Jim’s Chicago Style Deep Dish Pizza
Reporting from the galley on the Hampton River.
By Jim Baugh
When it is late January, early February and the Rockfish have moved some 15 miles off our coast and we are stuck with a three mile limit, AND the last of the fresh vacuum sealed frozen Rockfish was served up for your lady friend for New Years, What do you do?? What,- do you do??
My first thought since it has been cold and rainy lately was to jump in an airplane, fly to Chicago and pig out on the worlds most famous Deep Dish Pizza. Now THAT would be FUN!!! Great idea! But, -wait a minute. Gazing at my checkbook, looks like I need to pull out my MVP card and start pedaling my Go Green Bicycle to Food Lion or Save a Lot!
It may be hard to believe, but you can make Chicago style deep dish pizza right at home, and it is just as good, if not even better than what you would get in Chicago. Here today, we are celebrating the deep dish pizza and giving out to all our wonderful viewers and readers my own very special deep-dish pizza recipe. It is about as good as it gets.
There is the debate as to which is better, Chicago style or New York Style pizza. I never understood this at all. Both pies are such different beasts, they should not even be considered in the same category. Both are fantastic, and both are called, “Pizza”- and it should stop there. It is about the same as comparing a Rockfish Filet with a Tuna Filet or a Swordfish Filet. They are all fish, and all fantastic, but all very separate in just about every way. Which one is best?? They ALL are the best, that is, as long as you know how to prepare the filet. Fish is a lot like pizza, one of the biggest keys to preparing each is that everything is fresh. Everything, including the herbs.
First a little background on where I got my deep-dish recipe. There are several famous deep-dish pizza restaurants in Chicago. My recipe takes a little bit from several of the better known restaurants, combined what I liked best while keeping the recipe as authentic as possible. I also made the recipe a bit healthier than some of the other pies that are popular. Both the dough and sauce recipe can be varied somewhat depending on your individual liking. We just love Basil (lots of it) parsley, garlic, and oregano, so my pie probably has more of these ingredients than the original. Some die hards will even say that if oregano is in the pie, it is not authentic. That may be, but I still love oregano, so I use it. Now, here is from start to finish how to make Jim’s Chicago style DEEP DISH PIZZA! AT HOME!
The JBO TV Kitchen is located on the Hampton River and it was totally renovated two years ago with the most efficient stainless steel appliances I could find. I also put in granite countertops which is a great surface for making all sorts of dough recipes. One thing that I do not have is a brick oven heated with charcoal and wood! That one would have been a little difficult to pull off in a condo. Soooooo, here is the trick for the pan with a deep-dish pizza. Use what we use, stoneware by Pampered Chef. This clay stoneware dish is a 9-inch square that is well over 3 inches deep. The key to stoneware is that it gets VERY hot and cooks evenly. Basically it simulates a brick oven that you would find in high-end restaurants. This stoneware does need to be seasoned, similar to a cast iron skillet. Once seasoned, food will never stick to the cooking surface. This dish may cost you 30 bucks or so new, but it will last a lifetime and it has many multiple uses for baking, and the dish can be microwaved or even put in the freezer.
Once I seasoned our stoneware pan, never have I had any issue with anything sticking to it. Truth be told, it is the most non-stick cooking surface I own. This Clay stoneware is truly amazing and worth every penny! (Ok, it was a gift, but I love it!)
There are many variations on pizza dough and you can surf the Internet to find what you like best, however when it came to the dough I wanted it to be as authentic as possible. Problem is, these Chicago pizzerias don’t exactly give out their recipes. Here I did a LOT of research and found what I believe to be the closest to the original as I could find, it is fantastic and is supposed to be similar dough from Pizzeria Uno. Jeff Smith from the Frugal Gourmet TV Show had put his time and effort into figuring out the recipe from Pizzeria Uno and took it to the restaurant for the 30-year veteran pizza maker “Mama” to sample. He was told, “it can’t get any closer”. So, this is the recipe I use, it is simple, but really good. This recipe will also cause your home to smell like a pizzeria real fast!
* 2 packages rapid rise dry yeast
* 2 cups warm water
* 1/2 cup vegetable oil
* 4 tablespoons olive oil
* 1/2 cup cornmeal
* 5 1/2 cups flour
Dissolve the yeast in the water. Add the vegetable oil, olive oil, cornmeal, and half of the flour. Beat for 10 minutes. Then mix in the remaining flour. Knead for several minutes afterwards on granite countertop mixing in flour lightly. The dough should not really be sticky at all.
Remove dough and place on a clean countertop or bowl. Cover and allow to rise in warm place until double in bulk. Punch down and allow to rise again. Punch down a second time and you are ready.
**It should take an hour or so for the first rise, then another hour for the second as long as the dough is in a warm place.
If you have left over dough, vacuum seal it and freeze for later use.
NOTE: This dough recipe is enough to make two 9 inch square pan pizzas, and have enough left over for a 10 inch snack pizza.
