Sausage and Fennel Cast-Iron Pizza

Sausage and Fennel Cast-Iron Pizza

Sausage and Fennel Cast Iron Pizza baked hot and bubbly and garnished with fennel fronds.

Sausage and Fennel Cast-Iron Pizza

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I say start the new year with pizza! Yes, that’s right, crispy, cheesy, flavour-packed Sausage and Fennel Cast-Iron Pizza. We can not make just any pizza, it truly needs to be a cast-iron pizza to start the new year right. It creates the best golden and crisp underside that you’ll ever create at home, and you’ll wonder why you haven’t been making all your pizzas this way. Most new year resolutions include some form of healthy eating, but I think the new year (because it’s gonna be great) deserves full-on, carefree, in your face deliciousness. The sausage and fennel combination has not only become my new favourite, cooking it in a cast-iron pan tips it over the edge of my pizza nirvana. So move over plain ol’ pepperoni pizza… grown-up pizza just walked in.

A cast iron skillet full of of ingredients for Sausage and Fennel Cast Iron Pizza.
Pizza dough, marinara sauce and fennel ready for Sausage and Fennel Cast Iron Pizza.

With the new year upon us, we have no choice but to be hopeful for a more user-friendly year. Even though I can consider 2020 a good year, it hasn’t been without its frustrations, and for many people, it has been a year of hardship and heartache. While we can’t eat cheesy, sausage laden pizza all the time, it’s a good reminder to enjoy a few of the simpler things that we can. It’s also great fun to create homemade pizza at home with loved ones lending a helping hand.

All the best in 2021, let’s eat!

Sausage and Fennel Cast Iron Pizza garnished with fennel fronds and cut into slices on a black cutting board.

Sausage and Fennel Cast Iron Pizza garnished with fennel fronds and cut into slices on a black cutting board.
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Sausage and Fennel Cast-Iron Pizza

Course Main Course
Keyword baked, cast iron, cast iron pizza, fennel, garlic, Italian sausage, mozzerella, olive oil, pizza, pizza dough
Cook Time 14 minutes
Resting time 5 minutes
Servings 2 people

Ingredients

  • 8-10 ounces pizza dough homemade or store-bought
  • 8 ounces Italian sausage about 2 links, casing removed
  • 3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil divided
  • 1/3 cup marinara sauce homemade or store bought
  • 3 ounces shredded mozzarella about 3/4 cup
  • 1/2 small fennel bulb, thinly sliced plus fronds for garnish
  • 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • red pepper flakes

Instructions

  • Set oven rack to its uppermost position. Preheat oven to 475°F.
  • Drizzle room temperature pizza dough with 1 tbsp olive oil and press out to a 10" round. Cover loosely with plastic wrap.
  • Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a 10" cast-iron skillet. Add Italian sausage and cook over medium, breaking up any large pieces. Once cooked and slightly crisp remove to a paper towel-lined plate.
  • With the heat still on medium/low, immediately lay pizza dough in the pan, stretching out to the edges using a spatula or spoon if necessary. Top dough with marinara, then mozzarella, fennel, garlic and sausage. Drizzle with 1 tbsp olive oil and check the underside which should be starting to brown and crisp. Transfer pan to oven and bake until bubbling, about 10-14 minutes.
  • Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes, then sprinkle with red pepper flakes, and fennel fronds or fresh basil. Lift out of the pan and cut into wedges and serve.

Notes

-The dough will press out better on a wooden surface such as a cutting board as opposed to granite or super-smooth surfaces.
-I prefer a thinner crust and opt for 8 ounces of dough vs 10.  It is 10 ounces pictured in the blog.
-Makes one 10" pizza, however, a 12" cast-iron skillet would work too, just use the 10 ounces of dough.  There's plenty of topping, so there's no need to adjust unless you'd like more cheese.
-The original recipe from Bon Appétit suggests garnishing with fresh basil, however, I enjoy using fresh fennel fronds instead, but it's a matter of preference and both are delicious. 

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Skillet Flatbread

Skillet Flatbread

Skillet Flatbread stacked three high on a wooden serving plate and garnished with zahtar.

Skillet Flatbread

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Do you have flour, yeast, oil and salt? It is all you need to make golden, slightly crisp and chewy Skillet Flatbread. The recipe is super easy without a lot of fuss, and the flatbread is delicious with just about anything. I like mine sprinkled with a zahtar spice mix but you can eat it plain, or with your favourite herb or spice mix. So get ready to dunk, dip and scoop all your tastiest soups, stews and tagines because you’ll be making this time and time again.

