In case it’s not already on your calendar, October is National Pizza Month! As a kid, this was never an occasion I would have celebrated. I was a painfully picky eater, and pizza was totally out of the question. Luckily my parents, who enjoyed pizza, found a way to make our Friday night dinners at Foodie’s work out for all of us. They would order a Hawaiian, and I would happily eat a pile of ham and pineapple while they ate a picked-over cheese pizza.
I’ve since come to love pizza, although I’ll be the first to admit I’m a pizza snob. I decided to go all out in celebration of National Pizza Month this year, with a grown-up take on our old family tradition. The flavors worked really well together, and this will definitely be added to the ‘make again’ pile!
“Grown Up” Hawaiian Pizza: Maple-Bourbon Braised Pork Belly with Pineapple and Caramelized Onion
For the Pork Belly:
You may have noticed that pork belly has become increasingly popular as of late on the menus at nice restaurants across D.C. It’s actually a rather inexpensive, fatty cut of meat. While not carried at all grocery stores, Whole Foods widely carries it in the D.C. Metro area.
- 1 lb pork belly
- 2 tbsp salt
- 2 tbsp sugar
- ½ cup bourbon
- 1 can pineapple chunks
- 1 cup broth (vegetable, chicken or beef will do)
- 2 tbsp maple syrup
- Sprinkle pork belly all over with salt and sugar. Wrap and refrigerate for at least 12 hours.
- Prior to cooking, rinse under cold water to remove the excess salt and sugar and pat dry.
- Place the pork belly in a slow cooker. Pour in bourbon, broth, syrup and can of pineapple, with juice. Mix liquids around. Set your slow cooker on low and let cook for 6-8 hours.
- Remove the pork belly and cut off the excess fat. Parts of the meat itself are quite fatty; you can use those, but I recommend removing the portions that are pure fat. Cut pork belly into chunks. Strain pineapple from liquid and set aside.
For the Pizza Crust:
I used this Spent Beer Grain Crust. Assuming most folks don’t have spent grains on hand, I am including the recipe for a lovely honey wheat crust.
- 1 package active dry yeast
- 1 cup warm water
- 2 cups whole wheat flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp honey
- Preheat oven to 350 F. In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water; let stand until creamy and starting to bubble, about 10 minutes.
- In a large bowl combine flour and salt. Make a well in the middle and add honey and yeast mixture. Kneed well to combine. Cover and set in a warm place to rise for 30 minutes to one hour.
- Roll dough on a floured pizza pan and bake for about 10 minutes. Remove from oven and add toppings.
- ½ Yellow onion, sliced
- 2-3 tbsp olive oil
- Tomato sauce of choice
- Shredded mozzarella
- Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium-low heat. Add onion and cook until caramelized, stirring regularly.
- Top crust with tomato sauce and mozzarella. Arrange chunks of pork belly, pineapple, and caramelized onion on top.
- Bake for another 5-10 minutes until cheese begins to bubble.
Want to celebrate National Pizza Month but not up for make-your-own pizza night? Check out these great slices from around the District:
2 Amy’s Margherita Extra Pizze D.O.C: Tomato, mozzarella di bufala, and cherry tomatoes
3715 Macomb St. NW
Mellow Mushroom The Caesar! Topped with three cheeses, pesto chicken, and a Caesar salad
2436 18th St. NW
H &Pizza Farmer’s Daughter with spicy tomato, homemade mozzarella, hot sausage, farm eggs, spinach, parmesan reggiano and red pepper chili oil
1118 H St. NE
Matchbox Copa Italian Ham & Arugula with peso, ricotta and roma tomatoes
521 8th St. SE
We are just wondering DC Ladies, where is your favorite pizza from?