Sunday, April 17, 2011

Chicken Calzone

This chicken calzone is very good and can feed the whole family, with mushrooms and bacon, an easy and delicious recipe. Before starting, these are few tools that worth the investment and will make your cooking much easier:

KitchenAid mixer. I agree these are expensive, but if you are serious about baking, it is a good investment. Get the high power model (475W). The lower power units can't handle bread making.
A kitchen scale is always nice to have to measure your ingredients.
Perforated pizza baking sheet. It helps to bake the dough evenly on top and bottom, specially for calzones.
That been said, here's a photo of most ingredients used for this recipe.
To the ingredients:
For the dough:
-4 cups all purpose bread flour
-1-1/4 cups luke warm water
-3/4 cups vegetable oil or olive oil
-1 table spoon dry bread yeast
-1 tea spoon non-iodized salt
-1 tea spoon table sugar
-2 table spoons of wheat gluten (optional)
-1 tea spoon of dough conditioner (optional)
-3 tea spoons of dough relaxer (optional)

The last three ingredients listed above are optional. These would improve your dough, making it raise better and easier to open flat. The gluten can be found in most grocery stores. The last two I get online from

For the filling:
-1lb chicken breast
-1 onion
-2 table spoons chopped garlic
-8oz bacon
-8oz canned corn
-1/4 cup of butter
-8oz shredded mozzarella cheese
-60z mushrooms, fresh or canned.
-Kosher salt and black pepper
-1oz brandy or cognac (optional)

The brandy is optional and will be used to flambe' the chicken and give it an extra complexity.
Ingredients like mushrooms and corn can be replaced with other ingredients of your taste. Remember that you should try to use ingredients that doesn't give much water when cooking, otherwise your calzone will be soggy and will not bake properly.

Now the cooking sequence.
Start by taking 1-1/4 cup of lukewarm (90 to 100F) water into a bowl, whisk in the yeast for 30 seconds, then add the sugar and 1 tea spoon of flour, whisk again and let it sit while you prepare the other ingredients. The mix will turn foamy, showing that the yeast is active and producing CO2.
Chop the onions and garlic
Cut the chicken breasts in cubes, about 1/2in in size. Add 1 tea spoon of salt (kosher salt) and black pepper, mix and reserve.
chop the bacon
Now let's prepare the dough. First, add the following dry ingredients to the mixer bowl:
-3 cups of flour
-salt (non-iodized), gluten, dough conditioner and dough relaxer
Then mix in low speed for a minute. Add the liquid ingredients, oil or olive oil and the yeast mixture that should be foamy at this point. Mix in low speed for a minute or two with the spatula tool.
Then switch to the hook tool, adding small amounts of flour to keep the dough from sticking to the bowl (possibly a cup of flour). Mix in medium speed for 5 minutes.
Transfer the dough to a big bowl, previously oiled, cover and let it raise for 30min
Meanwhile, set a pot on high heat and add the chopped bacon. No oil is needed.
Cook for few minutes until crisp
Then transfer to a metal strainer and drain off the excess fat. Reserve.
With same pot that you just cooked the bacon (don't wash the pot. The residues from the bacon will give the chef's signature :-) ), set to high heat, add the butter.
Add the onion and garlic
Saute' to golden, then add the chicken, stirring occasionally.
As an option for extra flavor, half way from cooking the chicken, grab 1oz of brandy or cognac in a shot glass.
Add to the cooking pan, STAND CLEAR and fire it up. I'm not kidding, be careful. The flames can get up to 3ft high. Don't worry, it will be quick and gone in few seconds. Make sure you don't have anything flammable above the stove.
Once the flames are out (5 sec, usually), stir until cooked. Reserve.
Now, back to the dough, it should have raised to almost double size. If not 3omin has passed from when you made the dough, let it finish the 30min count. Transfer the dough to a flat surface, previously sprinkled with flour.
Open the dough with a roller to the size of the baking tray you will use. My has 18in diameter. For that size, the dough will be about 1/4in thick.
Set the flat dough on top of the baking tray, then start adding the fillings to half of the area. Start with the bacon, previously cooked to crispy finish. See below.
Add the mushrooms. If canned, make sure it is well drained.
Some corn, also drained if from cans.
Add the chicken. It should be warm, not hot.
And for last, add the cheese.
Fold the other half of the dough on top to create the calzone, seen below. By hand, fold the sides to close the ending.
This is how it would look. Poke few holes on top to allow steam to come out.
Let it raise for 30min. It will look fat and high from all the filling you added.
Set the oven to 390F and bake for 25 to 30min until golden.
And buonissimo, there you have your juicy and crispy calzone. Enjoy!

No comments:

Post a Comment