Smoked Chicken Pizza with Red Pepper Pesto
- ACTIVE: 1 HR 15 MIN
- TOTAL TIME: 2 HRS 30 MIN
- SERVINGS: 8
E. Michael Reidt's favorite new toy at The Huntley hotel, a superhot wood-burning oven, helped him solve a perpetual problem in his kitchen: What to do with leftover chicken? Now he smokes the meat and tosses it with a roasted-red-pepper pesto and goat cheese to make a topping for his wickedly addictive flatbread pizzas.
Red Pepper Sauce
- 1 head of garlic, top third sliced off and discarded
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
- 1 red bell pepper
- 1/2 cup basil leaves
- 1 tablespoon oregano leaves
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 pound pizza dough
- All-purpose flour, for dusting
- 1/2 pound smoked chicken breast, shredded (2 cups)
- 1 small red bell pepper, thinly sliced
- 6 ounces Manchego cheese, coarsely shredded (2 cups)
- 4 ounces soft goat cheese, crumbled (1 cup)
- Arugula leaves, for garnish
- Preheat the oven to 350°. Place the head of garlic, cut side up, on a double sheet of foil and drizzle with olive oil. Wrap the foil around the garlic and bake until the cloves are very soft, about 1 hour. Let cool. Squeeze the garlic onto a plate.
- Roast the red pepper directly over a gas flame or under the broiler, turning frequently, until charred all over. Transfer the pepper to a plate to cool. Discard the charred skin, seeds and core and coarsely chop the pepper. In a food processor, puree the pepper with the roasted garlic, basil, oregano and the 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.
- On a lightly floured work surface, cut the pizza dough into 4 pieces and roll each piece into a ball. Flatten each ball, dust with flour and roll out to a 5-inch round. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 20 minutes.
- Set a pizza stone on the bottom of the oven and preheat the oven to 500° for at least 45 minutes. Flour a pizza peel. Place a dough round on the peel and roll it out to an 1/8-inch thickness. Spread 2 tablespoons of the red pepper sauce over the dough to within 1/2 inch of the edge. Scatter 1/2 cup of the shredded chicken and one-fourth of the red pepper strips over the pizza, then top with 1/2 cup of the Manchego and 1/4 cup of the goat cheese. Slide the pizza onto the hot stone and bake until browned on the bottom and bubbling on top, about 6 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board, scatter some arugula leaves on top and cut into pieces. Repeat with the remaining dough and toppings.
When a white wine tastes smoky, that's usually because it was aged in barrels that have been charred on the inside, but the Pinot Gris variety can have a smoky character all its ownan ideal complement to this smoked chicken pizza.
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Congratulations to Mei Lin, winner of Top Chef Season 12.