Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Thanksgiving Leftovers Deep Dish Pizza

Well, I totally missed the time window for a Thanksgiving-related post, but it's still worth posting - Thanksgiving dinner in a deep dish pizza crust.  Imagine all that is Thanksgiving: turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, green beans, and gravy in a deep-dish vessel we all love and know so well - pizza.  Oh, and let's not forget gobs of gooey cheese.  And there you have it - gluttony compounded...a true love child of American cuisine.  

This year I hosted a giant Thanksgiving potluck which is more like me asking everyone to bring wine or candles because I'm so much of a control freak that Noel and I cooked most of the food.  Anyways, the perk of hosting a dinner party is that I get to keep the leftovers.  Thanksgiving leftovers = me in elastic-waisted long johns and a spoon.  This year, I thought I'd be a bit more civilized about my post-Thanksgiving pig out, and thought up this addition to existing pizza taxonomy.  

Use whatever Thanksgiving leftovers you have available; I stuck to the more savory dishes because I don't know how a slice of pumpkin pie would fare sitting atop turkey and green beans.  Cranberry sauce would have been a nice, tart pop to counter all the pilgriminess of the other dishes, but I didn't have any.  So yeah, do what you want with the toppings, but do not f*** with the pizza dough recipe.  It's where the magic happens.

Deep Dish Pizza Dough
Recipe adapted from allrecipes.com
Makes 4 small pizzas (5-6 inches in diameter) which feeds 4 hungry adults

2 1/4 teaspoon active dry yeast
1 1/2 teaspoons white sugar
1 1/8 cups warm water - 110 to 115°F (43 to 45°C) which is the slightly more warm side of lukewarm
3 cups flour
1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup corn oil*
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 rounded tablespoon pizza seasoning**

Pour yeast and sugar into the warm water in a small bowl.  Give it a stir and wait for 5 to 10 minutes until the yeast forms a creamy foam.  

Using a wooden spoon, combine the yeast mixture, flour, oil, and salt in a large bowl.  Knead the dough for 5-7 minutes until the dough is slightly sticky.  Try not to over-knead.

Form the dough into a ball and lightly oil the large bowl before placing the dough ball back in.  Cover the bowl with a plastic bag or towel, and let rise until doubled in size.  With fast-acting, instant yeast, this will take less than an hour, but it could take up to 6 hours.  A slower rise will yield more flavor and a better texture, so you could even let it rise overnight in the refrigerator.  

After the dough has risen, punch it down, and let it rest for 10 to 15 minutes.  Divide dough into equal quarters.  Roll each dough section into a ball.  Flatten and press the dough into a deep dish pizza pan*** until the dough comes up over the edge slightly.

This was my first crust.  I would go a little bit more over the edge of the pan until it just meets the lip. 

*I used olive oil because I'm over here in South Korea where items like corn oil are as hard to come by as unicorn blood.  However, corn oil is ideal because it gives the crust that buttery, biscuit-y, and err..corn-y taste that Chicago deep dish pizza is famous for.  
**the pizza seasoning is crucial so if you don't have any, the recipe will follow.
***I got my "deep dish pizza pan" at Daiso for 2,000 won.  It's probably supposed to be a cake pan, but it filled the duties of a pizza pan really well.

Pizza Seasoning
I realize pizza seasoning is indoctrinated as make-this-crappy-pizza-taste-better-magic-in-a-bottle within suburban households across America, but believe me that it will bring unparalleled greatness to your Thanksgiving pizza. The seasoning kicks up the "pizzaness" so that the crust is not just a carb-y receptacle in which to dump leftovers.  

Feel free to adjust recipe to taste/availability of ingredients.

1 tablespoon oregano 
1 tablespoon basil 
1/2 tablespoon onion flakes 
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1/4 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes 
1/4 tablespoon fennel 
1/2 tablespoon ground black pepper 
1/4 cayenne pepper ground

Mix it together.

Ugly leftovers make one pretty pizza.
Thanksgiving Leftovers Deep Dish Pizza
prepared pizza crust
mozzarella cheese, shredded
mashed potatoes
creamed spinach casserole

turkey, sliced
green bean casserole
parmesan cheese, grated (optional, but is it really?)

Preheat oven to 450°F (232°C).

In the prepared pizza crust, spoon a layer of gravy on like you would pizza sauce - maybe 3-5 spoonfuls of gravy.  

Sprinkle on a layer of shredded mozzarella cheese.

Spread on a layer of mashed potatoes.  This may be difficult if the consistency of your mashed potatoes isn't very creamy in which case, dollop mounds of potato around the pan, and then smush them down.  Go easy on the mashed potatoes; the pie fills up quickly.

Do smaller dollops of the creamed spinach and kind of spread it around.  Sprinkle on the stuffing.  Again, a light hand - if you get too excited, the rest of the ingredients won't fit.  Then arrange the turkey slices and green beans in a concentric pattern.  Or just throw them on in completely unconcentric circles if you just want to get to the eating part.

Finally, grate on some parmesan cheese.  

Bake in the oven for 30 minutes or until the crust is golden brown and everything is hot and bubbly.  Gobble gobble!

This one didn't get concentric circles.


  1. That's very resourceful of you. You've turned scraps and leftovers to something so delicious and wonderful. I also want to be able to make something out of scratch.

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