Lately I haven’t been feeling my regular energies when it comes to food blogging. I guess you could say I’m still within the transition period from grieving to full acceptance after my grandma’s passing. I’m feeling blue and melancholy most days. Some days there’s this heavy soul-deep tiredness too, which I choose to keep hidden from everyone around me. I was lucky enough to have a bunch of sponsored posts written last month waiting in the wings to keep this blog alive. Now I’m trying to get back into the groove of things, but somehow, at least at the moment, I keep gravitating toward recipes that remind me of my grandma.
I was doing my annual file-cleaning on my MacBook when I saw that I had this pizza recipe I haven’t had a chance to write about yet. It was a big hit at home but somehow it got pushed back by other recipes. In a way it must’ve been fate, because it seems more appropriate to write about it now. You see, pizza became a big part of my childhood thanks to my grandma.
Back when I was a kid, my brothers and I spent our Saturday’s with grandma and she would always order pizza as an afternoon snack for us; sometimes even buying some ice cream along with it. It was like we had a pizza party every weekend! Well, you know how grandmas are: They always want to make sure their grandkids are well-fed!
I seem to recall it was around that time when the Chicken Barbecue pizza flavour began to gain a lot of popularity. My grandma often left the ordering to us kids, and I remember when it was new we were excited to try it out. Well we really loved it, and so did she, so it became a weekend norm for us. At the moment, looking at photos of pizza makes me feel immensely nostalgic.
The thing about these pizza memories is despite how ordinary or boring they seem, they are among the realest moments that remind me of the kind of woman my grandma was– a generous woman who was fiercely maternal towards her brood. She often translated this love and care through food.
Though this Chicken BBQ Pizza isn’t an exact replica of all those phone-ordered pizzas we got in our front door, it has that undeniable homemade look, feel, and taste to it that I think my grandma would have loved. The secret is to use your favourite barbecue sauce. I used Kraft‘s Honey Mustard Barbecue Sauce which became a favourite in the house after featuring in this scrumptious Chicken Barbecue Braided Bread.
The pizza dough base is easy to make and one that primarily uses olive oil. Best part is that it can be left to rise in the refrigerator overnight. It also makes a load of dough, enough for 4 different kinds of pizzas! You can roll it out depending on the type of crust you prefer. For a crunchier crust roll it out thin, then for a chewier and full-bodied crust, keep it slightly thick. It tends to puff up a little in the oven.
I made a second flavour variation with my leftover dough which I rolled to a thinner crust. The twist was using Sriracha as the sauce. In hindsight, I should’ve mixed some tomato sauce with the Sriracha to neutralize the spiciness. It was a bit too spicy even with all the cheese and eggplant on top. But some of my brothers who are lovers of spicy things polished the pizza off anyway.
My grandma hates spicy food so she wouldn’t have touched the Sriracha version, but I have a feeling the BBQ version would have been a favourite of hers.
dough makes four 1-lb rounds (enough for 4 pizzas); quantity for pizza topping below is for only 1 pizza
- 2 ¾ cups luke-warm water
- 1 ½ tablespoons instant yeast
- 1 ½ tablespoons kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 6 ½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- ½ cup favourite barbecue sauce
- 1 cup chicken, cooked and shredded
- ½ cup red onion, thinly sliced
- 1 bell pepper of any colour, diced
- 7 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, or 1 3/4 cups*
- cilantro, chopped, to taste
- 1. In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, mix the yeast, salt, sugar, and olive oil with the water.
- 2. Mix in the flour just to incorporate into the dough. Kneading is not necessary.
- 3. Transfer dough to a large (5-quart) bowl or lidded food container. Cover (not airtight), and allow to rest at room temperature until dough rises and collapses or flattens on top, approximately 2 hours.
- 4. The dough can be used immediately after the initial rise, though it is easier to handle when cold. Refrigerate in a lidded (not airtight) container and use over the next 5 days.
- 5. Preheat oven to 475°F (246°C). Place pizza crust on foil-lined baking sheet.
- 6. Spread barbecue sauce on pizza crust. Add shredded chicken, onion, and bell peppers on top of the barbecue sauce. Top with cheese, making sure it evenly covers the surface.
- 7. Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until crust is deep golden brown. Garnish with cilantro and serve.
- *I used a combination of cheddar and mozzarella.
I’m sure someday I’ll see her again, and I think the first thing I’ll do is buy her pizza like she used to do for us.