Risen dough in a large bowl resting on a wooden platter in preparation for Skillet Flatbread.

Any non-stick skillet will work for this recipe even though I’ve suggested using a cast-iron skillet. The dough is uncomplicated and can be pressed or rolled into any shape, however, I opted for 9” circles which cook evenly and quickly, and it fits nicely in my 10” skillet. This Skillet Flatbread will keep for several days in a sealed container but can also be frozen for use later. When thawed, give it a gentle warming in the microwave or low oven. Eating it at room temperature is perfectly tasty but I prefer it slightly warm. Enjoy!

Skillet Flatbread cut into triangles and served on a wooden serving plate and garnished with zahtar.

Skillet Flatbread
Print Recipe
    Servings Prep Time
    3 9" flatbreads 20-25 minutes
    Cook Time Passive Time
    32 minutes 70 minutes
    Servings Prep Time
    3 9" flatbreads 20-25 minutes
    Cook Time Passive Time
    32 minutes 70 minutes
    Skillet Flatbread
    Print Recipe
      Servings Prep Time
      3 9" flatbreads 20-25 minutes
      Cook Time Passive Time
      32 minutes 70 minutes
      Servings Prep Time
      3 9" flatbreads 20-25 minutes
      Cook Time Passive Time
      32 minutes 70 minutes
      Ingredients
      Servings: 9" flatbreads
      Instructions
      1. Combine yeast and water in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Allow fermenting for 10 minutes.
      2. Stir in 1 cup of flour, I tbsp olive oil and salt. Add another half a cup of flour and begin kneading. Knead until the flour is absorbed and continue adding flour by the tablespoon until dough pulls away from the side of the bowl and is no longer sticky. I used 2 1/4 cups of flour in total. Knead until dough is smooth, about 7 minutes.
      3. Coat a large bowl with 1 tsp of olive oil. Form dough into a ball and place in the bowl, turn to coat in oil. Cover and allow to rise for 1 hour.
      4. Divide dough into 4 equal portions. Heat a large cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Roll or press one dough portion into a 9" round. Drizzle 1 tsp of canola oil into the hot skillet. When the oil is hot add the prepared rolled dough. Cook for about 4 minutes per side, adjusting the heat as needed.
      5. While the flatbread is cooking roll the remaining dough portions into 9" rounds.
      6. Remove flatbread from skillet and drizzle with additional olive oil and sprinkle with Zaatar if desired.

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      Minty Hot Chocolate

      Minty Hot Chocolate

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      You will want to give up the powdery store-bought hot chocolate mix for this creamy and rich Minty Hot Chocolate. It takes only a few quality ingredients and 10 minutes to have a warming mug of chocolatey goodness. Milk and cream get a gentle simmer on the stove before bittersweet chocolate and mint flavouring are added for an amazing hot chocolate. This lovely version is not too sweet and perfect topped with lightly whipped cream.

      A blue mug overflowing with chocolate chips and garnished with red and white candy canes for Minty Hot Chocolate.

      It’s great for kids and adults alike and makes me want to strap on my skates and go down to the rink on the lake. In past years, we’ve had a self-made lake ice rink at my mother-in-laws and she would often bring down a tray of hot chocolate. One year I remember well because the ice froze very flat with little to no snow which allowed us to see the fish swimming below as we skated above. It was wonderful fun and a good way to enjoy time with friends and family. Make this Minty Hot Chocolate your delicious way to warm up after a day of outdoor activities. Enjoy!

      Minty Hot Chocolate with whipped cream in blue mugs resting on a white tray lined with a checkered blue and white napkin.

      Minty Hot Chocolate with whipped cream in blue mugs resting on a white tray lined with a checkered blue and white napkin.
      Minty Hot Chocolate
      Print Recipe
        Servings Prep Time
        1 litre 10 minutes
        Cook Time
        7 minutes
        Servings Prep Time
        1 litre 10 minutes
        Cook Time
        7 minutes
        Minty Hot Chocolate with whipped cream in blue mugs resting on a white tray lined with a checkered blue and white napkin.
        Minty Hot Chocolate
        Print Recipe
          Servings Prep Time
          1 litre 10 minutes
          Cook Time
          7 minutes
          Servings Prep Time
          1 litre 10 minutes
          Cook Time
          7 minutes
          Ingredients
          Servings: litre
          Instructions
          1. Whip half a cup of heavy cream with the powdered sugar until soft peaks form. Keep chilled until ready to use.
          2. In a small saucepan combine milk, remaining heavy cream, and sugar. Whisk over medium heat until mixture comes to a simmer. Remove from heat and add chocolate. Whisk until chocolate has melted and mixture is smooth. Stir in peppermint extract.
          3. Divide among serving mugs and top with whipped cream and a candy cane.

