My definition of good living has certainly evolved over time, but these days it often involves food. Food so good that you get excited just thinking about it (like these pop tarts). Food so good want to share it with your friends and family. If only it would last that long ;)
The idea for this pizza came together a bit serendipitously at work one day, but it immediately went on the meal plan for the weekend. I may or may not have immediately shared my plans with one or two co-workers. Too bad they had never had Afghani food and did not share in my excitement!
I thought back to the first time I tried Afghani food, with my friends Adeeb and Christina, at Helmand in Baltimore. It was then that I fell for kaddo, a baked sweet pumpkin served on a yogurt mint sauce and topped with a meat sauce. This would be the basis of my pizza.
I made some of my usual choices to keep things on the healthy side (whole wheat crust, greek yogurt, reduced sugar and good quality beef) but not at any sacrifice of flavor. Oh the flavor... the sweet caramelized pumpkin, spiced beef and cooling mint yogurt. Not your traditional pizza, but delicious and one worth sharing!
inspired by Helmand, loosely adapted from Tiny Urban Kitchen
Yield: 2 10-12" pizzas
1lb whole wheat dough (if you like thick crusts, you'll need closer to 2lb of dough)
For the pumpkin:
1 sugar pumpkin
3T coconut oil, melted
1c evaporated cane juice (or granulated sugar)
For the sauce:
2c greek yogurt (like 2%)
2 garlic cloves, minced
2t dried mint
For the meat mixture:
2T extra virgin olive oil
1 lg onion, diced
1lb grass-fed beef
1 medium tomato, seeded and diced
2 lg garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2t ground coriander
scant 1/2t sea salt
1t freshly ground pepper
1/2t ground tumeric
2T tomato paste
Preheat the oven to 300deg. Halve and de-seed the pumpkin (I use a spoon to scrape out the seeds). Peel (or cut off the skin of) the pumpkin and cut into wedges. Place the pumpkin in a large baking pan or rimmed baking sheet. Top with oil and sugar, then cover with foil. Bake for 2.5hrs, then baste the pumpkin pieces with the accumulated juices. Cover and return to the oven for another 45min or so. Once pumpkin is nice and caramelized (deep orange in color), remove from the oven and set aside to cool. [You can save the pumpkin sugar syrup here and use it for your morning oatmeal or latte!]
While the pumpkin is roasting, prepare the sauce and meat mixture. For the sauce, combine all ingredients and mix well. Cover and refrigerate until it's time to make the pizza.
For the meat sauce, begin by heating the oil in a large heavy bottomed skilled over medium high heat. Add onions and saute until they're golden brown (5-10min). Add the beef and continue to saute until the meat is no longer pink, breaking up the meat with a spatula or spoon to avoid large clumps. Once the meat is browned, add the tomato, garlic and spices, then stir to combine. Add in the tomato paste and mix well. Add water, bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cook until the liquid has evaporated, then set aside.
Once the pumpkin is out of the oven, turn to 400deg. Preheat your pizza stone, if you're using one. Dice the cooked, cooled pumpkin. Roll out half of the dough on a surface dusted with a little cornmeal to your desired thickness (I went thin). When it's the size of your pizza stone (or cookie sheet), remove the preheated stone from the oven, top with yogurt mint sauce, half the beef mixture, and then the roasted pumpkin. Bake for 10-12min, until crispy. Repeat with remaining ingredients.
Serve, with leftover yogurt mint sauce for dipping :)
I couldn't help but smile when eating this pizza, the memories of good friends, my first experience of Afghani food, and the creation of a new recipe. Good living, indeed.
As part of the Foodbuzz Featured Publisher program, I have been entered for the chance to win a trip to Greece courtesy of FAGE. You too can enter to win one of three trips to Greece by entering the FAGE Plain Extraordinary Greek Getaway here: http://www.fageusa.com/community/fage-greek-getaway.