Fowl Play: 5 great chicken pizzas

thai pizza, thai chicken pizza, pizza recipes, chicken pizzasPacked with protein, chicken’s acceptance as a commonplace pizza topping has exploded over the past decade. And while the BBQ Chicken Pizza first made popular by California Pizza Kitchen in the 1980s remains a top-shelf crowd pleaser, why limit yourself to just one or two chicken-based pies?

Chicken is available to foodservice operators raw or precooked. While both options carry pros and cons, we recommend precooked poultry in most instances — it eliminates the food safety issues associated with raw chicken and is far less labor intensive. That being said, if you seek to elevate your game, marinating and roasting chicken in-house allows you to infuse more flavor. It really comes down to the comfort level of your kitchen staff. Bear in mind, though, that often times the flavor of the chicken will ultimately play second fiddle to the sauces and other toppings commonly paired with poultry on pizza. In other words, strictly speaking in terms of pizza production, the loss of flavor you may experience with precooked chicken purchased in bulk should be negated by your other ingredients.

While we love the aforementioned BBQ Chicken Pizza (particularly with smoked cheeses) as well as a Buffalo Chicken Pizza (a staff favorite in the Pizza Today office, in fact), the fact of the matter is that a high percentage of you already offer them on your menus, much to our delight. Now we’d like to encourage you to continue with your fowl play by considering these five great chicken pizzas:

Mediterranean Chicken Pizza

14-inch pizza crust
6 ounces pizza sauce
1 ounce olive oil
2 cloves crushed garlic
5 ounces grilled chicken, diced
6 ounces artichoke hearts, quartered
4 ounces roasted red pepper, sliced
6 ounces baby spinach
4 ounces portabella mushroom, sliced
3 ounces Kalamata olives
3 ounces pepperoncini, sliced
2 ounces mozzarella, shredded
2 ounces provolone, shredded
2 ounces Feta cheese, crumbled
2 ounces goat cheese
4 leaves fresh basil, torn

In a hot pan sauté the olive oil, artichoke hearts, pepperonici, olives, mushrooms and roasted red pepper. Add the spinach and garlic near the end.

Roll the dough out to 14 inches in diameter, then add the pizza sauce to the dough. Top the sauce with the sautéed mixture above.

Next, blend the four cheeses and add to the pizza. Bake until crust is golden brown and ready to serve. After baking, sprinkle the torn basil over top for garnish.

Chicken Pesto Pizza, chicken pizzas, pizza recipesChicken Pesto Pizza

16-ounce dough ball
4 ounces pesto sauce
1½ ounces sun-dried tomatoes
6 ounces mozzarella
4 ounces artichoke hearts
6 ounces fresh Roma tomatoes, sliced
4 ounces chicken breast, cubed
2 ounces roasted red peppers

Stretch dough to 16 inches in diameter. Coat pizza with pesto. Layer with sun-dried tomatoes, mozzarella, artichoke hearts, tomato, chicken and peppers. Bake until crust is golden brown and pizza is ready to serve.

thai pizza, thai chicken pizza, pizza recipes, chicken pizzasThai Chicken Pizza

14-inch pizza crust
2 ounces Thai Peanut Pizza Sauce (recipe follows)
2 ounces chargrilled chicken, diced
2 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese
½ ounce shredded carrots
½ ounce fresh bean sprouts
½ ounce red onion, diced
½ ounce fresh red bell pepper, julienned
1 tablespoon peanuts, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh cilantro, chopped

Roll pizza dough out to 14 inches in diameter. Spread with Thai Peanut Sauce (recipe follows). Top with chicken, mozzarella cheese, carrots, bean sprouts, red onion and red bell pepper.

Bake until crust is golden brown and ready to serve.

After baking, sprinkle with chopped peanuts and fresh cilantro to garnish.

Thai Peanut Sauce

½ cup cream of coconut
3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar, seasoned
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, minced
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
2 tablespoons pickled ginger, minced
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
1 cup peanut butter
1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Blend the first nine ingredients in a food processor for 45 seconds. Slowly add vegetable oil to mixture while continuing to blend.

Lastly, add peanut butter and pulse five to six times to incorporate. Place in clean container and hold under refrigeration until needed.

Chicken Gumbo pizza, chicken pizzas, pizza recipesChicken Gumbo Pizza

14-inch pizza crust
6 ounces béchamel sauce (recipe follows)
6 ounces grilled chicken, diced
4 ounces Andouille sausage, sliced
2 ounces bacon, crumbled
2 ounces red onion, diced
7 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded
3 ounces Gruyere cheese, shredded

Roll the pizza dough out to 14-inches in diameter.

Add the béchamel sauce (recipe follows), then top with chicken, Andouille sausage, bacon, onion and cheeses.

Bake until crust is golden brown and ready to serve.

Béchamel Sauce

1 tablespoon finely chopped onion
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
½ cup all-purpose flour
3 cups milk
½ teaspoon salt

In a heavy saucepan set over medium-high heat, cook the onion with the butter just until the onions are softened. Stir in the flour. Cook and stir the roux for about 3 minutes.

Add the milk in a steady stream, whisking steadily until the sauce smooths out. Add the salt. Simmer the sauce for about 10 minutes, or until it is thickened to the consistency you desire.

Sauce can be kept for several days, refrigerated. Cover the surface with a buttered round of parchment paper to prevent a skim from forming.

Chicken Fajita Pizza

Recipe Courtesy of Tony Palombino, Tony Boombozz Pizzeria, Louisville, KY

12-inch pizza crust
3 ounces chipotle sauce (recipe to follow)
4 ounces smoked provolone cheese, shredded
4½ ounces grilled chicken, cut into strips
½ cup green peppers and red onions, sliced
½ cup Asiago cheese, shredded
1 ¼ cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
½ cup Roma tomatoes, diced

Stretch dough ball to 12-inches in diameter and place on pizza screen. Apply chipotle sauce and top with grilled chicken strips. Evenly distribute pepper/onion mixture, Asiago, mozzarella and diced tomatoes. Bake until crust is golden brown and ready to serve.

Chipotle Sauce

1 quart pizza sauce
1 tablespoon chipotle paste
1/3 cup red onion, minced
3 tablespoons jalapeno peppers, minced
1/3 cup banana pepper rinds, minced

In a bowl, combine pizza sauce and chipotle paste and blend well. Add remaining ingredients and mix well.