Perfect Winter Pizza

You can throw any combination of things on a pizza and it can be perfect. That is my favorite thing about homemade pizza. You can literally toss any leftover scraps on top of a pizza and it can blow your mind if you get the flavor combination right. This pizza is one of those prime examples.

This concoction was thrown together one night, after a Sunday full of football, with a half jar of pickled hot peppers I needed to use up, a little black raspberry jam, some feta that was on the end of its life (and because I hate overly greasy, overly cheesy pizzas–feta is so much lighter and fresher), and a can of black beans because I like to “health” things up in winter by adding beans. Boy oh boy, did we hit it out of the park and get the flavor just right.

Inspired by our deep freezer full of ground venison, I wanted some bright berry flavors in the middle of winter. Game meats and berries are one of my ultimate favorite cooking combinations. I looked to our fridge where I of course found no berries, but did find black raspberry jam. I decided if I couldn’t have fresh berries, I could certainly add jam to the sauce of my pizza.

The jam was locally made, as was the feta. The venison was hunted by Kyle a month ago and the peppers were pickled by us in the summer. This too was just what I needed.

I get sad sometimes cooking in winter. We try to stay local, but it gets so hard! We miss vegetables. We miss bright flavors. We miss the incredible abundance and variety of produce always pouring out of our fridge. Most of all, we miss growing, raising or hunting the food for our meals. Buying food when you know how expertly you can grow it just feels like a waste of money. Reason number three why this meal was just what the doctor ordered.

Feel free to leave things out, change or add things. Ground beef would be just as good as venison. You could also leave off the meat and add a few more beans and feta for a vegetarian pizza. You could add onions or fresh bell peppers if you have them. I think sweet potatoes would also be a beautiful addition. Try not to change the sauce though. It’s crazy and complex and different, and you will love it!

Perfect Winter Pizza

Takes 30 minutes, an hour more if you make the dough from scratch
Makes 1 large round pizza (easily enough for 4-6 for dinner)

½ pound ground venison
1 teaspoon dried cilantro
¼ teaspoon cumin
¼ teaspoon chili powder
1 can black beans, rinsed
½-1 cup pickled peppers, use as much or as little as you like based on how hot your peppers are and how hot you like your pizza
4 ounces feta cheese
4 ounces melty cheese like mozzarella or brick, optional
3 ounces cream cheese
¼ cup blackberry or black raspberry jam
1/3 cup BBQ sauce (preferably spicy)
Pinch of Kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper, cumin and chili powder

Pizza crust, use my favorite recipe for a crust or any other recipe you like, or use a pre-made grocery store dough if you are in a rush
2 tablespoons olive oil, for brushing dough

Brown vension in a medium-to-large saucepan over medium heat until cooked through, about five minutes. Add cilantro, cumin, and chili powder. Also add Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
Mix together sauce by warming cream cheese in a medium glass bowl in the microwave for thirty seconds. Stir until smooth. Add jam and BBQ sauce along with a pinch of each spice. Stir to combine and add more BBQ sauce or jam to your liking. If you have an especially sweet BBQ sauce, you will probably need to add a little more than a 1/3 cup.
Preheat the oven to 500 degrees. Lightly oil a pizza pan or cookie sheet. Roll out the pizza dough so it fits your pan. Spread the sauce over the pizza, leaving a ½-inch margin on all sides. Spread toppings over sauced pizza. I began with venison, then beans, then peppers and finally feta. Add the melty cheese last if you chose to use it. Brush unsauced edges of crust with olive oil.
Cook pizza in the oven for 12 minutes. Eat immediately. It makes great leftovers too, but really, who is going to have leftovers with a pizza this good ;)

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  1. Posted 03.04.2015 at 4:05 am | Permalink

    Thank you for this. I am going to try and make this weekend!

    • Posted 03.04.2015 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

      We are all about the crazy pizzas! In the summer it’s such a great vehicle for all of our veggies! Tell me what you think of it after you make it!!
      P.S. I started a new food blog for the farm that will no doubt have recipes you might love.

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