Monica E. Smith

Monica E. Smith

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Smokin' Sausage

We were going to have smoked sausage for supper last night. While I normally love that simple meal with french fries or roasted potatoes and corn, I just wasn't in the mood for it. It is near the end of the month and my cupboards are pretty bare; so I got a sudden creative urge to use whatever I had on hand to dress up that little package of smoked sausage. It's always fun to create, and last night was no exception. Once I started, there was no stopping me! I cleaned out the pantry and harvested some goodies from the garden and voila! Dinner was served. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

Smoked Sausage-Sesame Flat Bread Pizzas
The Flat Bread:
1 pkg dry yeast
1 3/4 cups flour
1 tsp kosher salt
1 or 2 TBS sugar
1 1/2 TBS toasted sesame seeds
1 TBS extra virgin olive oil
drizzle of sesame oil
approx. 3/4 cups warm water
Put yeast into a small bowl. Add 1/4 cup warm water and the sugar, mix together and let sit for about 5 minutes. The yeast will become foamy and double in quantity. 
In a large bowl, mix flour, salt, sesame seeds, olive oil and sesame oil. Add the yeast mixture. Add about 1/2 of the remaining warm water and gently mix with a wooden spoon to form a dough. If the dough seems dry, add the remaining water and mix together gently. The dough should not be wet, but formed together, soft and pliable, even if a bit sticky. 
Pour dough onto a well-floured board and knead about 5 or 10 minutes, until dough becomes smooth and elastic. You may need to keep adding small amounts of flour so the dough does not become too sticky.
Put a small amount of extra virgin olive oil in a bowl, place the dough in the bowl, turning around to coat in the oil. Cover and put in a warm (NOT HOT) place to rise until double in size. It should take about 1/2 hour if you are using quick-rise yeast. You may now form your pizzas, or refrigerate for later use, or freeze for future use (allow frozen dough to thaw in the refrigerator before using).

*If using in this recipe, I would begin with dough and while it is rising, you can move to the sauce. By the time the sauce is finished cooking, you can take it off the heat and let it sit while you prepare the flatbreads.
The Sauce:
1 large sweet onion, sliced
2 TBS extra virgin olive oil
2 large cloves garlic, chopped
1 can good diced tomatoes (you can use plain; I used Hunts with green pepper, celery, onion in this recipe)
pinch or 2 of baking soda
2 TBS tomato paste
1 6-ounce jar sliced mushrooms
1 roasted red bell pepper (if using jarred peppers, about 1/2 jar)
2 TBS Lipton Beefy Onion or Onion Mushroom Soup & Dip Mix, or similar product (I think the beefy onion tastes richer)
Seasonings of your choice: I used Mrs. Dash Tomato, Basil, Garlic and also an Italian seasoning blend (without salt)
 Put 2 TBS extra virgin olive oil into a medium saute / frying pan. Add the sliced onions and cook until caramelized on a medium heat, about 20 minutes, stirring now and then to prevent burning. When onions are caramelized, add the garlic and cook about 1 or 2 minutes. Do not let the garlic brown. Add the can of tomatoes, with a pinch of baking soda (adding the baking soda burns away acid in the tomatoes, preventing the tomatoes from being too sour; but always be careful when adding baking soda, and add only a pinch, as too much will make your sauce completely tasteless!!). The tomatoes will foam a bit, so just stir it up. Add the remaining ingredients and seasonings of your choice; stir together and cook uncovered at a simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
*You may use the sauce immediately for your pizzas, or store in jars in the refrigerator for future use. It should easily last a few weeks. Or, you can freeze it for a longer period of time. The sauce can be used as a cooking sauce for chicken, pork or any type of meat, or a sauce for meatloaf. Use your imagination! Try browning some chicken or boneless pork chops and then cooking in this sauce until the meat is tender, and serve over rice, mashed potatoes or noodles. Heavenly comfort food!
The Pizza:
1-pound smoked sausage, cut in rounds (I use Hillshire Farms--it has a wonderful meaty, not greasy flavor--and no gristle.)
extra virgin olive oil
fresh basil leaves
sliced tomatoes
2 cups shredded mozzarella and provolone cheese (or cheese of your choice)
*Using fresh cheese and grating it yourself makes a world of difference in the flavor of your dish--gives a much creamier, buttery flavor; however, if you only happen to have bagged pre-shredded cheeses, go with it. It will be fine. Since I was "cleaning out the cupboards" and had no fresh cheese on hand, I simply went to the freezer and took out a pre-shredded bag of a mixed Italian cheese blend. I was not disappointed.
Divide the risen dough into 2 or 3 equal parts (depending on how large you want to make the pizzas). Flour a board and roll the individual pizzas into very flat pieces (about 1/8th inch thick). Sprinkle a little olive oil on each piece of dough; spoon on desired amount of sauce and top with basil leaves, tomatoes and shredded cheese. Bake in a pre-heated 425-degree oven about 15 minutes on baking sheets or pizza pans lined with baking parchment, until dough is cooked and crisp and browned on the bottom and cheese is melted.

*Baking parchment is not a must; however, I always use it, as it helps to prevent burning and gives a lovely, evenly-browned crust. A pale, yeasty beer, such as Miller High Life, truly pairs well with this meal, and gives a very pleasing lingering flavor!
Peace All,

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