Strawberry Balsamic Chicken and Bacon Pizza
The fact that this particular recipe caused me to emerge from my blog hibernation should tell you that it must be something special. I made it one night for dinner and literally could not wait to make it again so that I could share it with you. In fact I was so excited about it that when I went home this past weekend, I insisted on making this for my mom and brother so that we could have the mutual experience of this pizza to rave about for the rest of the summer. Kind of like when something really funny happens but there is no one around to laugh with you, this pizza is best as a shared life experience.
I could tell that my mom was extremely skeptical of this unusual combination, and I can’t really blame her. If I hadn’t already made the pizza myself, I may have caved under the funny looks I received when I told her that sirachi was combine with balsamic vinegar and strawberry preserves to make the sauce. Luckily, I was confident in the fact that everyone would love this pizza, and went ahead with my plans. It did not disappoint. The balsamic vinegar and siracha make this just savory enough to call it dinner, and the strawberries and cilantro keep it fresh enough to make it feel like summer. My brother said that he had never had such a refreshing pizza. And since the dog got the last two pieces of this off the counter – apparently animals like it too. As strawberries are coming into season, make this, pair it with a strawberry Abita, and hope for some more 80 degree sunny days in May – it doesn’t get much better.
Stawberry Balsamic Chicken and Bacon Pizza
- 1/2 cup strawberry preserves or jam
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon sriracha chili sauce
- 1 ball prepared pizza dough
- 1/4 onion, thinly sliced
- ~1 cup cooked chicken, diced or shaved
- 4 slices applewood smoked bacon, cooked until crispy and then crumbled
- 4 oz shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1-2 oz finely shredded parmesan cheese
- 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup fresh cut strawberries, diced
Place the pizza stone in the lower middle of the oven and preheat to 500°F.
Bring the balsamic vinegar to a boil in a small saucepan. Reduce the heat and simmer until reduced to half and mixture thickens, about 4 to 5 minutes. Stir in the strawberry preserves and chili sauce. Mix well; set aside to cool.
Roll out the pizza dough to a 12 or 14-inch circle. Transfer to a piece of parchment paper.
Spread the cooled strawberry sauce over the pizza top with chicken, bacon, sweet onion, mozarella and parmesean cheese, and 1/2 of the cilantro and 1/2 of the strawberries.
Transfer the pizza with the parchment paper onto the hot pizza stone and bake for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and the crust is golden. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly for 1 to 2 minutes. Top with the remaining fresh strawberries and cilantro. Serve hot.
Adapted from Pennies on a Platter, originally from The Café Sucre Farine
Shrimp and Grits
Wow, it’s been way to long since I posted! I have a few (debatably good) excuses though. First I finished up my family medicine rotation with a pretty tough standardized test, then John and I went on vacation to San Fran, wine country and point reyes, and this week I started a rotation in Dermatology in Bryan, OH. It’s been a busy but fun couple of weeks!
I think my favorite part about vacation had to be Sonoma. It was a beautiful but relaxed town and if it wasn’t clear across the country I could totally see myself living there someday. (I checked residency programs, and unfortunately there are none in wine country. boo.) We also had a lot of fun biking all around San Francisco and across the golden gate bridge, as well as hiking in point reyes national seashore.
Now that I’m in Bryan, I haven’t really been cooking much since it would require me to fill a whole new pantry with ingredients and transport my favorite pots and pans an hour and a half; however I do have the weekends off so my goal for the rest of the year is to post one time per week. I’ll start with this recipe for Shrimp and Grits.
We had this for dinner before we left for vacation, and I have been thinking about it off and on since then. I made this thinking it would be a nice treat for the butter, cheese and generally southern food loving member of our family, but as it turns out I ended up being the one who was head over heels for this dinner. Not to say that John didn’t love it as well, I just surprised myself by how much I could love something made with grits and bacon. The parsley and green onions really help to cut down on the heavy feeling of this dish and I think I might even add more next time. I was also surprised by how quickly this dish came together and how few unusual ingredients it required. Now that I have grits in the pantry, I think this is going to become one of my go to weeknight meals because 1) I really loved it and 2) I generally have all these ingredients around and 3) it’s pretty easy to put together. I know that you’re probably starting to think I must work for Costco or something, but I did want to mention that I found the best large, individually frozen shrimp there for the best price. Now that I have a costco sized bag of jumbo shrimp in the freezer, I have even more excuses to make this delicious dish again.
Shrimp and Grits
Serves about 4 (I made about half this recipe for the 2 of us)
- 4 cups water
- 1 cup grits (regular or quick cooking but NOT instant)
- 3 T. butter
- 1 heaping cup shredded cheddar cheese
- Salt and pepper
- 1 pound peeled and deveined shrimp
- 5 slices bacon
- Juice of 1/2 a lemon (about 2 T.)
- 2 T. coarsely chopped parsley, plus more for garnish
- 3/4 cup thinly sliced scallions, plus more for garnish
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- Hot sauce if desired
1. Bring water to a boil. Add grits to the boiling water and stir. Add salt and a bit of pepper. Lower heat, bring to simmer and cover until water is absorbed. Follow the directions on your box of grits because cooking times vary.
2. Once thick, remove from heat and stir in butter and shredded cheese. (Feel free to add more butter or shredded cheese – (John would’ve if he was making this…)
3. Rinse and pat shrimp dry. You don’t want them dripping water when you add them to hot oil.
4. Fry the bacon in a large skillet. When cooked through remove from the pan and crumble.
5. Add shrimp into the bacon grease pan. Cook until shrimp turn pink. Add lemon juice, bacon, scallions, garlic and parsley. Cook for another three minutes.
6. Spoon the grits into a serving bowl and top with shrimp mixture. Add extra scallions and parsley. Serve immediately.
Adapted from Our Best Bites and Joy the Baker