Saturday, 14 November 2009

Pizza with Bacon & Caramelized Onion

Every Friday night is pizza night at our house. Not only does it give us something to look forward to (since we love pizza!), but I love not having to think about what to make for dinner that night--the decision is already made! At first when we moved to the UK, we tried to make pizza the same way we had in the States. After a few months of exploring the grocery stores and a lot of experimentation, our ingredients changed to fit both the budget and the unique options available here.

This is one of our favorite pizza concoctions that conveniently has a very low price-tag attached. The dough can be made up to a day in advance and stored in the refrigerator until you're ready to use it.

For the Dough:

  • 3/4 cup warm water (105°F to 115°F)
  • 1 envelope (2 1/4 teaspoons) active dry yeast
  • 2 cups (or more) all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil

Pour warm water into a large bowl bowl; stir in yeast. Let stand until yeast dissolves, about 5 minutes.

Add flour, sugar, salt and olive oil all at once; stir well until dough forms a sticky ball. Transfer to lightly floured surface. Knead dough until smooth, adding more flour by tablespoonfuls if dough is very sticky, about 1 minute. Transfer back to bowl, coated with a bit of oil; turn dough in bowl to coat completely with oil. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let dough rise in warm area until doubled in volume, about 1 hour. Punch down dough. (Can be made up to 1 day in advance. Store in airtight container in refrigerator.) Roll out dough according to recipe instructions. (Start in center of dough, working outward toward edges but not rolling over them.)

While the dough is rising you can prepare the toppings.

For the Toppings:

To caramelize the onions you will need:

  • 4 medium-sized onions
  • 1 heaping teaspoon dried or fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 small bay leaves
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
Heat oil in a heavy-bottomed frying pan on high. Peel onions and slice thinly. Add onions, thyme and bay leaf to pan and saute for 2-3 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low. Continue cooking onions, stirring occasionally. If they begin to get crispy or dry out, add a splash of water and reduce heat further. Repeat if necessary. You want the onions soft--almost gooey. Cook for 30 minutes or so. Onions should have turned a deep brown color--caramelized! Remove bay leaf. Set aside.

Prepare the bacon:
  • 250 grams 'cooking bacon'* (equivalent of 6-8 rashers/strips)

[*'Cooking bacon' is an assortment of leftover bacon cuts packaged together and sold very cheaply. It tastes more like ham or Canadian bacon than traditional America bacon. I buy a 1 kilo package, bring it home and divide it four ways, using only one part and freezing the other three parts for future pizza nights.]

Cook bacon in a heavy-bottomed frying pan over medium heat until done. (You can use the same pan as the onions--no need to wash it! All these flavors will be blending together anyway.) Chop roughly. Set aside.

  • About 15 dry, salt or oil-cured black olives, pits removed
  • 2 fresh tomatoes, sliced semi-thinly
  • 1-2 balls fresh mozzarella, sliced semi-thinly
  • Olive Oil
If you have a pizza stone, put it in the cold oven and then preheat oven to 450 degrees. (If you don't, try creating a stone surface by putting clean bricks or flat stones in your oven. If you're not that adventurous, just use the thickest baking sheet you have, and only put it in the oven 5 minutes before putting the pizza in.) When dough is done rising, divide into two balls. Taking one ball of dough, roll it out or toss it until it forms a disc between 10 and 12 inches across. Place on cutting board thoroughly covered with cornmeal, semolina or flour. Using a pastry brush, coat with olive oil and slide into hot oven directly onto stone. Bake for about 5 minutes--until no longer doughy, but not browned or crisp. Remove and place on cooling rack. Repeat with other ball of dough.

Taking the now-par-baked crust, coat again with olive oil. Spread half of the caramelized onions over the surface, then the bacon, tomatoes, olives and finally the cheese. Return to oven for about 10 more minutes--until the cheese is thoroughly melted and the crust takes on a nice golden color. Repeat with second pizza. Cut in quarters or sixths. Serve hot.

Makes 2 medium pizzas. (If feeding 2 people, this meal will cost about £0.82/person)

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  1. Same ingredients as my pizza dough recipe, just different ratios! Love the thought of carmelized onions - we always add them, I've just never thought of cooking them before. And I haven't bought bacon for months and months! But I will definitely try this . . . (fresh tomatoes are my favorite to add on to the top of a pizza - are they expensive?) LauraC

  2. I usually only add the tomatoes in the summer/fall when they're cheap and, more importantly, not mealy! This winter (while I wait for the tomatoes to come into season again) I've been adding mushrooms in with the caramelized onions instead, and that's been really good. Good luck!

  3. Hi again Jackie! I made this pizza tonight and it was great! The carmelized onions sure add a different taste, and together with the bacon was really good. And I did put tomatoes on the top . . . :)
    Heard you're going to be a mommy again and you're already 1/2 done! Congrats. We're going on one more week here, but I'm hoping he comes early. Isn't Chris's b-day the 9th?
    Happy Easter! Love, Laura