Spinach Lentil Chicken Pizza

To close out the peak of this past week’s foundation of flavours, I always love a good pizza. Both words together being important: good pizza. There’s a lot of mediocre or just plain dreadful pizzas out there. I was spoiled in a way growing up because we always made our own pizza every Saturday. We used it as an opportunity to use up what ever ends of peppers and onions or various meats were around the house.

This past week, after making Garlic Oregano Roast Chicken, I proceeded to Spinach Lentil Chicken. A new way to look at your leftover chicken and gravy. Today I look at that same Spinach Lentil Chicken and see it as more than a great accompaniment to a barley polenta, I look at it as a base of a pizza instead of regular tomato sauce.

This past week I also picked up a wonderful cheese that accompanied the flavours of the Spinach Lentil Chicken perfectly. A local cheesemaker starting doing a gouda infused with nettles and celery seed. That deep savouriness and slight natural saltiness from the celery were perfect for this pizza.

And, as always, I do my own dough, feel free to talk to a nice bakery about a bundle of dough if you’d like, but seriously, dough is an exercise in focusing. It makes your meal that much better when you feel the dough loosening and stretching. The smell of the yeast as it blooms and helps the dough to rise. You’re literally feeding the yeast with what’s in your kitchen’s atmosphere. You’re putting a piece of your home into your pizza. Smile and enjoy! 🙂

Spinach Lentil Chicken Pizza

For the pizza dough:

1 cup spelt flour

1 cup red fife flour (a heritage variety of wheat. A whole grain bread flour would be okay)

1/2 tsp salt

3/4 cup warm water

1 tsp active dry yeast

1 tsp maple syrup

   In a large bowl, combine the spelt and red fife flour. Make a depression in the centre of the dry ingredients. Sprinkle the salt around the outer edge of the flour. Add the water to the centre of the depression, along with the yeast and maple syrup. Stir the yeast and maple syrup to dissolve in the warm water. Allow to sit for 10-15 minutes or until the yeast is very bubbly.

   Preheat oven to 190C/375F.

   Stir together the bubbly yeast into the flour and salt until a dough forms. Turn on to the counter and start to knead. Knead over the course of at least 10 minutes to ensure the dough is soft and elastic, adding a bit of flour or water as needed. Place in a clean, oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise near the oven until doubled in size (about an hour).

For the pizza:

Prepared dough

1 cup leftover Spinach Lentil Chicken

1/2 cup shredded leftover roast chicken, optional

100g/4 oz nettle-celery gouda, or any flavoured cheese you like (a garlic or Italian herb flavoured cheese would be great), shredded

   Flip a baking sheet upside down and drizzle with 1/2 tsp of oil. Spread it out evenly with your hand to lightly coat the bottom surface of the pan.

   Divide the dough in half. Stretch each half gently with your fingers to a desired thickness. As the weather gets colder here, I tend to make a thicker pizza, just shy of 2cm/1″ thick. In warmer months, I’ll stretch to half of that thickness. Place them on the prepared baking sheet. Spread each pizza with the Spinach Lentil Chicken mixture. Scatter with more shredded roast chicken, if desired and top with cheese. Bake in the preheated oven for 16-18 minutes or until the edges of the crust are golden. Makes 2-22cm/9″ pizzas.

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