Early in our marriage, before kids, we went to visit some college friends at their apartment in Glendale, Calif. My husband was in medical school at the time and we were anxious to catch up with them and reminisce about our college days, when the four of us were resident assistants together in the dorms. We had all gotten engaged around the same time and married around the same time, too. It's been years since we’ve seen them and now we all have children, our three and their four, all cute and tow-headed. And I still remember what we ate for dinner sitting around their little table so many years ago: BBQ chicken pizza, homemade. My friend told me the recipe, a quick list of toppings inspired by the famous restaurant chain California Pizza Kitchen. I’ve been making it ever since, probably about 13 years now.
The past two summers, we’ve had a friend from the Lower 48 living with us and working as a commercial fisherman. His favorite pizza has always been barbecue chicken. He requests it every time he comes to visit, and since he’s here for the summer, I’ll be making it several times. It's a family favorite among kids and adults alike and is a terrific way to use up leftover grilled chicken from those summertime barbecues. I hope you can create all kinds of memories around this pizza recipe, too, just as we have.
Pizza dough for 1 standard pizza
1/2 cup barbecue sauce, plus 2 tablespoons more for tossing with the chicken
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1 large chicken breast half (or two small ones), cooked and shredded
salt and pepper to taste
1/3 cup cilantro leaves, roughly chopped
1/3 cup red onions, sliced
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Grease a standard pizza pan (I use a 15x17 Wilton pizza pan with the holes in the bottom to help get the bottom of the crust golden and crisp). Press the pizza dough into the pizza pan. Spread the 1/2 cup barbecue sauce onto the dough as a sauce. Top with shredded mozzarella.
In a bowl, season the shredded chicken with salt and pepper and toss with 2 tablespoons of barbecue sauce. Sprinkle the chicken over the cheese. Follow with cilantro and red onion slices. Bake 15-17 minutes, or until cheese is melted and crust is golden and cooked through in the center. Slice and serve.
Note: Green onions can be substituted for red onions, if you prefer.
Maya Evoy lives in Kenai and blogs about food at alaskafromscratch.com.