Friday, March 15, 2013

Venison Taco Pizza

Ever since getting pregnant with Gavyn I have craved Mexican food. So, basically, I have craved the same food just in different forms. Have you ever noticed that about American-ized Mexican food? It is basically seasoned meat (exclude for vegetarians), beans, cheese, lettuce, tomato, and sour cream, and maybe some avocado, all wrapped up in some sort of carbohydrate. This could be a tortilla - corn or flour - a chalupa, crispy tortilla chips, etc. The spices are mostly chili powder, cumin, onion and garlic, salt and pepper, maybe some oregano, and maybe some paprika or other "hot" spice. It can be baked, fried, or just assembled. What can I say - all of these things put together is just an awesome meal! So whether it is a taco, a burrito, an enchilada, a salad - my pregnant and/or lactating body just craves it. At least it is well rounded!

So the star of this post is the pizza crust - because it is the ingredient that a lot of households see as being difficult to make from scratch and so they end up buying frozen dough or worse - dough from a can. I love "regular' pizza but since we have Mexican night here and I have difficulty finding different ways to assemble my 7 Mexican ingredients - this is my Mexican pizza.

The dough starts with these ingredients:

I used a combination of white and whole wheat flours. Then you also need some warm water - the way I test the temperature of my water is I put my wrist on the side of the container that I am heating it in (usually my glass measuring cup). It should feel warm, but not hot. It should not be steaming. Then I sprinkle the yeast over the water and let it sit for 5 minutes to proof. I really don't know why I sprinkle it over the top instead of just mixing it in the water. That is the way my Mom did it and so that is the way I do it. I'm sure there is a reason.

I start with 2 1/2 cups total of flour in my mixer fitted with the dough hook. I add a heaping teaspoon of salt. After the yeast mixture is a little foamy, I add it to the flour along with about 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil. I just eye-ball it. Then I let the mixer go to work! You may need to add extra flour if the dough ball is sticking to the sides of the bowl. You can always add flour, but you can't take it away. After the dough looks like it isn't going to be really sticky, let the machine do its work for 4-5 minutes. If you don't have a mixer - you'll have to knead the dough by hand. It is actually a good stress relief and sometimes I just want to get my hands in the dough!

Then you coat it with olive oil and let it sit for about an hour to rise. Sorry for the lack of pictures - but I kind of figured you'd get sick of me posting pictures of dough rising. Anyway, once it has risen you roll it out into a pan in whatever shape you want. I wanted to use my cookie sheet to bake the pizza so I spread it out to just fit the cookie sheet.

While the dough was rising, I cooked up a pound of ground venison and then added about 1/2 cup of my homemade enchilada sauce as the seasoning. So this went onto the pizza dough.

Had I some refried beans, that would have gone on first, but I just didn't have time to make any, so instead I add some whole beans later (I like to make a whole bag of dried beans and freeze what I don't use so I always have frozen beans). Then go the toppin's! Tomatoes, green onion, black olives, beans, and cheddar cheese.

It baked at 415 degrees for about 20 minutes. There were a lot of toppings on there.

Add a dollop of sour cream on top of your piece and there you have it!

Homemade Pizza Dough

1 cup warm water (115-120 degrees)
1 packet active dry yeast
1 heaping tsp. salt
2 1/2 - 3 cups flour
2 T extra virgin olive oil

Combine yeast and water and let sit for 5 minutes. In stand mixer attached with the dough hook, mix 2 1/2 cups of flour and salt. Add in the yeast mixture and olive oil and turn the machine on low. Add more flour until the dough is no longer sticky. Knead with dough hook for about 5 minutes. Coat with oil and let rise for about an hour. Roll out into pizza form!

Toppings for pizza:
Ground venison/beef with enchilada sauce of taco seasoning
3 green onions, chopped
2 roma tomatoes, chopped
Black olives
Cheddar cheese
Cooked beans
Whatever you have!

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