The Seasoned Franciscan - Cooking Joyfully

Roasted Garlic White Chicken Pizza

By by Vicki Lopez-Kaley on Monday, July 8th 2024

1 pound pizza dough
1 T butter
8 -12 cloves roasted garlic, minced
2 T all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 C skim milk plus 1/4 C half and half  
OR ¾ C whole milk
1/4 C parmesan cheese
1 1/2 C shredded cooked chicken
1/4 C onion, diced
3/4 C mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 tsp fresh thyme, chopped
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 T fresh parsley, chopped

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Prepare a baking sheet cooking spray and sprinkle with cornmeal.
Melt butter in a small saucepan. Saute roasted garlic for 1 minute.
Add flour and mix until well blended. Cook for 1 minute.
Slowly whisk in the milk and half and half.  Mix in the pepper.
Cook for about 3 minutes, or until it starts to thicken. Remove from heat and stir in parmesan cheese.
Spread pizza dough into roughly a 12 inch circle on prepared baking sheet. Spread white sauce over the dough. Top with chicken, onions and cheese.
Bake for 17 minutes, or until the crust is golden, and the cheese is melted.
Remove from the oven, sprinkle with herbs. Cut and serve immediately

To roast Garlic: 
Start with whole heads of garlic.  (If you don't have a whole head on hand or are starting with peeled cloves, you can roast peeled individual garlic cloves wrapped in foil.)  The cloves should feel firm and the bulbs should be tightly closed with no brown spots.  Peel away a few of the papery outer layers while keeping the bulb intact. Slice about 1/2 inch off the top, just enough to expose the cloves.
Place the garlic cut-side up on a piece of aluminum foil. Drizzle with olive oil and a sprinkle of salt.  (If roasted several heads, put them in a muffin tin covered in foil.)
Fold the foil over the garlic and seal the edges tightly to make a packet.
Place the packet on a baking sheet and roast at 400 degrees F for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Remove the packet from the oven and let rest until cool enough to handle. The roasted garlic should be golden and caramelized, with tender cloves that have pulled away from the peel.  Once cool, the cloves will easily squeeze out. 

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Garlic season has more than a culinary value in our family.  Planting it in early October with my grandfather’s instructions is a fall ritual with a tribute to Indigenous People's Day, formerly Columbus Day.  Roasted Garlic Chicken Pizza (photographed above by Ellen of Family Around the Table) is one of the first recipes we enjoy after the harvest.  The mild, creamy roasted garlic sauce makes it!  Also try spreading roasted cloves of garlic on bread; add them when mashing potatoes or to flavor pasta sauce.  Lightly warm roasted garlic in olive oil in a skillet on low heat and use oil in your favorite recipe, such as salad dressing.  More ideas to enjoy garlic can be found on the Food Network site.

To Grow, Harvest and Process Garlic:  Garlic is a fun crop for beginner gardeners and kids!  Buy large, healthy organic heads and prepare them and your garden bed in early October.  Organic garlic is not treated, so it WILL sprout when left in its natural state.  Loosen up your soil at least 6” deep and add some compost or any fertile potting or topsoil.  Carefully separate each of the biggest firm cloves, leaving the papery skin intact.  Big cloves grow into bigger heads.  Plant each one about 4” deep with the root end down in rows about 6” apart.

Each clove or “toe” will become a garlic head.  Even when, inevitably, the snow covers the tiny green shoots, and ground freezes a bit, garlic will survive the winter and sprout up again in spring.  This year, the leaves and scapes or seed heads came early.  These are long shoots that rise up from the center of each plant sometime in June and gracefully curve over and around to almost show off the developing white seed head.  This is a sign to cut or break off the scape which allows more energy to remain for the growth of your bulb or head.  When the leaves turn yellow and brown, you can check carefully with a spade, to see if your garlic looks mature, firm and large enough to enjoy.  As much as possible, avoid cutting into or bruising your tender garlic head.  

After harvest remove as much dirt as you can.  Cut off most of the roots and the larger leaves.  Tie a few heads (up to 12) together and hang in a cool, and drafty shed or basement.  I have put ours in a large bowl or pail in the basement for a few weeks to “cure”, which continues the drying process.  Remove the rest of the neck and leaves as you like and store in a cool, dark place.

To make your harvest last, process your garlic cloves by roasting as described above.  Or peel the cloves and finely chop them with a knife or food processor.  Add a bit of olive oil, with lemon juice or powdered citric acid to preserve the color. Keep in a small jar in the fridge.  To make it last as long as possible, freeze in tablespoon “dots” on a lined cookie sheet and store the frozen portions in a freezer bag.

Garlic not only seasons food, it promotes heart health by helping to recuce cholesterol and lower blood pressure.  To activate the health-benefitting enzyme called allinase, chop, crush or slice fresh garlic and wait at least 10 minutes before adding the garlic to a hot pan or pot.  Garlic may also help fight in flammation, strengthen immunity and reduce cancer risk, according to Gurney Seeds, who also sell garlic varieties for planting.



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