Bringing Chicago Home

chicago pizza cupLast weekend in Chicago, I was having authentic Chicago pizza for the first time ever (where have I been the past 24 years!).  I was gearing up for my run and taking in the city.  Before I go any further, I have to say, I LOVE Chicago.  Hands down.  LOVE IT.  The weather was amazing.  The food delicious.  The sights beautiful.  The  public transportation efficient.

As I am writing this, I am thinking about my early mornings in Chicago… a brisk walk and light jog around Grant Park, looking out at Lake Michigan as the sun rises and drinking an iced coffee.  Thinking the whole time… is this real life?  Do people really get to do this everyday?  How cool it is that I get to do this now?  The song, “I Left My Heart in San Francisco” should be renamed “I Left My Heart in Chicago.”  I fell in love with the city last weekend. (Note: I am not a snow bunny and probably could NEVER handle the winters there!)

Enough with my trip.  I owe you an update later BUT that’s not what this post is about!  This post is about PIZZA.  Chicago Pizza!  I can’t stop thinking about the deliciousness of Lou Malnati’s and Giordano’s pizza.  I did a ton of research and came up with a great recipe for Chicago Pizza Mini Pies!  Seriously yummy.  Seriously Chicago.  Seriously cupcake-like! 🙂

chicago dough mixThe CRUST:  Chicago Pizza wouldn’t be Chicago if the crust isn’t crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside and super thick.  Here’s what I used:

  • 3 tsp active dry yeast
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 1/2 cup warm water
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup corn oil
  • 2 tsp kosher salt

Dissolve yeast and sugar into the warm water and let stand for 10 minutes.  In a bread maker, combine yeast mixture and remaining ingredients.  Turn on dough setting and let run for 10 minutes.  (I read one of the keys to Chicago pizza is less kneading so 10 minutes was the time it took to fully combine ingredients)  Put dough into a large buttered bowl and cover with plastic wrap and a towel.  Let rise for 6 hours. (Some people used less time.  Mine turned out great with 6 hours.)

chicago sauceThe SAUCE: Chicago Pizza wouldn’t be Chicago if the sauce wasn’t super think, tomato-e and delicious.  Here’s what I used:

  • 2 – 28 oz cans while peeled tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 tsp oregano
  • 3 tsp basil
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 clove garlic, minced

Drain tomatoes of all liquids and then crush to release the juices in the tomatoes.  Combine remaining ingredients with tomatoes. (Easy- right!?)

chicago pizza stepsThe MINI PIES: Spray jumbo cupcake tins with cooking spray,  sprinkle with cornmeal.  (The cornmeal thing seems to be up for debate in the Chicago style pizza discussions.  I tasted cornmeal, or something crunchy in the Chicago crust, so I decided to incorporate this into the crust in a small way – this was a good decision!) 🙂

Put a thick (just under 1 cm) layer of crust in the bottom.  Press against the sides to from the cups.  Add a layer of mozzarella cheese.  Put your toppings of choice on next.  I went with pepperoni only.  Top with a thick layer of sauce!

Bake at 450 degrees for 30 minutes.

chicago pies cooked

So the big question… does this taste like the real deal?  YES!!!  It really does!!  The cupcake addition is my little twist but I’d say this recipe is a success! So when I can’t go to Chicago, I can bring a little Chicago home with this yummy Chicago Pizza Mini Pies!! 

chicago pie single

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5 thoughts on “Bringing Chicago Home

  1. Those look delishious! You’ll have to make those next time I am up there. Isnt Chicago a great city!?! Jax or really anywhere in Florida doesn’t even come close!

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