Once your kitchen is stocked with Mexican cooking ingredients they’ll spread out and influence just about everything you make. In a good way!
This Spicy Chicken and Pickled Jalapeno Pizza is my kitchen’s best example of that phenomenon. I’ve made it at least 10 times over the past few months and I now prefer this style to traditional sauce-based pizzas.
It’s also surprising how easy it can be to make pizza at home even if you don’t have all the traditional pizza gear. This recipe is proof of that.
Spicy Chicken and Pickled Jalapeno Pizza Recipe and Instructions
If I had to choose one word why this recipe works so well I would choose…
Second place would go to… jalapenos.
We are using a batch of our homemade Pickled Jalapenos but store bought will work in this recipe too.
It’s tough to say exactly why pickled jalapenos work so well on pizza, but trust me they do. If you’ve never tried ’em on pizza before then push it towards the top of your to-do list.
I’m using a simple pizza dough recipe from the kitchn but with slightly less salt. You can start by adding 1 teaspoon of yeast to 3/4 cup of warm water.
Give a stir until the yeast has dissolved and then add 2 cups all-purpose unbleached flour and 1 teaspoon of salt.
Mix as much as you can with a spoon and then dump onto a cutting board or countertop.
Use your hands to knead this into a cohesive ball of dough. It’ll take a few minutes and if the dough is sticking to your hands add a generous sprinkle of flour.
Ideally this dough rises for 1-2 hours, but you are hungry right? I never wait that long and usually just cover it with the mixing bowl for 30 minutes or so.
This is enough dough for four thin crust 10″ pizzas. I usually make two pizzas and save the other half of the dough in the fridge. Just wrap it in plastic and foil and it will keep for at least 4-5 days.
While the dough rises a bit you have time to prepare the toppings. (Note that the ingredient amounts for the toppings will be for only two pizzas.)
First let’s talk about the sauce. Or lack of sauce I should say.
I’ve tried this recipe with tomato-based sauces and the results were not nearly as good as using a simple garlic infused oil as the “sauce”.
This is 2 Tablespoons olive oil, 2 minced garlic cloves and a pinch of salt. A thin layer of this is enough to keep the focus on the chicken and pickled jalapenos without the pizza tasting dry. If pizza without SAUCE seems wrong, then you are in for a pleasant surprise.
Smoosh the garlic into the oil using the back of the spoon, this will amp it up a bit. And consider 1 Tablespoon of oil per pizza the maximum amount, even just 1/2 Tablespoon is enough to keep the pizza from tasting dry.
Okay, you’ve got leeway on the seasoning of the chicken so don’t feel like you have to mimic this mix exactly. For this batch I’m using 1 Tablespoon crushed New Mexican chile, 1/2 teaspoon Chipotle powder, 1/4 teaspoon salt, freshly ground pepper, and 1 Tablespoon olive oil. (Note: you might recognize this chicken seasoning from our Burrito Bowls and Colorado Chicken Tacos.)
A chopped chicken breast gets tossed with this mixture and then cooked over medium-high heat.
Since the chicken will be baked in the oven you don’t need to cook the chicken all the way through, 70-80 percent will do.
Okay, the dough has probably risen enough by now 🙂
Split the dough in half, and then split one of the halves in half.
This will roll out into a super thin 10″ crust. It can sometimes be easier to get it thin if you roll it out in stages, i.e. do a rough first pass, let it sit for a few minutes, and then come back for a second pass.
Keep some flour nearby. If it’s sticking then a light sprinkling of flour on the rolling pin or dough should take care of it.
For the second pass consider rolling it out on parchment paper, then you don’t have to worry about it sticking to your work surface and it can be cooked directly on the parchment paper.
Your setup might vary, but I’ve gotten the best results by baking this dough by itself for 1-2 minutes and then adding the toppings. This seems to help the center cook through before the edges get burnt. It’s one of the workarounds for not having a pizza stone but don’t worry, you aren’t sacrificing any flavor by cooking it this way.
So we are adding the garlic-oil after the dough has already baked for 1-2 minutes at 400F, as pictured above.
And then it’s just a matter of adding the pickled jalapenos, chicken, and cheese.
This will bake at 400F for 8-10 minutes on an everyday sheet pan.
When the edges start to darken you are moments away from a true delight.
Serve immediately as it tastes best right out of the oven.
Who knew pickled jalapenos were so comfortable on pizza? So good!
Optional garnishes include chopped cilantro, Crema if you are feeling crazy, and of course, more pickled jalapenos.
P.S. We recently used the same techniques to make a delicious Pickled Tomatillo and Chorizo Pizza.
- 1 cup pickled jalapenos
- 1 cup cubed Mozzarella cheese
- 2 cups all-purpose unbleached flour
- 3/4 cup warm water
- 1 teaspoon yeast
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 chicken breast
- 1 Tablespoon crushed New Mexican chile or your choice of chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon chipotle powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- freshly ground pepper
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 2 Tablespoon olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- pinch of salt
In a mixing bowl, add 1 teaspoon of yeast to 3/4 cup warm water. Stir until the yeast has dissolved into the water.
Add 2 cups flour and 1 teaspoon salt. Combine as much as you can with a spoon.
Dump flour mixture onto a work surface and knead with your hands until a cohesive ball is formed. If the dough is sticking to your fingers add a bit more flour.
Cover with the mixing bowl and let rise for 1-2 hours (or 30 minutes if you are hungry)
To make the garlic-oil sauce, finely mince 2 garlic cloves and add to 2 Tablespoons olive oil along with a pinch of salt. Smoosh the garlic into the oil using the back of a spoon and set aside.
Chop a single chicken breast into bite-sized pieces and combine with the listed seasoning ingredients in a bowl.
Saute the chicken in a drizzle of oil over medium high heat until slightly undercooked. Set aside until needed.
Tear the dough ball in half, and then tear one of the halves in half. This will be enough dough for a super thin 10" crust.
Give it a quick roll out with a rolling pin and then let it sit for couple minutes, this will reduce the elasticity.
Then you can roll it out to your desired thinness. Rolling the dough on parchment paper can be easier as it won't stick as much. You can also bake the pizza directly on the parchment paper.
For my kitchen setup, I start by baking the rolled-out dough for 1-2 minutes at 400F.
Then add a thin layer of the garlic-oil sauce, followed by the chicken, cheese, and pickled jalapenos.
Bake at 400F for 8-10 minutes, or until the edges start to brown.
Optional garnishes include chopped cilantro, Crema, and more pickled jalapenos.
Don't forget to slightly undercook the chicken. This will keep it from drying out when baking in the oven on the pizza.
It takes very little of the garlic-oil sauce to keep the pizza from tasting dry. One Tablespoon per pizza is the upper limit, I probably end up using only 1/2 Tablespoon per pizza.
This dough recipe is enough for four 10" thin crust pizzas, but the listed ingredients for the toppings are for two pizzas. You can wrap the remaining dough in plastic and foil and it will keep in the fridge for at least 4-5 days.
One last thing to note...I like this recipe best when the crust is super thin. A light, thin crust keeps the focus on the chicken and pickled jalapenos. I've tried it with thicker crust before and did not like it as much.