After winding down a fantastic 2 year anniversary, I decided to make my first deep dish Chicago style pizza. I used my cast iron (because I thought that’s what they did at Giordanos in Chicago). This worked wonderfully!
The first basic step is the dough. I’m not going to give explicit instructions because most people have their own preferred methods but I will give a couple of secrets.
- The yeast loves sugar, so I add a tiny bit to the luke-warm water used to activate the yeast.
- “Luke-warm” doesn’t mean room temp., and you’re not warming the water for a baby. For best results, use the hottest water possible from the tap.
- Add a little extra flavor to the dough. I like to add some bread dipping seasonings or even basil to the flour before I add the water and yeast. I also use the “well” approach as opposed to mixing the yeast in the flour.
- I only let it rise once. It will continue to rise a little while it’s in the cast-iron pan waiting for the fillings.
- Finally, when kneading it, if the dough doesn’t make your arms tired then it’s not firm enough. Add tiny amounts of flour to the surface and knead in. The dough should have the slightest tackiness to it.
Now that you have your dough, you’ll want to make sure that it doesn’t stick to the pan, so coat the pan with a healthy amount of olive oil.
Then after rolling the dough very thin, lay it in the cast-iron pan like you would any pie crust. Be sure to press out the air bubbles that will likely form under the dough. Cut off the remaining extra dough from around the edges.
Preheat the oven to 500 degrees.
Now comes the fun part, the toppings, or more appropriate for this deep-dish pie, “fillings!”
First start with a thin layer of cheese on the bottom so that the crust will not get ruined by the tomatoes that we are about to add.
Then top the cheese with slices of fresh tomatoes one layer thick. Add some dried basil to the top of the tomatoes.
Now add a good healthy layer of sausage, real or vegan. We like Tofurkey Italian Sausage. I have to admit, I was worried about the sausage breaking down in the sauce and would have preferred the real deal but in the end it worked out just fine.
Then add piles of mushrooms,more dabs of sauce, and some pasta seasonings. Then a layer red peppers and a few more dabs of sauce.
Next add tons of cheese. I mean go nuts with it! If you bought cheep cheese, that’s fine, just don’t go quite as nuts or your pie will be more rubbery than you would probably prefer. I prefer fresh mozzarella.
After you’ve stuffed your pan almost as far as it will go, use the remaining dough to add a top crust to the pie. Be sure to pinch off the border like any sweet pie.
*WARNING* Don’t follow the picture to the right. Bonus points for if you already know why.
What you should do at this point (and I didn’t realize until I was literally placing this 50lb monstrosity of delight into the fires of Mordor) is butter the top of the crust and sprinkle with a little bit of garlic salt. I mistakenly added sauce and cheese to the top before placing it in the oven. This of course burned the cheese on the top early on (but it was still delicious!).
Place your pie in the 500 degree oven and set a timer for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, drop the temp by 100 degrees and let it go for another 30 minutes.
5 minutes before removing from the oven, top the pie with a little bit of sauce and cheese. Don’t go crazy with the cheese at this point, just a sprinkle a bit of mozzarella and parmesan.
When I took mine out, it didn’t stick to the pan one bit and I could spin it around with ease. Let it cool for 5 mins and then then serve. Here’s a tricky serving method (which I don’t recommend!) but I used a plate to flip the pizza out of the pan. Place the plate on top of the pie, press them together, flip the pie onto the plate, then cover with another plate and flip again.
Bingo-bango, you now have a Chicago style pizza, a happy belly, a fantastic smelling house and a beautiful best friend swooning. We enjoyed our pizza pie with some “Betty Faye” wine from Gregory Vineyards. Slightly sweet with a terrific flavor.
Thanks my love for an amazing 2 years! I can’t wait to see what cooking adventures we will have in the years to come!