VARIATION: add one-teaspoon salt, teaspoon of sugar. Some folks like even a little Italian seasoning in the crust, so just ad some to the dough
When we go to the trouble to make home made deep-dish pizza, a simple cheese pie is not going to cut it. Ours is this combination: Italian sausage, hamburger, pepperoni, Canadian bacon, hickory smoked bacon, mushroom, onion, Spinach, sliced tomato and green pepper.
Take your hamburger and sausage and cook them together in a cast iron skillet then drain off the fat. Next, lightly cook the Canadian bacon until it is golden brown then set aside. Next cook your bacon, drain the fat, and set the bacon aside. Wipe the skillet and lightly sauté the veggies until they are tender, then set aside.
This is probably the biggest difference between Jims Deep Dish, and authentic Chicago deep dish Pizza. Some of the Chicago pizzerias use raw sausage right in the pie and all the grease stays in the pie. I find it a much better pie to precook the meats and drain the fat. It is healthier, and the pie is saucy enough as it is, it does not need the extra grease.
Sauce is a bit a matter of preference. There are some restaurants that actually just pour the tomatoes right from the can with little seasoning and away you go. This is good, however I prefer a cooked sauce. Here is what you will need.
One large can tomato sauce
Fresh chopped Garlic
One Caned tomatoes cut (San Marzanos)
Crushed red peppers
Brown Sugar teaspoon
Some onion salt
Dash of thyme
salt 1\2 teaspoon
1\2 teaspoon red wine vinegar
* Use fresh ingredients if possible.
First heat olive oil is saucepan then sauté the garlic. Next, just add everything and simmer with a closed lid for at least 35 minutes. Let cool to room temperature with the lid on. Lastly, store in a GLASS jar and keep in the fridge 24 hours before serving. NOTE: The red wine vinegar helps give the sauce a bit of zing or tang which works very well, but optional.
Assembling the Pie
Grease your stoneware dish with olive oil up to and around the sides. Place your dough in the center of the dish and push \ work outwards towards the side of the pan. Pull the dough up the sides of the dish. The crust on the bottom should be fairly thin. The crust on the sides should be also. Make sure that the inside bottom corners of the pan do not stack up with dough. Keep pushing the excess dough out of the corners and up and over the sides of the pan. Deep Dish should NOT be an extremely thick crust, actually quite thin everywhere. You don’t want to end up with a loaf of bread with sauce on it!
Next, place your cheese on top of the dough, and then add all of your pre-cooked meats on top of the cheese. Next up, add your veggies.
Finally, pour your sauce on top and garnish with Parnassian Cheese. I like to also put some fresh basil on top of the sauce just because I love basil! Never get enough. You should see the size of my basil bush, huge!
Preheat to 455 and cook for 40-50 minutes. Place pie on the bottom of the rack. If the crust is getting to brown on top just use some aluminum foil at the end to cover. (Usually not necessary) When done, let stand for five minutes or longer then serve.
This recipe is based on the authentic Chicago style Deep Dish Pizza, with very little variation. Basically, we just drain the fat off the precooked meats and also like to use a lot of basil, oregano, and parsley. As far as the sauce, we like it either pre cooked, or not. Our preference is to precook and let the sauce sit over night in a glass jar in the fridge.
Making a deep dish pizza is a little bit like making a Lasagna, you can pretty much make it anyway you want, and as many layers as you want. Stuffed pizzas are popular however a deep-dish pizza has enough dough already. To protect my six-pac abs, one layer of dough is enough for me!!!
***I cook plenty of all the fillings because I know I will have enough left over dough to make one, or even two more pies. We take several vacuum seal bags and pack the dough separately, then the meats and veggies, even vacuum seal the sauce. Wrap tape around all the packages and through them in the freezer. Then we have awesome home made pizza ready to go, just thaw and assemble. All ingredients hold up great in the freezer properly sealed.
***When working the dough up the sides of the pan, keep pulling the dough until it goes over the side. Then after all the fillings are in, cut with a knife about one inch down the outside of the pan. Then turn the edges upward in a swirl pattern. Makes a great presentation
***Brush the top of the crust with a mix of olive oil, garlic, and your fav Italian seasonings.
***A small amount of Ricotta Cheese on top of the Motz layer is good as well. Other GREAT fillers are spinach and a few anchovies. Again, what ever you like, put it in. Just pre cook and drain your meats so the pie is less fat, less filling, taste better, and will maintain a crunchier crust. Pre cooking the filling also will make your pie less watery and firmer. If you use fresh tomatoes for a filling under the sauce, be sure to take out all the seeds and slices should be very thin.
That’s It!! One more thing, leftovers are da bomb!
So, when the Rockfish are to far offshore to fish during January, and you want the deep-dish pizza experience without the cost of flying to Chicago, try my recipe. You will love it!!
For info on charter captains in our Hampton area, just log on to http://www.jimbaughoutdoors.com/ and check out our charter pages and order your free Hampton Roads Fishing Guide!!!!
Jim Baugh JBO TV
CREDITS: Ginos East, Lou Malnati’s, Uno pizzeria, Jeff Smith-The Frugal Gourmet Cooks American, Ruth Gurganus for the Pampered Chef Deep Dish, and Even Guia.
PHOTO CREDIT: J. Baugh