If there’s one thing more suited to tailgating than buffalo wings, it’s taking that righteous taste and putting on a buffalo chicken pizza.Yes indeed, few things can capture that moment of joy when the… the sport ball… the pigskin… drives it across the… the line?
Okay, I admit it, I don’t watch sports. When I’m hanging out with dudes, and they start talking about their teams, and how their fantasy league is doing, and how good ol’ Dwayne Rockenhauser was really gonna bring the Coal Miners into the playovers but then he ruptured his celluloid, I drift. I briefly consider maneuvering the conversation into a discussion of how the cinematic Captain America brilliantly illustrates our country’s struggle to understand its place as the sole world superpower, but I guess that is a talk more suited for a very esoteric subreddit.
I don’t do sports. But I do do food. And I know buffalo wings are a classic staple of tailgating cuisine. So I thought, unoriginally, that a buffalo chicken pizza, with big New York style slices that you could fold and hold whilst watching your favorite sportball team, would be a winning 1 combination.The sauce was easy, it’s just equal parts hot sauce and butter. The crust was a bit more involved, but it turned out very easy in the end. I jettisoned the 100% whole wheat pizza crust I had used in earlier pizzas; it was a little too grainy and hard. Instead, I’m taking Jim Lahey’s no-knead bread recipe, which makes FANTASTIC pizza crust! 2 It’s a dead simple recipe, too. I’m also using it as a crust for runza-style pocket sandwiches in future recipes.
Oh, and if you took my advice and already made a bunch of broiled chicken thighs or a ridiculously easy roast chicken, you won’t have to worry about cooking any meat. Dealing with raw meat is the most time-consuming part of any recipe, so having it already taken care of gets your buffalo chicken pizza off the prep table and into your belly at lightning speed.
I wanted this buffalo chicken pizza to have big, foldable slices, so that you can eat with one hand and gesture wildly at the umpire/referee/enforcement dude with the other. So I made the crust more of an oblong shape instead of the traditional circle. That way, by cutting a zigzag across the pie, you get these HUGE slices that fold easily.
FOR THE NERDS
For the uninitiated, this is where I talk about the place that buffalo chicken pizza has in the development of a sustainable locavore cuisine, specifically for the Kansas City / midwest area but with applications across broader Americana.
Buffalo chicken already occupies a hallowed place in the American Cuisine Canon: it is (or used to be) region-specific to Buffalo, NY, so it’s fully and authentically American, and it’s a party food. Americans dig their party food.
I’m trying to bring this party food into something at least marginally resembling a balanced meal, without lots of processed additives. The pizza dough, although it contains white flour, is made from scratch with simple ingredients. I also added a diced onion, browned and sweet, to add some vegetable to the mix. All in all, it’s not an everyday kind of food, but I’d say it’s more balanced fare than either a bucket of hot wings or a slice of takeout pie.
EAT IT, NERDS! HERE’S SOME BUFFALO CHICKEN PIZZA!
Hot n’ ready buffalo chicken pizza. Righteous sauce and big chunks of chicken. A sprinkle of blue cheese. Big, foldable, one-handed slices so you can flip off the ref without having to drop anything. Dig it.
- 1 batch Jim Lahey’s no-knead bread dough, risen overnight (link in notes below)
- 1 cup cooked chicken, cubed
- 1/4 cup salted butter
- 1/4 cup sriracha or other hot sauce
- 1 onion, finely diced
- 2 cups grated mozzarella cheese
- 2 Tbsp blue cheese, crumbled
- Preheat the oven to 550°.
- Place a sheet of parchment paper over a cookie sheet. Dust the parchment with a handful of flour, then dust the top of the dough with some flour as well. Take the dough from the bowl, stretching the sides down and adding flour where it feels sticky, until you have a ball that you can remove from the bowl. Place the dough ball on the parchment and press it into a long oval with your fingers, dusting with additional flour when the dough feels sticky.
- Sauce the onion until slightly browned in a bit of oil or butter, and set aside.
- Melt the 1/4 cup butter in a saucepan. When it’s melted, remove from heat and whisk in the hot sauce until smooth. Spoon half of the sauce over the pizza crust and spread it around. Mix the other half of the sauce with the cubed chicken.
- Layer the browned onions on top of the pizza crust over the sauce. Sprinkle on the blue cheese. Add the chicken, then layer the mozzarella cheese on top.
- Bake for 5 minutes, then remove the pizza from the cookie sheet and parchment and bake it directly on the rack for another 5 minutes. If it looks like it will drip, put the cookie sheet on a rack underneath it to catch any drips.
- Let cool for 5 minutes, then cut in a zigzag across the pizza to get big, New York style slices.
- Jim Lahey's No-Knead Bread - http://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/11376-no-knead-bread