Chicago deep pan pizza
The inspiration for this recipe came from Julia's I believe I Can Fry recipe blog. For me though, the essential deep pan Chicago pizza comes not from Tortuga's but from Bob M. Payton's 300 seat 'Chicago Pizza Pie Factory', deep-down in the basement, in a corner of London's Hanover Square. It would have been in 1980-something, when mobile phones were the size of car batteries and the Internet was unknown.
In those days the queues would reach all the way down the stairs to a 'boxing-ring', where you would stand and take your pre-meal drinks. The Chicago Pizza Pie Factory was a forerunner of Hard-Rock style themed restaurants. Loud rock music played and big screens showed American sports. The decor of the place was authentic Chicago Americana and the food was fantastic with super-slick service that used a really clever idea - A flashing neon sign: 'My Kinda Town'. The flickering letter would indicate to the waitresses which table area of the huge restaurant had food ready to be served.
Bob died in the mid 90's and I believe the restaurant closed around that time too. I notice that a restaurant of the same name exists in Dublin. I would be interested to see if it bears any resemblance to the original.
This was absolutely fantastic and nothing like as difficult as you might think. Thanks for the inspiration Julia - I believe you can!
How to ensure a crispy base
Having made these deep pan pizzas many, many times, I've found that sometimes it's hard to get the base well cooked without burning the rest of the pizza dough. I've found the best way is to use a meta-based pan, similar to a baking tray. The metal base gets hot enough to crisp the base properly. I have a really heavy rectangular Le Creuset baking tray that is absolutely ideal. It seems a shame as it will mean I'll never use my earthenware deep pan pizza dish again!
- The sausage-meat removed from 400g of uncooked Chorizo style sausages - these are not cured so need to be pre cooked
- 1 small onion, chopped finely
- 1 portion of pizza dough
- Fine yellow cornmeal for dusting
- 110 g (4 oz) Cheddar cheese, grated
- A big handful of fresh mushrooms, brushed and sliced
- 85 g (3.5 oz) freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 large can of chopped peeled tomatoes, left to drain over a coarse sieve for 5 minutes
- 1 tablespoon dried garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried parsley
- Pinch of mixed herbs
- 1 teaspoon chilli flakes (Guajillo - not too hot)
- Pinch of black pepper
- 1 ball of buffalo mozzarella, torn
- Preheat the oven to 190° C (375° F - gas 5), [fan oven 170° C & reduce cooking time by 10 mins per hour]
- Remove the sausagemeat from the sausages and discard the skins
- Make the pizza dough as instructed
- Sauté the onions, mushrooms and the chorizo sausagemeat in a pan for for about 10 minutes or until the meat is cooked and any liquid has evapourated. There should be enough fat from the sausages not to need any oil.
- Spray or lightly oil a deep 25cm (10") pizza dish or pan
- Roll out 2/3rds of the dough to about 3mm and line a pan so the dough just overlaps the edges and trim any excess
- Sprinkle the base with the Cheddar cheese
- Add the mushrooms and chorizo
- Sprinkle with one third of the Parmesan cheese
- Roll out the remaining pizza dough to make a lid
- Pinch the lid so it joins the base and make a few slashed in the top for steam to escape
- Mix another third of the Parmesan cheese with the herbs and spices and mix into the tomatoes
- Spread the tomato mixture over the top of the dough
- Top with crumbled mozzarella and sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan cheese
- Bake for 45 minutes, resting a sheet of tin-foil on top of the pizza for the final 10 minutes
- Allow to cool for 10 minutes before slicing and serving
Serve with a green salad
- www.ibelieveicanfry.com/2012/01/chicago-stuffed-pizza.html - now inactive
- The Chicago Pizza Pie Factory
- The 1980's!
I also threw in a few chopped sun-dried tomatoes I found in the fridge.
If you don't have garlic powder then just crush a few peeled cloves of garlic and sauté them in a little oil for a few minutes, just to take the 'edge' off.
- www.ibelieveicanfry.com/2012/01/chicago-stuffed-pizza.html Julia's Chicago pizza recipe
- Julia's recipes on Cookipedia
- Bob Payton's obituary (N.Y. Times)
- Bob Payton's obituary (Independent)
- Reminiscences from others
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