Today, I have to dazzle you with photography and history lessons (and even a couple words of social commentary, but you have to look close to find those... but I digress), 'cause I ain't original. Today's pizza is nearly a 100% word for word steal of a recipe I read just yesterday morning. One of my favorite bloggers, KRISTA from Krista's Kitchen posted this recipe and I was smitten. She had a wonderful story of her college years before giving this recipe. You can see her original post by clicking HERE.
As to the photo above... Less said the better, but I have been telling you all along I have the soul of an old hippy (and notice the fresh coat of paint on the porch railing)
A slight change I made, she used a store bought prepared pizza dough (something about a tube). I used my "normal" pizza dough formula, jazzed it up a bit with some of my "Not your Grandmother's Herbes de Provence" spice mix, making an herb pizza crust that I thought would pair well with the NOT French recipe.
You read that right. Despite the name, this is an American original. Cordon Bleu is French for Blue Ribbon. The term is used for a distinguished French order of knighthood dating back to 1578 during the time of Henry III. The dish has no relationship to the cooking school, nor do they endorse a recipe.
The earliest record of the dish as we know it is from an ad from United Airlines in the early 1960's. That's right... The legendary seemingly classically gourmet meal is nothing more than a "dumbed" down version of the more complex, truly European (Ukrainian actually) dish, Chicken Kiev. Dumbed down so that it would transport well, reheat well and inspire exotic. The name is the product of an Ad Man. In fairness, it does indeed travel well, reheat well and has enough complex flavors that it does inspire the image of eating something exotic... something French.
And, it was created when flying was a treat for the well healed. Travelers would dress for the flight in suits and dresses. An expectation of decorum was encouraged by the airlines. The meals served inflight (you youngsters have no idea what I am talking about, but really, in the past (in my day), a meal served during the flight was more common than not) was designed for efficiency, but also to aid in maintaining that illusion of luxury.
So, there you go... Not what I thought.
But this pizza has all the taste of a "classic" Chicken Cordon Bleu.
Here's what I did...
I am going to skip the pizza dough recipe, and put it at the bottom of the post. I make up a batch of pizza dough about every other week. The batch will make 4 pizzas, is fast to put together (if you let a Kitchenaid do all the work, it's about 5 minutes of your day, and the costs are low, a buck for the flour and less than a buck for the other ingredients. So, for @50 cents, you have a pizza dough (I'm cheap). So, again, read on for my pizza dough recipe.
But I will assume you already have your dough... Here's how I made a Chicken Cordon Bleu Pizza...
1 Pizza Dough
1 cup diced Chicken
1 cup diced Ham
1/2 Red Onion, Sliced into strips
2 TBS Butter to caramelize the Onions
3 button Mushrooms, sliced
4 cloves Garlic, smashed and minced
2 cups grated Swiss Cheese
1/2 cup Sour Cream
2 TBS Dijon Mustard
2 TBS "Not your Grandmother's Herbes de Provence" spice mix (substitute the herbs of your choice, or make your own, click the blue letters to find my herb mix formula).
- Preheat oven and pizza stone at 500 degrees
- Caramelize the Onions in butter for about 20 minutes, until they begin to brown
- Spread the pizza dough into a round shape, on parchment paper, trim the paper around the dough so the paper does not burn around the edges. Krista uses cornmeal, I prefer not to add that taste, but cornmeal will also keep the pizza from burning.
- Mix the Sour Cream and Mustard
- Spread the sauce on the dough, covering evenly
- Spread the toppings evenly, including the onions
- Transfer the pizza onto the HOT pizza stone
- Bake in the oven for 10 minutes...
Here's a collage of what I did to give you a better idea (includes the dough photos and if you look close, you see that this is one of my "What to Do with a Rotisserie Chicken" recipe)
If you are a novice bread maker, this pizza dough recipe is about as easy as it gets. Just enough yeast to make the insides of the crust sweet and soft. But crisps up nicely on the outside. The dough goes right from the kneading process to the fridge. So, there is no rise time to complicate the process.
The flour and water used in the mix should be as cold as possible. That's what allows the yeast to flavor the bread, but keeps the flatbread... flat.
But I digress away from the recipe...
4 1/2 cups chilled Flour
1 3/4 tsp Salt
1 tsp instant Yeast
1/4 cup Olive Oil
1 3/4 cups COLD Water (40 degrees)
OK, did you read the 2 cold ingredients. Takes an extra hour or two of planning, I measure the water and the flour and pop them in the fridge for a couple hours to get cold. The small amount of yeast, relative to the amount of flour and the cold will make for a flat bread, almost no fermentation (rise). Just enough to soften the taste, but not make a big rise.
In my pre Kitchenaid days, I mixed and kneaded this recipe in a gallon size ziplock bag. Worked great, largely I believe because of the oil in the recipe. Without that, the dough would be too sticky to mix in a bag. But this sure made clean up easy.
Here's what I did...
- Mix the dry ingredients first
- add the water and oil about a fourth of each at a time
- mix well until all the flour is hydrated and you form a large dough ball in your bag
- continue kneading for about 10 minutes, or if you use your kitchenaid, use the dough hook attachment, and allow the machine to knead for 7 minutes
- And now, time to divide... Generously sprinkle a work surface with flour. Also, prepare 4 ziplock sandwich size bags (bigger works fine as well) by spraying the insides of them with spray canola oil.
- Plop the dough ball into the flour and coat well. Divide into 4 equal parts (or fewer if you know you are making larger pizzas). Put each dough ball into a prepared ziplock bag and refrigerate at least 6 hours, and preferably overnight.
When it comes cooking time, allow the dough to reach room temp.
If you are making one big one, just roll out round and flat (actually, any shape you like). Add your toppings and bake in a preheated 500 degree oven for 10-12 minutes.
Thanks Krista... Beyond GREAT!