There are few things that set my nostalgia trigger to near blinding bliss. Roasting kolbász, or Hungarian-style smoked garlic sausage is one of these moments.
Today, while shopping at the farmer’s market, I was getting some various pork products for Christmas next week: pork shoulder, ham hock (No, Ed! Not all the legs of the pig! Just one!!) I have a lot of fun with one of the local organic meat ranchers. He not only raises wonderful pork, but beef, chicken and turkey, as well as grows all of their feed, processes everything himself on the farm’s on-site butcher shop, including linking and smoking amazing sausages.
His Hungarian background was evident even before he said his last name. The way he prepares and smokes his sausages, ham or bacon all have the same distinctive smell and flavour of my youth. He also never uses nitrates of any kind, or any preservatives, so this reduces the sodium of his wonderful products overall.
Last week, I had taken home his version of kolbasz, a fresher smoked sausage that hasn’t been air dried, suitable for roasting. I thought it needed to be a part of pizza night this week, so I roasted it in a hot oven (200C/400F for 15 minutes or so). Slices of this are a rich, smoky, garlicky treat on their own, but with a deep, earthy mushroom sauce, it’s perfect on a pizza.
….I did tell you to make extra of that Roasted Mushroom Gravy from a few day’s ago….But it’s ok, I’ll add the recipe again here so you don’t have to flip back and forth 😉 Enjoy!!
For the dough:
1 cup einkorn wheat flour (or whole wheat all purpose flour)
1 cup red fife wheat flour (or whole wheat bread flour)
1/2 tsp salt
7/8 cup warm water
1 tsp dry active yeast
For the Roasted Mushroom Gravy:
½ cup chopped onions
½ cup chopped celery
100g/4 oz quartered fresh white mushrooms
¼ cup cold pressed camelina oil (or your favourite cold pressed/extra virgin oil)
¾ cup water
1 bay leaf
2 Tbsp dried thyme
½ tsp salt
½ tsp celery seeds
3-4 Tbsp water, as needed
For the pizza:
Prepared Roasted Mushroom Gravy
100g/4 oz roasted kolbasz (or other smoked garlic sausage), thickly sliced
6-8 cherry tomatoes, halved
75g/3 oz smoked mushroom aged cheddar, or any cheddar, shredded
75g/3 oz pecorino cheese, shredded
For the dough, blend the flours in a large bowl. Make a depression in the centre, add the warm water in the middle with the yeast and a pinch of sugar. Sprinkle the salt on the flour along the outer perimeter. Allow the yeast to dissolve for about 10 minutes, or until bubbly. Gradually start to stir the flour into the frothy yeast mixture until a sticky dough comes together. Turn on to a floured counter and knead until smooth and still slightly sticky. Place in a floured bowl and cover with a towel for an hour, or until doubled in size.
Preheat oven to 200C/400F.
In a medium roasting pan, scatter the onions, celery and mushrooms evenly. Drizzle with oil and toss with your fingers to evenly coat. Roast on the lower rack of the preheated oven for 30 minutes.
Remove from the oven, add ¾ cup water, bay leaf and thyme. Return to the oven on the lower rack and roast for another 30 minutes.
Remove the bay leaf, transfer the remaining contents of the roasting pan, including the juices, to a blender and purée until smooth. Season with salt and celery seeds. Add more water if necessary to get to a thick “gravy-like” consistency. Set aside.
To prepare the pizza, divide the dough in two. Upturn a large baking sheet so the bottom faces up. Lightly drizzle that upturned surface with oil and spread it lightly over that surface. Stretch each dough portion into a rough circle about 25cm/10″ in diameter. Place them side by side on the pan. Spread about 1/2 cup of prepared Roasted Mushroom Gravy on each pizza, leaving a 2cm/1″ border around the edges. Sprinkle with cheddar on each pizza. Lay out kolbasz slices in a radial pattern on each pizza, Scatter cherry tomato halves around the kolbasz slices and top with pecorino cheese. Bake in the same preheated oven that you made the gravy in for about 20 minutes. At this point switch the oven to broil/grill and broil the top of the pizzas for about 4-6 minutes or until deeply golden. Makes 2 25cm/10″ pizzas.