We love Rockwood Filling Station deeply and the idea of their chicken liver pizza even more. But I’ve never been entirely satisfied with their version, in which whole fried chicken livers are scattered over the top of the pizza in a grand clash of North Carolina-meets-Italy. The fried livers are too big to munch in a respectable bite of pizza, and there are too few of them to imbue the entire pie with their rich livery goodness.
Last weekend I solved the problem. I chopped up the livers and sauteed them in carmelized onions and spices before adding them to the top of the pizza. I won’t say that you’ll like this even if you don’t like chicken liver, because people who don’t like chicken liver never like chicken liver no matter how it’s served. But I will say that this tastes a lot like sausage, and that everyone needs to learn to like liver a lot more.
I have included a crust and sauce recipe if you need one.
Pizza with Spicy Chicken Liver and Carmelized Onions
Crust (from Cook’s Illustrated: The Best Recipe, p. 333)
I like to keep homemade pizza crust in the freezer, then put it into the refrigerator to thaw a day or two ahead. In this case, “a day or two” turned into a week, and the crust was gluey on one side and stiff on the other by the time I went to bake it. Still Fred declared it the best pizza crust he’s ever had, and even I have to admit it was quite good–thin and crispy, without a hint of sogginess.
1/2 c. warm water, at about 105 degrees
1 envelope (2 1/4 tsp.) active dry yeast
1 1/4 c. water, at room temperature
2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
4 c. bread flour, plus extra for dusting hands and work surfaces
1 1/2 tsp. salt
Vegetable oil or spray for oiling bowl
Measure warm water into 2 c. measuring cup. Sprinkle in yeast; let stand until yeast dissolves and swells, about 5 minutes. Add room-temperature water and oil; stir to combine.
Pulse flour and salt in workbowl of large food processor fitted with steel blade to combine. Continue pulsing while pouring liquid ingredients (holding back a few tablespoons) through feed tube. If dough does not readily form into a ball, add remaining liquid and continue to pulse until ball forms. Process until dough is smooth and elastic, about 30 seconds longer.
Dough will be a bit tacky, so use rubber spatula to turn dough onto lightly floured work surface; knead by hand with a few strokes to form smooth, round ball. Put dough into deep oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise until doubled in size, about 2 hours. Punch dough down with your fist and turn out onto lightly floured work surface.
Roll out dough to about half desired size. Let rest while preparing other ingredients. Continue to roll out and let rest until dough is desired size. Roll edges in to form edging. Brush with olive oil just before adding toppings.
1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
2 tbsp. olive oil
2 large garlic cloves, minced
Salt and pepper
Mix together in large bowl. Extra will keep for several days in refrigerator and can also be used as a base for pasta sauce.
Chicken Liver Pizza Topping
1 large onion, halved and thinly sliced
2 tbsp. olive oil
2 tsp. thyme
2 tsp. red pepper flakes
Coarse kosher salt to taste
3/4 to 1 lb. chicken livers, drained and chopped
1/2 cup grated sharp white cheddar cheese
Saute onions in olive oil over medium high heat until carmelized, about 10 minutes. Add remaining ingredients except cheese. Continue to cook, stirring frequently, until liquid has evaporated, about 10 – 15 minutes. Reduce heat about halfway through cooking time to prevent burning.
Place oven rack on bottom level and slide in pizza stone. Preheat oven to 550 or hottest temperature possible. Place rolled out dough onto pizza peel sprinkled with cornmeal. (I use a cookie sheet without edges.) Spread tomato sauce over crust, leaving about 1/4 inch around edges to prevent spillage. Spoon chicken liver mix evenly over crust. Remove pizza stone from oven and slide pizza onto stone. (Imagine you are trying to pull a tablecloth out from under a fully loaded table without moving anything and you might avoid disaster.) Return to bottom rack of oven and bake for 6 – 12 minutes, until edges of crust begin to brown. Add cheese to pizza and cook for 2 – 3 minutes longer, until cheese has just melted. Transfer to cutting board. Slice and serve.