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          Tarragon Chicken Salad

          Tarragon Chicken Salad

          Tarragon Chicken Salad is piled high and topped with lettuce on a golden bun. The bun sits on a stack of plates garnished with cucumber slices.

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          Here’s to having plenty of summer days that are too hot to want to cook.  Tarragon Chicken Salad is perfect for just such days.  No need to cook when tender chicken pairs up with mustard and creamy mayo for a wonderful salad that’s amazing on a crusty roll, croissant, lettuce wrap or cracker.

           

          Cooked diced chicken rests on a wooden cutting board and is surrounded by dried tarragon and whole grain mustard in preparation for Tarragon Chicken Salad.

          Start with cooked chicken, preferably leftovers or even a pre-cooked roaster chicken for convenience.  While I’m all for making as much homemade as possible, it’s hard to deny the lure of a plump, juicy roast chicken that’s ready when you need it.  Whatever chicken you use, chop it chunky and avoid over mixing it after adding the other ingredients. Overmixing tends to break down the fibres of the chicken a little too much for my liking, so be gentle.

          Along with the crisp chopped celery, I also like to add a few of the celery leaves for a bit of freshness.  I have left out adding any onions to this chicken salad, however, thinly sliced scallions would be a nice additional touch if desired.

           

          Ingredients for Tarragon Chicken Salad are measured into a glass bowl and ready to be stirred. A basket of buns sits in the background.

          The tarragon is a wonderful flavour to go with chicken and mustard. You’ll find that the longer it sits in the salad the stronger the flavour will be.  It does take a little time for it to meld with everything.  By all means use fresh tarragon if you can, using about 3 times the amount of the dry, so in this case, I’d use a tablespoon of fresh.  The fresh won’t require the same amount of melding time, simply mix and enjoy!!

           

           

          Tarragon Chicken Salad is piled high and topped with lettuce on a golden bun. The bun sits on a stack of plates garnished with cucumber slices.
          Tarragon Chicken Salad
          Print Recipe
            Servings Prep Time
            2 1/3 cups 15-20 minutes
            Passive Time
            15 -120 minutes
            Servings Prep Time
            2 1/3 cups 15-20 minutes
            Passive Time
            15 -120 minutes
            Tarragon Chicken Salad is piled high and topped with lettuce on a golden bun. The bun sits on a stack of plates garnished with cucumber slices.
            Tarragon Chicken Salad
            Print Recipe
              Servings Prep Time
              2 1/3 cups 15-20 minutes
              Passive Time
              15 -120 minutes
              Servings Prep Time
              2 1/3 cups 15-20 minutes
              Passive Time
              15 -120 minutes
              Ingredients
              Servings: cups
              Instructions
              1. Add all ingredients to a medium size bowl starting with 1/3 cup of mayonnaise. Stir gently until combined adjusting creaminess with additional mayonnaise and seasoning to taste with salt and pepper.
              2. Cover and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes and up to several hours to allow flavours to meld.
              Recipe Notes

              -The tarragon flavour will become more pronounced the longer the chicken salad sits.

              -A precooked roaster chicken that has been chilled works wonderfully.

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              Grilled Prosciutto and Asparagus Flatbread

              Grilled Prosciutto and Asparagus Flatbread

              May is National Barbecue Month…

              So fire up your grill for this amazing Grilled Prosciutto and Asparagus Flatbread. There’s so much that can be cooked on the barbeque/grill and today I’m gonna tell you how easy it is to grill bread.

              You would normally think that the dough would stick terribly to the grates, however, as the dough cooks and forms a crust on the bottom it pulls away from the grates making it virtually non stick. There is a fine line between perfectly golden and crispy to overdone, so you want to watch it closely. Depending on your grill and heat setting, the first side takes only 5-6 minutes to form that slightly charred crust.

              Tips for grilling bread

              1. Grill small portions of bread instead of one large piece. This not only allows for more uniform cooking, but it’s also easier to flatten and move smaller portions to the grill.
              2. Don’t try to make the flatbread perfectly shaped, it just won’t happen! The dough shrinks up and morphs into a shape of its own when you pick it up and move it to the grill. It’s okay to be a little rustic!
              3. Make sure your grill is scraped clean to prevent sticking. A small amount of non-stick spray applied before grilling can also help.
              4. Don’t overcrowd the toppings. The dough is almost cooked when you flip it over, therefore too many toppings will require an excessive amount of time to heat through, causing the dough to overcook.
              5. Have all your toppings ready prior to starting.
              6. Don’t be afraid to experiment with your favourite toppings, but if you’re aiming for something smothered in melty cheese this type of flatbread is not for you. Too much cheese will not melt in the time it takes the flatbread to cook.
              7. When camping, make the dough at home ahead of time. After the first rise split dough in half, punch down and seal in two medium freezer bags. Place in fridge or freezer to stop the rising process. Allow to come to room temperature and proceed with recipe.

