Thursday, February 28, 2013

A Polish girl's pizza

(photo pending)
Really, who wants to eat the "same old, same old" pizza?  I know my family likes variety. 
We have only purchased grocery store pizza a few times.
I just prefer to make my own at home.  It's what my family prefers to eat.

In years past, we did make classic pepperoni, but as our kids have gotten older, they are not big fans. "It's too hot.  It's too spicy."  You know the drill.

So, what kind of pizza do we enjoy?  Well, the closest  to traditional would be spinach pizza with very light cheese (we all kind of have an aversion to too much cheese, especially Olivia, Cierah and me.)  And we also enjoy barbecued bean pizza. 
Yep, you read it right.
Have you had Bush's Grillin' Beans?  Oh. My. Word.  Good stuff.  We use the Grillin' Beans in place of sauce and toppings, adding pineapple and light cheese, plus a tiny bit of oregano.  Sooo good.

But perhaps the most unusual (yet VERY loved and requested) would be...Pugush.

"What's pugush?", you ask.

Well, ask five people and you're likely to get five different, albeit slighly similar, answers.
For our family, pugush is a simple recipe, handed down from my mom's 100% Polish side,  that I would affectionately rename "Polish Perogie Pizza" if I could.  Have you ever had cheese & potato perogies?  If so, consider that you could enjoy them "on a pizza."  That, my friends, is Pugush.

Here is my recipe, tweaked just a tiny bit from the recipe my mom handed down to me.  I would encourage you to give it a try.  It's very filling, so perhaps just some lovely fruit like blueberries or fresh strawberries served as a side?

PUGUSH (Polish perogie pizza)  Makes 1 large rectangular pizza
Potato topping:
7 medium Idaho potatoes, peeled, cut into 1" cubes, boiled until tender.
8 oz extra sharp cheddar OR colby jack, shredded.
4  tbsp margarine (or any butter/substitute you prefer)
1 medium/large onion, finely chopped for saute
1 can evaporated milk (can use skim)

Dough: (you can substitute any pizza dough you prefer)
3-¾ cups flour
1-½ tsp. salt
1-½ tsp. sugar
3 Tbsp. oil
1-½ Tbsp. quick rise yeast
1-½ cup warm water

Peel and boil potatoes until soft/tender for mashing.  While cooking, grate cheese and sautee onions in butter over low/medium heat with lid on pan, stirring frequenly to prevent burning (can add more butter if needed.)  Sautee until translucent/tender.  When potatoes and onions fully cooked, add onions/butter to potatoes, then add 1/2 can evaporated milk and mash as for mashed potatoes. Continue to add milk and then salt to taste, until a spreadable mashed potato consistency is achieved (dont' overthink it.) Set aside.

Preheat oven to 375º
In a large bowl, place first 4 ingredients of dough. In separate, smaller bow, add warm water and yeast, wisking well to incorporate.  Pour this into the larger bowl and stir with a large spoon until hand kneading is necessary.  Knead for approximately 4 minutes on flat surface.

Spray pan with cooking spray, then work dough into pan (I use a rolling pin for this, as the dough does not spread very easily).  Prebake for 3 minutes.
Spread cheese/potato mix over dough carefully, then bake for 15-25 minutes (check bottom of dough.  Pizza is done when dough is lightly browned to the middle.)
Cool 5-10 minutes, then slice and enjoy.

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