Cornmeal-Crusted Pizza Topped with Poblano Pesto, Mozzarella, Smoked Chicken, and Corn Recipe

Cornmeal-Crusted Pizza Topped with Poblano Pesto, Mozzarella, Smoked Chicken, and Corn Recipe


Pizza Dough:
1 recipe of cornmeal pizza dough

Poblano Pesto:
1/3 cup pine nuts
6 medium-sized poblano chilies
1 large red bell pepper
1 clove of garlic
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 bunch cilantro, leaves and fine stems only
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Juice of 1 lime

1 large (8 ounce or larger) chicken breast, skin removed
Olive oil for chicken and corn
3 ears of corn, husks removed
12 ounces (about 3 cups grated) or mozzarella, chilled before grating
1/2 cup cilantro leaves


Preheat oven to 350°F.

Pine Nuts: Put the pine nuts on a baking sheet and lightly toast them in the oven, about 8-10 minutes. Let cool. Turn oven to 500ºF.

Peppers: Cut the poblano chilies in half. Remove the stem and seeds. Lay on a sheet pan with skin side up. Broil in the oven until the skin is charred and inflated. Meanwhile, roast the red pepper directly over a flame until blackened. Put both types of peppers into a paper bag for 5 minutes then peel off the charred skin and remove seeds and stem. Finely chop the red peppers and set aside. (If you are using an outdoor grill, put the poblano chilies on the upper rack while the red bell peppers can go on the grill directly over the flame.)

Pesto: In a food processor, pulse together the pine nuts, poblano chiles, garlic, olive oil, cilantro, salt and lime juice into a rough paste. Transfer the pesto to a bowl and stir in the diced red peppers.

Smoke the Chicken: Cut the chicken into long thin strips 1/2-inch thick. Brush the chicken strips generously with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Sprinkle the bottom of a stovetop smoker with 1 1/2 teaspoons of smoking chips. Cover with the drip plate with aluminum foil. Place the chicken on the rack of the smoker and cover with the top of the smoker. Place the smoker over medium-high heat and start timing when you see the first wisp of smoke coming out of the corners of the smoker. Time 3 minutes on the heat. Remove the smoker from the heat and allow to stand 10-15 minutes before you open the top. Remove the chicken from the smoker, cut the chicken into 1/2-inch pieces. If the chicken seems dry, drizzle with a little olive oil and toss to coat.

Grill the Corn: Brush the corn with a corn brush to remove silks. Brush with olive oil and season with salt. Roast the corn directly over a flame until it begins to turn golden. Rotate every 30 seconds. Transfer to a cooling rack to cool. Cut the corn away from the husk. If the corn seems dry, drizzle with a little olive oil and toss to coat. Season with 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Set the corn aside.

Grate the cheese in a food processor or by hand with a grater. Pick the leaves from the cilantro and set aside.

Assembly: Once the dough has doubled in bulk, remove the dough from the bowl and cut in half with out working it. Do not work the dough, as it will make if too elastic when you try to roll it out. Instead, generously dust the dough with flour and begin to roll out. If the dough is too elastic, let it rest, covered for 15 minutes then try rolling again. Do this until the dough is rolled to your desired thickness.

Transfer the dough to a pizza peel that has been dusted with polenta. Brush the dough with a little olive oil. Form a rim around the edge of the dough and spread with the poblano pesto. Top with some cheese, then chicken, corn and more cheese. Transfer to the pizza stone and bake until golden, about 15-25 minutes. Garnish with cilantro sprigs and serve immediately.

Note: If cooking on an outdoor grill, heat up the grill on medium then turn the grill down to low. Brush the grill with olive oil. Also brush the top of the pizza dough. Turn the dough over onto a pizza peel dusted generously with polenta or semolina and then slide onto the grill. Brush the top side of the pizza with oil and add toppings. Close the grill cover. After a few minutes or when the bottom has started to firm up and crisp, turn off the grill (or move the pizza to a part of the grill that is off), close the cover and let the pizza cook in the ambient heat until the dough is cooked and the cheese is melted.

Recipe created by Parties That Cook®


Makes 2 pizzas to serve 10-12 people