Thursday, August 25, 2011

Smoked Beef Pizza

Even though I eat a huge variety of fruits and vegetables and eat plenty of vegetarian meals, I am an absolute sucker for charcuterie and pretty much any smoked meat or cheese product. I was unable to exist the siren song of smoked, cured beef at the farmer's market with thoughts of delicious, stacked-high deli sandwiches on crusty bread in my future, but decided to take a different approach once I brought my bounty home. In the spirit of the Italian beef sandwich, traditionally made with thinly sliced roast beef topped with giardineria or sauteed green peppers and delicious meat juices, I covered my smoked beef with delicious slow-cooked onions and peppers, uniting them under a blanket of melty cheese on a pizza crust. The savory, smoky beef melds divinely into the soft, caramelized onions and peppers and rich, crusty cheese in this carnivore-pleasing pizza. While these ingredients make a delicious sandwich nestled together on a crusty roll, they are just as happy on a pizza crust with the higher ratio of toppings to bread allowing the flavor of the meat and vegetables to come to the forefront even more. Use green and yellow (Packer fans) or red bell peppers (Badger fans) and serve with a cold beer for a great game snack during the rapidly approaching football season.

Smoked Beef Pizza
serves 3-4

1 tablespoon canola oil
1 medium onion, sliced
1 medium green bell pepper, sliced
1 red or yellow bell pepper, sliced
Kosher salt
One 12-inch prepared whole grain pizza crust
1/2 cup pizza sauce
8 ounces sliced smoked, cured beef
1 cup shredded mozzarella or provolone cheese

1. Preheat canola oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add sliced onions, peppers, and a dash of salt and cook, stirring frequently, until vegetables are browned, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low and continue cooking until vegetables are soft and caramelize, about 30 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, preheat an oven to 450 degrees F. Spread pizza sauce evenly over pizza crust. Arrange sliced beef in a concentric circle, covering the crust completely with beef. Distribute peppers and onions evenly over the top of the beef and top with shredded cheese.

3. Cook pizza for 8 to 12 minutes, until cheese is melted and just starting to brown. Let pizza rest for a couple minutes, then slice into 8 pieces and serve hot.

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