Look at these beets. Of all the vegetables, beets are the most ardently impassioned (nutritionally speaking). This torrid root vegetable is at the top of my list of vibrant and nutrient-dense super foods. I love beets.
The above mixture made for a surprise hit at my recent Udi’s Gluten-Free ultimate pizza and ski party last Thursday night. The annual SIA Snow Sports Show was here in Denver. I had a pizza party at my house on opening night for ski-rep friends from out of town, shop owners and a few manufacturers. Since I’m gluten-free, my guests are always gluten-free. Why not? Gluten-free isn’t what it used to be, especially when you have help from visionaries like the good folks at Udi’s.
Udi’s Gluten Free Foods is located here in Denver. How lucky is that? I’ve watched their artisanal drift into the gluten-free product world for some time now and have run into Heather (marketing coordinator) and Jillian (social media maven) at various conferences, shows and events. I’ve even done some early taste-tasting at one of their unveiling parties. I don’t do product reviews, book reviews or give-aways on my blog. I decided early on that I didn’t have time for it or enough interest in processed foods to bother with it. I prefer whole foods and if I’m going to advocate for anything, it will be organic plants and my support for local CSAs (community supported agriculture). Having said that, I do use a few pre-made, gluten-free flour mixes on occasion and I’m a huge fan of Udi’s gluten-free pizza crusts. If I use a specific product in a recipe, I say so, but I don’t accept products for blog endorsements. I’m a nutritionist, not a professional blogger.
When I decided to have this pizza party, I knew I’d need to make about 28 to 30 pizzas. If you’ve noticed how popular Udi’s gluten-free crusts are, you’ve probably also noticed that sometimes they’re hard to find. (I think gluten-cootie people are buying them as well. Grrrr.) I have two Whole Foods and one Natural Grocer nearby and they’re often low or out of the crusts. They’re that good. I contacted Jillian a week before the party and asked her if I could order 15 packages of crusts and pick them up myself. I didn’t want to freak out if I couldn’t find enough. Jillian said she’d have the crusts delivered to my house at no charge. To be honest, that wasn’t my plan and I didn’t want them for free (seriously). We emailed back and forth and she finally said, “Hey, we’re Colorado ski and snowboard people here at Udi’s and we know the SIA Show is in town. We just want to contribute to the energy and fun of it all.”
Thank you Udi’s! They delivered 16 packages of gluten-free pizza crusts (32 crusts) to my house, fresh and ready for me to top with my bizarre creations. I don’t make mainstream pizzas.
Pepperoni and cheese? No way.
Roasted beets and beet greens pizza? Delicious.
New Mexican red chile enchilada pizza. OMG!
BBQ chicken and onion ring pizza? Huge hit.
Bacon, LETTUCE and tomato pizza? Another winner.
Plus, I did lots of mixed veggie pizzas with exotic cheeses.
It was a lot of work, much more than I anticipated and even though I have a double oven with convection settings, it wasn’t easy to shuffle 28 pizzas in and out of the ovens. There were too many people here to have a sit-down dinner so I used groovy-looking, palm frond eco plates and forks that eventually went into my composter and lined my dining room table with butcher paper. Easy clean-up. We pulled the pizzas out six at a time, cut them up and slid them onto the butcher paper. People drank local beer and Red Truck wine (not local) and hung around the table testing the weird assortment of pizzas. My guests loved it.
Total success! Thank you Udi’s and thank you Jillian. I would have said good things whether you gave me the crusts or not, but I do appreciate it and love having you in my backyard. Colorado is such a great place to live. Glad you guys live here, too.
gluten-free red chile enchilada pizza
(see top square plate above loaded with 3 pieces of this pizza)
*This was one of my odd-ball creations and it came out great. I made four of these pizzas and didn’t write down a detailed recipe, so I’m generalizing here. You’ll have to adapt the recipe amount to your needs, but use this as a basic guideline.
what you need for the sauce
Udi’s gluten-free pizza crusts
Bueno’s Basic Red Chile Purée (see my recipe instructions below, adapted from Bueno’s)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon gluten-free rice flour (or whatever basic GF flour you have on hand)
sea salt, ground pepper and Mexican oregano
* Make the sauce ahead of time as it needs time to cook and simmer down to the consistency appropriate for a pizza. You want it thicker than traditional red chile sauce. This recipe from Bueno Foods is a good basic one, although I tweaked it slightly. I used a little less water (so the sauce would be a touch thicker), more oregano (I love Mexican oregano), omitted the sugar and used 1 tablespoon of rice flour. Using this recipe as a guideline – heat the oil, saute the onions and garlic, add the flour and mix well. Add the thawed red chile purée, water, Mexican oregano, salt and pepper and blend well. Simmer for an hour or longer. This is what it should look like.
what you need for the topping
shredded, cooked chicken
Hatch canned whole green chiles (1 small, 4 ounce can per pizza)
1/2 cup corn kernels (or more)
1/2 cup black beans, rinsed and drained (or more)
shredded colby-jack cheese
what you do
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. I start with thawed Udi’s pizza crusts.
2. Brush prepared (and warm) red chile sauce on the Udi’s pizza crusts. I used just enough to fully cover the pizzas. You want the flavor and coverage, but you don’t want it wet and sloppy.
3. Place the shredded chicken in a bowl and add 2 or 3 spoonfuls of the red chile sauce to moisten it and add more flavor. Mix well. Place the chicken on the pizza crusts. You don’t need a lot, just enough scattered around so you get a few bites of chicken here and there.
4. Place strips of green chile over the chicken. Make sure you drain the green chile well (pat it with a paper towel so it’s not wet).
5. Sprinkle some well-drained corn kernels and black beans over the pizza.
6. Top with shredded cheese and bake for 10 to 12 minutes. The Udi’s directions say 5 to 7 minutes, but I always cook them longer. I like the cheese to be lightly browned and bubbly. Set the timer for 7 minutes and see what you think. Rotate pizzas and bake for a few more minutes. Watch closely as they can burn and overcook easily.
* Tip: line the bottom of the oven with tin foil to catch the drippings.
Peace, fresh powder and Udi’s gluten-free pizza.