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Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Mexican Pizza

I have so many photos now, that I am having a hard time trying to decide which recipe to post next. And, as I backup and archive these photos, some recipes are slipping away from memory. So, I am going to try and jot down notes when I cook, so that when I finally post the recipe, I am able to remember all the details.

I am sure that you are wondering what a Mexican pizza is. Is the base made from tortillas or do I top it with salsa? Well, this is an inspiration from a pizza that I have eaten at a restaurant called "California Pizza Kitchen". It is a delicious and flavorful pizza. The pizza has a traditional base and has a thinner crust than the usual one inch crust pizzas. It it topped with blackbeans, tomatoes and onions and green lettuce. And finally the topping of tortilla chips lends the crunchy texture. So every time you bite down into a slice, you hear a nice satisfying crunch. Well, one day I decided to reverse engineer this dish and see if I could create a similar taste. The challenge was to find the right spices to create that similar and oh so tasty flavor. The end result was very close to the original. My family enjoyed it and I got great feedback from the fact that we polished off the entire pizza in one sitting. So, make this the next time your family can't decide on whether to eat Italian or Mexican. This is one tasty alternative which will satisfy everyone.


Ingredients
1 prebaked pizza base OR
pizza dough for 1 pizza
2 cups soaked and cooked black beans, alternately you can use one can of black beans
4 tomatoes, diced (or use canned tomatoes)
green chillies or jalapeno, to taste
1/8th tsp, cumin powder/jeera powder
salt to taste
1/2 onion, diced
1/4 green bell pepper, diced
1/4 yellow bell pepper, diced
1/4 red bell pepper, diced
3-4 green leaf lettuce leaves, sliced into thick ribbons
2-3 green onion stalks and leaves, diced
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (can use any other cheese blend)
1/4 tsp sugar, optional
10 tortilla chips, crushed into bite size pieces or you can use tortilla strips
2 tbsp sour cream, adjust to taste


Method
If you are using pizza dough, then roll out the dough to the desired thickness and blank bake (see tips) the pizza till the base is cooked through for about 10-15 minutes at 450 F. This prevents the pizza from getting soggy. While your pizza dough is getting baked, mix together the tomatoes, chillies and add salt. If the tomatoes are sour, add a little sugar. Cook this mixture down, till a thick sauce is created. You will not need a lot of sauce, just enough to cover the pizza base.
Then, heat the cooked black beans, add the cumin powder to this and some salt.
Now, you are ready to assemble the pizza.



Take your prebaked pizza base. Then spread a layer of the tomato sauce. Next spread a generous layer of the black beans. Then, sprinkle the diced onions and bell peppers as the next layer. Finally, add the layer of cheese.  Then, bake the pizza at 350F for 10 minutes or till the cheese has melted completely.


Take it out of the oven. Then, cover it with lettuce, green onion leaves and tortilla chips. Finally, drizzle a layer of sour cream on the pizza.

Serve hot with some salsa on the side.





Tips
You can find an easy to make pizza dough recipe here. You can also find pizza dough at grocery stores these days or even request a pizza restaurant to sell you some. Blank baking, means baking the pizza base without any toppings. This is to cook the pizza base, so that the pizza doesn't get soggy in the center. You can also blank bake the pizza base a couple of days earlier and then use this base when you are ready to add the toppings. Prick the dough before you bake it, else it will puff up. Else, you can place a foil on top of the rolled dough and cover it with some baking weights or beans and then blank bake the base.
If you are using canned beans, make sure to rinse them out before using it. Also, add a little water (a tablespoon or so) to the beans as you cook them with the cumin powder and salt.
If you are starting with dry black beans, then soak them overnight. Next day, pressure cook these till completely cooked and slightly softened. You can add some salt to the beans when you cook them. 

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