the gravy.
4 1/2 c. flour
1 3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon yeast
1/4 c. olive oil
1 3/4 c. water
1 tablespoon sugar
Combine the flour, salt, and yeast. Mix together lightly and place into a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Add the olive oil, water, and sugar. Mix until the dough begins to come together, and then replace the paddle attachment with a kneading hook. Knead together for 10 minutes. The dough will be wet enough to stick to the bottom of the bowl, but it should be dry enough that it no longer sticks to the sides. Add flour or water as needed to get the right consistency. Let the dough rest in the refrigerator for 12 hours before punching down. Remove from refrigerator 2 hours before baking so it comes to room temperature.
1/2 Crust recipe
1/2 recipe Classic Mashed Potatoes
1/2 Country Gravy recipe
2 Pan-Fried Chicken Breasts, sliced
8 oz. mozzarella, shredded
Preheat the oven to 500ºF with a pizza stone on the bottom rack. Work the pizza dough with your knuckles and slowly form the circular pizza shape. Form a 12-inch circle on top of parchment paper, leaving a little extra dough on the outside edge for a thick crust. Spoon on the mashed potatoes and spread evenly. Drizzle the country gravy on top, including some sausage chunks. Place the chicken breasts on top, and top with the mozzarella. At this point, the pizza looks overloaded. Press down lightly on the top to compact the toppings. Slide the pizza and parchment paper onto the pizza stone and bake for 5 minutes. Pull from the oven and allow to sit for an additional 10 minutes before slicing.
The pressed down toppings end up even with the thick crust on the sides, resulting in a thick pizza. A single slice of this is like a meal on its own, so one pizza got me through several lunches. The flavors mash perfectly on this giant of a pizza. This is certainly one of my favorite recipes to date.