Transport yourself to the sunny shores of the Mediterranean with the flavours of this savoury, spicy chicken pizza. Get your tongue dancing with zesty chicken, sun-dried tomatoes, tangy marinated artichokes, and creamy cheese. It's pizza day any day! (Skip to recipe.)
Who doesn't love pizza?
I can't remember when I first tasted pizza - probably during junior high school. It certainly wasn't a food my mom cooked at home during my childhood years. In our German household we ate beautiful homemade noodles and dumplings, savoury meats, sausages, and cabbage dishes. We had delicious salads and all kinds of flavourful vegetable side dishes. Wonderful homemade breads and baking. But pizza and pasta - not at all. At least, not as I serve them now.
Our growing-up version of pasta was buttery homemade egg noodles served with my oma's tender and juicy baked chicken, or springy dumpling strips called knipfle, served with gravy or fried onions. Riebel Suppe was a soup of milk cooked with chewy little blobs of noodle dough, to which we added butter and honey. Sometimes my mom bought those family-sized boxes of spaghetti or macaroni, but they were always used in casseroles or soups. If we did have spaghetti, it was due to begging from us children, and the pasta would be well-cooked, then coated in tomato sauce and served as a side dish to whatever meats and vegetables my mom was serving - never as a course by itself.
And pizza - that was a foreign food, for sure. By the time I was in high school, we'd started making a recipe from a neighbour for pizza that had a biscuit crust and was topped with tomato sauce, sliced wieners, and shredded orange cheddar cheese - not exactly the pizza of my food cravings today. But once I got my driver's license (yay! freedom! adventure!) my friends and I were able to drive to Grande Prairie, a 45 minute trip from our farm, and head to an actual pizza joint for the real thing! Now that was living! We felt so worldly and sophisticated. That pizza! Savoury and tomatoey and oozing cheese. It was delicious.
Fast forward to today, and I've eaten many, many a pizza - even the most amazing pizzas right at the source in Italy. It's the one food that always results in cheers from the family when they learn that's what I'm cooking for supper. This Spicy Mediterranean Chicken Pizza elicits the loudest cheers yet. Each time I make it I have one very happy husband wolfing down his pizza with a huge grin on his face (and jealously guarding any extra slices for his lunch the next day).
Each bite is an explosion of flavours: the intense pop of sun-dried tomatoes with the savoury crumbles of chicken, the juicy tang of marinated artichoke hearts, and the toothsome crispness of sweet red pepper slices, all dancing together with a bubbling layer of cheese.
Yes, this one's a keeper in our house
I make sure I have the ingredients for this pizza on hand at all times.
I freeze ground chicken in ½ lb portions. Sometimes I cook up a double or quadruple batch of the chicken mixture and divide it into sandwich bags, then freeze it - that way I can pop out a bag and crumble the frozen cooked chicken filling right onto the pizza for when the craving strikes. I've always got a huge jar of those amazing marinated artichokes in my fridge (the 1.8 liter jar from Superstore is very reasonably priced) and a large jar of marinated sun-dried tomatoes with herbs (from Costco) so I can whip up a batch of my Mediterranean Fried Rice or Tuna and Cannellini Bean Salad, toss a few into green salads or pasta salads, add them to charcuterie boards or appetizer trays, layer them on sandwiches, or use them for this delicious Mediterranean Chicken Pizza.
Any day is pizza day now.
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Kitchen Frau Notes: You can make this pizza with pre-baked or partially baked prepared pizza shells (I use two individual Udi's gluten free pre-baked shells) or use your own fresh pizza dough. In that case, go by the temperature and baking time dictated by your recipe. You can also use the gluten free crust from my Pear, Pine Nut & Artichoke Pizza recipe.
You can use any leftover jarred or homemade tomato-based pasta sauce as a pizza sauce.
I love Havarti cheese on pizza - I think it has more flavour than mozzarella and although not as 'stretchy' as mozzarella, it melts beautifully. But feel free to use mozzarella in this recipe, or any other cheese you like on pizza.
Spicy Mediterranean Chicken Pizza
- 2 tablespoons oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 teaspoon oil from sun-dried tomatoes
- ½ lb (8oz/225gms) lean ground chicken
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 large pizza shell (12-13"/30-33cm) or 2 individual pizza shells (8-9"/20-23cm)
- ½ cup pizza sauce or tomato-based spaghetti sauce
- ½ cup marinated artichoke heart quarters, drained (about 8)
- ½ of a red bell pepper
- 2 cups (240gms) shredded, lightly-packed Havarti cheese (or your favourite pizza cheese)
- fresh oregano leaves for garnish, optional
Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C) if using a pre-baked or partially baked pizza shell. If using an unbaked pizza crust, set the oven at the recommended temperature for your recipe.
Chop the sun-dried tomatoes and mince the garlic. Add them to a skillet with the ground chicken, oil, salt, paprika, oregano, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Sauté over medium heat, breaking up the chicken into smaller chunks as it cooks, until the meat is no longer pink. Remove the skillet from the heat.
Spread the sauce over the pizza shell (dividing it if using 2 shells) with the back of a spoon, all the way to the edges of the dough.
Spoon the cooked chicken mixture onto the pizza, spreading it out evenly.
Slice each artichoke quarter in half lengthwise, to make two thinner wedges. Arrange the artichoke wedges over the tomato sauce.
Cut the red bell pepper half in half again lengthwise and cut each section into thin crosswise slices. Arrange these between the artichoke slices. Top with the shredded cheese.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the cheese is bubbling.
Let cool 5 minutes. Top with torn fresh oregano leaves, if desired, and cut the pizza into slices to serve. Pass extra crushed red pepper flakes for anyone who'd like a spicier pizza to sprinkle on top of their slices.
Makes one large or two individual pizzas.
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