It’s funny, when we first started this cooking adventure we thought the school year would be the most challenging in terms of finding time to cook our recipes from around the world. This summer, however, is proving far more difficult what with all of the birthdays, Father’s Day, vacations and anniversary celebrations. But for tonight we’re back on our stateside culinary adventure and Mr. N is taking us to the Land of Lincoln.
The recipe selection was our easiest yet. I mean when you think of Illinois, you think of Chicago, and Chicago is synonymous with deep dish pizza. We certainly have consumed more than our fair share of these delicious pies, especially dad and I who at one point in time ordered these on a weekly basis from our neighborhood pizza joint. However, we’ve never attempted to make one which I think is due in large part to the fact that we love them so much, have so many great places from which to order them, and we really didn’t want to screw this up. But Mr. N picked it, so game on.
For our crust we adapted a cornmeal pizza dough bread recipe for the bread machine. The key to Chicago-style deep dish pizza crust is cornmeal. It has to have cornmeal. We made our crust large enough for a 14″ deep dish pizza pan which we greased with olive oil and sprinkled with cornmeal.
Next we started our sauce which we adapted from Emeril Lagasse. It begins with oil and garlic and eventually incorporates several herbs and peppers – the key being fennel seeds. Chicago pizza sauce needs fennel seeds.
The sauce simmers for about 30 minutes and then must be set aside to cool before using. Then it’s time to assemble the pizza. We began by adding a pound of mozzarella over the crust in the deep dish pan.
Looks good so far, no? The pizza then baked for 30 minutes at 475F. The result was a gorgeous looking Chicago-style deep dish sausage pizza, which unfortunately the kids were too tired to see as they had turned in a bit early.
Dad and I both thought it was a great pizza that easily earned 4 spoons. The sauce is phenomenal. In fact, I’ll never buy canned pizza sauce or use another pizza sauce recipe again. I’m sold on this one.
The only thing we’d do differently on this one is adjust the crust recipe a bit. We both thought it could use more cornmeal and less flour. Or perhaps a corn oil versus vegetable oil. We’ll explore and let you know…As for the kids, they gave the leftovers 3 spoons; but don’t worry they got to enjoy a fresh Chicago deep dish pizza too – just one that was ready a bit faster.
Incidentally dad and I had one of these on-hand for a back-up for ourselves too. 😉 Fortunately we got to save it for a different day.