Chicago Style Pan Pizza

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An authentic Chicago pan pizza is nothing like the ones you get from takeaway or the frozen food section in the supermarket. For the real deal you would have to travel to Chicago or why not give this recipe a try to save air miles. A Chicago Pizza is actually not a pizza in the traditional sense but a cross between a pizza and cornbread dough oozing with cheese in the middle and normally eaten with a fork while tearing and dipping in the crust.
Ingredients for the dough
600g Strong white bread flour
100g Cornmeal flour (white or yellow) plus extra for dusting
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
7g Fast acting yeast
50g Butter (melted or soft at room temperature)
400ml warm water
11.5″ Skillet (Cast Iron Pan)
In a large mixing bowl add the bread flour, cornmeal flour, yeast, salt, sugar and mix around, then add the warm water and combine to start forming a dough, add the butter and knead in the bowl until all is absorbed into the dough ball, knead for around 5 minutes until smooth and elastic in texture. Place the dough into the mixing bowl and cover with cling film and leave to rest for 1 hour until at least double in size. During this time place your Cast iron skillet in the middle shelf of the oven and heat it up at 200c.
Filling & Topping Ingredients
2 Mozzarella balls, (cut into pieces and left to dry out any excess moisture)
200g Strong Cheddar cheese (Grated)
Some Sliced Italian Salami
1 pork sausage cooked & sliced
Sauce Ingredients
300g Tomato Passata
2 tbsp. Tomato puree
2 cloves garlic (chopped)
1/2 onion (chopped)
1 tsp chilli flakes
1 tsp balsamic glaze or balsamic vinegar
Sauce Method
Place all ingredients into a saucepan and heat through for 10 minutes. remove from the heat and leave to cool prior to use.
Pizza Method cont.
When the dough is ready, carefully remove the skillet from the oven with a heat proof glove or cloth, sprinkle some extra cornmeal flour on the base of the pan to cover, then turn out the dough into the hot skillet. Using your hands carefully press out the dough inside the pan ensuring a thicker crust around the edges and flatter in the centre, using a fork pierce a few holes in the middle and return the skillet to the oven for 10 minutes to seal the dough. When ready remove from the oven for toppings and sauce.
Place the mozzarella and cheddar in the centre of the pizza crust and then cover thinly with the tomato sauce, top with some salami and sliced sausage. , glaze the crust with a little melted butter if available and bake in the hot oven for a further 30 minutes. Allow to rest for 5 minutes prior to serving and garnish with some fresh basil.
Chefs tip: if the topping is too wet finish under a hot grill for a few minutes. Serve while still in the pan and let your guests just dig into it.
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Skillet pan courtesy of J&B Hope Ltd Cavan

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