Posts Tagged ‘family recipes’

Mexican Chicken Pizza

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2009


My family and I were looking for something simple to make and eat while trimming our Christmas tree—and then Erin Cosby Idehenre posted a picture on Facebook of a pizza she had just made!
Erin is the great-granddaughter of Mary Parker (a.k.a. Gam), the late matriarch of my Hawley, Massachusetts, neighborhood. So we’re sort of related.
A multitalented young woman, Erin has two spirited little daughters, five-year-old Paige and five-month-old Mina, and a darling marine husband, Azi.
(I may be predisposed toward Azi because we met at a family event at which everyone was singing. When he heard my voice he asked whether I was an opera singer. Some people might say this indicates that he doesn’t know a lot about music. I say it indicates that he’s insightful!)
Erin’s picture of her creation looked so good that I had to make the pizza. She gave me the basic outlines, and I adapted a few things as is my wont.
My family was skeptical of the pizza’s original name, Chicken Taco Pizza. So I changed it to Mexican Chicken Pizza. (Sorry, Erin! You’re still a great cook!) The pizza isn’t really Mexican since Erin lives in North Carolina and I live in Massachusetts, but it is influenced by Mexican cuisine.
You’ll note that the recipe makes two pizzas. You may make two and freeze one, cut the ingredients in half, or use the ingredients listed and just pile them on a bit thicker.
You may also add to the pizza as you like. I was feeding a small child and didn’t want to get too spicy, but adults might like jalapeños on the thing.
However you make it, the recipe is a winner. We’re thinking of making it again Christmas Eve (and maybe even New Year’s Eve with leftover Christmas turkey!). It’s simple, tasty, and satisfying.
We’re confident that Santa will enjoy the piece we plan to leave out for him. No coal for us this year!
Left to right: Paige, Azi, Erin, and Baby Mina
Left to right: Paige, Azi, Erin, and Baby Mina
for the crust:
2 1-pound packages of commercial pizza dough (make your own if you want to; I got lazy)
for the black beans:
extra-virgin olive oil as need for sautéing
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 bay leaf (optional)
1 teaspoon ground cumin or cumin seed
1/2 teaspoon salt
several turns of the pepper grinder
1/2 cup chicken stock
1 15-ounce can black beans (either with liquid or partly drained, depending on how moist you like your pizza)
for the chicken:
1/4 cup chicken stock
2 to 3 cups cooked chicken, shredded
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin or cumin seed
for assembly:
the black bean mixture above
12 ounces shredded cheese (a mixture of Monterey Jack and cheddar works well)
the chicken mixture above
1 7-ounce can chopped green chiles
1 6-ounce can pitted ripe olives, drained and chopped into little rings
optional garnishes:
salsa fresca (or jarred salsa if fresh is unavailable)
sour cream
guacamole (we didn’t have it and thus didn’t use it, but it would be good!)
minced fresh cilantro
Bring the pizza dough to room temperature and preheat the oven as indicated in your dough instructions.
While the oven is preheating do the quick cooking of the beans and the chicken.
Start with the bean mixture. In a 2-quart saucepan with a fairly wide bottom (so you can start by sautéing) heat a splash of oil over medium-high heat until it begins to shimmer. Throw in the onion and garlic pieces, and sauté them for a couple of minutes to release their aroma and juices. Add the seasonings and stir for a minute; then stir in the stock and beans.
Bring the bean mixture to a boil, reduce the heat to medium, and simmer, stirring frequently, for 5 to 10 minutes—until the seasonings have mellowed a little and some of the liquid has evaporated. Set aside, and move on to the chicken mixture.
In a small frying pan over medium heat bring 1/4 cup chicken stock to a boil. Throw in the chicken, chili powder, and cumin, and cook for a minute or two, stirring. The seasonings should be well distributed throughout the chicken, and most of the stock should have evaporated. Set this mixture aside as well.
Next, roll and/or stretch each piece of pizza dough out gently (this may take a few tries) so that it forms a 14-inch circle (or a rectangle to go onto a cookie sheet if you don’t have a pizza pan). Use a little flour to help with this if necessary.

shaping doughweb

Spray your pans lightly with cooking spray and oil them even more lightly. Place the dough on the pans.
Divide the bean mixture between the two pizzas, and use a spatula to spread it almost to the edges of the pizzas. Sprinkle the cheese on next, followed by the chicken, green chiles, and olives.
Bake the pizza until the cheese is nicely melted and the bottom of the crust turns golden brown. With my crust (from Trader Joe’s) and my oven (old) this took 10 to 12 minutes.
Place the garnishes on bowls at the table so people can help themselves. (Erin put them on herself before serving the pizza; you may also do this.)
Makes 2 pizzas.
The last piece of pizza looked lonely. Fortunately, it didn't have to wait long to be eaten!

The last piece of pizza looked lonely. Fortunately, it didn't have to wait long to be eaten!

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