              Grilling is a huge part of our cooking during the summer months, both at home and when we are out camping and overlanding. You can see more of what we do outdoors at Mark Bouliane – YouTube Eating well and having fun with food is important to us, both at home and when travelling in our jeep. Because the grill is our primary cooking source when adventuring outdoors, dishes like Grilled Prosciutto and Asparagus Flatbread only adds to the fun of it all and makes us feel like we aren’t compromising. It’s great at home or anywhere else you happen to grill. Enjoy!

              Grilled Prosciutto and Asparagus Flatbread cut into wedges on a wooden cutting board.
              Grilled Prosciutto and Asparagus Flatbread
              Print Recipe
                Servings Prep Time
                2 12x8 flatbreads 50 minutes
                Cook Time Passive Time
                10 minutes 70-80 minutes
                Servings Prep Time
                2 12x8 flatbreads 50 minutes
                Cook Time Passive Time
                10 minutes 70-80 minutes
                Grilled Prosciutto and Asparagus Flatbread cut into wedges on a wooden cutting board.
                Grilled Prosciutto and Asparagus Flatbread
                Print Recipe
                  Servings Prep Time
                  2 12x8 flatbreads 50 minutes
                  Cook Time Passive Time
                  10 minutes 70-80 minutes
                  Servings Prep Time
                  2 12x8 flatbreads 50 minutes
                  Cook Time Passive Time
                  10 minutes 70-80 minutes
                  Ingredients
                  Dough
                  Flatbread
                  Servings: 12x8 flatbreads
                  Instructions
                  Dough
                  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, stir together water, honey and yeast. Allow to ferment for 6-8 minutes.
                  2. Stir in 1 1/2 cups of flour, olive oil and salt. Begin kneading, allowing all the flour to be absorbed before adding more. Add additional flour gradually until dough is soft, subtle and no longer sticky to the touch, about 8 minutes. The exact amount of flour will vary.
                  3. Lightly coat a large bowl with olive oil. Shape dough into a ball and place in bowl. Cover and allow to rise in a warm, draft free area until double in size, about 1 hour.
                  Flatbread
                  1. Slice prosciutto into 1/4" strips. Heat a non-stick skillet over medium-high and cook prosciutto until crisp, stirring often. This will take 8-10 minutes. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate.
                  2. Preheat grill to medium.
                  3. Cut the woody 1-2" off the bottom of the asparagus spears. If they are thick spears, shave the bottoms lightly with a vegetable peeler to make them uniform in width. Rub spears lightly with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
                  4. Place asparagus directly on grill against the grain of the grills. Grill for 4-6 minutes until crisp-tender, turning once or twice. Remove from grill and set aside.
                  5. In a small bowl whisk together 1 tbsp olive oil, lemon juice, basil, salt and a few grinds of black pepper. Cut asparagus into 1" pieces and toss with a drizzle of lemon and oil, saving the remainder for finished flatbread.
                  6. Deflate the dough by kneading 3-4 times and divide the dough into two portions. Cover lightly and allow the dough to rest for 10 minutes. This will help relax the dough and make it easier to flatten. Spread and press one portion out to an approximate 13"x8" rectangle on a flat, movable surface like a cutting board or back of a baking tray.
                  7. Peel dough off of surface in one motion if possible and lay on preheated grill. Spread out corners slightly if possible. Close lid and cook for about 5-6 minutes until golden and crisp on the bottom. The time will vary depending on your grill and heat setting. Poke any large air bubbles and flip dough over.
                  8. Immediately scatter on half of the asparagus, prosciutto and crumbled goat cheese. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup of parmesan and close the lid. Allow to cook for 3-4 more minutes to warm toppings and finish cooking the dough. Remove to a cutting board and cut into wedges. Drizzle with remaining olive oil and lemon juice and serve immediately.
                  Recipe Notes

                  -The dough will shrink up some when transferred to the grill, there's no stopping this, don't fight it!  I can usually grab and stretch out a couple corners once it is on the grill, but once it's on I don't mess with it much.

                   

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                  I may receive compensation for purchases made through this site, at no cost to the purchaser. Compelled to Cook is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com