Last week Hardknott ran an #OpenTheRhetoric event on twitter where the idea was those with a bottle of their latest beer would open it then discuss it via twitter.
I was lucky enough to have a bottle so decided to try and pair it with some food and make a proper event of it.
I decided on Smoked Chilli and Fennel Pizza, hoping that the fennel would pair with the Star Anise in the beer and the smoked chilli would just calm the sweetness down and add a nice bit of heat, you can find the a bit more info about the pizza on my chilli blog here but the basic recipe is below.
As for the beer…………….. I loved it, it poured a lot lighter than I expected, a lovely glowing chestnut colour, on the nose there was lots of clove and liquorice with a hint of booze.
Flavour wise I mainly got a huge hit of liquorice followed by a little bit of sweetness then some clove and maybe a little bit of orange, on it’s own it was a truly delicious beer, although I’m not sure I could have drank more than a bottle of it, it’s certainly a beer I would re visit quite happily.
After the initial liquorice hit I wasn’t sure if the flavours in the pizza would be able to cope but I needn’t have worried, the smoke and the heat from the sauce with just the smallest hint of fennel took the edge off the liquorice….the saltiness of the meat also made an interesting combo too just knocking the sweetness back and turning the beer into a bit of a quaffer.
If you want to try it you can get some from the Hardknott Web shop
And now for the recipe:
For the Base
- 175g strong plain white flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp pepper
- 1 tsp fast action yeast
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 tsp sugar
- Quick cook polenta.
- 120ml warm water.
For the tomato sauce
- 1 clove of garlic
- 1 300g carton pasata
- 8 basil leaves.
- 1 Dried smoked chilli, rehydrated and chopped.
- Pinch of oregano
- 1 tbsp Tomato Puree
- 1 tsp Smoked Paprika
- Pinch of Brown Sugar
- 2 tsp Fennel Seeds, lightly crushed.
- Olive oil
You can leave out the chilli if you would like or add some smoked paprika for a little extra twist.
For the topping
- Mozerella and Cheddar, grated
- Olive oil
- Hot Peperoni, thinly sliced
- Picante chorizo, thinly sliced
- Salami, thinly sliced.
- 3 mushrooms, thinly sliced
- Pinch of Fennel Seeds
- Black Pepper
For the Pizzza
- Mix the yeast, water and sugar in a jug and set aside somewhere warm until a crust/scum forms on the top.
- Place the flour in a large bowl with the salt and pepper
- Add the water and the olive oil and a pinch of salt, mix with a wooden spoon
- Once it forms a dough, kneed for 5-10 minutes or until the dough is stretchy, elastic and has a nice sheen to it.
- Cover the bowl and put somewhere warm for an hour or so until the dough has doubled in size.
- Remove the dough and knock out the air from it. At this point you can wrap in cling film and put in the fridge until required.
For the Smoked Chilli and Fennel Sauce
- Heat a heavy based frying pan and add a glug of olive oil, Add the garlic and a squeeze of tomato puree
- As soon as the garlic starts to colour add the pasata , followed by the Smoked chilli,sugar, basil, oregano,fennel and paprika
- Bring to the boil, stirring continuously. Cook for about 5 mins
- Tip the sauce through a sieve, squishing all of the big lumps out.
- Discard the basil and any lumps of garlic that are in the sieve.
- Put the sauce back into the pan and simmer for 5-10mins until its nice and thick. Season with salt and black pepper.
- Set aside until needed, if you put it in a sterilised jar it will keep in the fridge for a week or two.
To make your pizza
When you are ready to cook your pizza:
- Tip the polenta onto your worktop, form the dough into a ball then roll out into a nice big circle. You can make it as thick or as thin as you like but I love mine nice and thin, once the base is rolled you can also sprinkle a little polenta round the edge to help form an extra crunchy crust.
- Place your tray or pizza stone in the oven and turn your oven up to 230 Degrees C.
- When the oven has been at temperature for 15mins carefully remove your stone/tray and sprinkle with a little flour or semolina and then place your base on top, it will start to bubble and rise which adds a great texture to your pizza.
- Spread with a few spoonfulls of your sauce then cover with cheese, add your mushrooms, meats and spinach.
- Sprinkle with oregano and fennel along with a little salt and pepper, drizzle with olive oil and the sprinkle some parmesan over the top
- Place back in the oven for 10-15mins until your pizza is crispy, golden and bubbling.