Friday, December 12, 2008

Cheesy Chicken, Bacon and Broccoli Braid

1/2 recipe pizza dough
1 1/2 cups braised, shredded chicken
1/2 cup broccoli, cut into florets
2-3 (or 5-6) strips of bacon, cooked how you like
sliced onion to taste

for the braise:
2-3 cloves of garlic, peeled
chili powder
dry mustard
fresh black pepper
chicken broth
fat for browning the chicken

*amounts depend on how much chicken you are making, you can make extra and keep the leftovers for other things.

Rub the chicken with salt, chili powder, mustard, tarragon and pepper. Don't be shy with it. Brown it in a medium-hot pan. Add the chicken broth till it's covered halfway, add the garlic cover it, reduce heat to low and let simmer for an hour or so, till tender. When the chicken is done, take it out and shred it with a pair of forks. Mash up a clove of garlic and add that and a couple tablespoons of the braising liquid to the chicken and mix it together. Roll out the dough into an oval. Layer the chicken, broccoli, onion, bacon and cheese in a long pile down the middle of the dough. Sprinkle with paprika and more black pepper. Cut the edges of the dough into 1-2" inch long, 1" wide strips, leaving one edge still attached to the main piece. Fold the strips over the filling, alternating left and right to simulate a braid. Fold the ends over the top, pressing tightly to seal. Bake at 425 till golden brown, 15 minutes or so. Eat hot or cold.


I suppose, technically, this is a calzone kind of thing. And I've already posted about calzones once. But this is all fancy pants looking so that makes it different, right? Right. Ok then. Anyway, the reason I made this is because my girlfriend wanted a chicken, bacon and bbq sauce calzone. I didn't really want one (not that they aren't mad good) and I remembered seeing somewhere a recipe where they rolled out the dough and did this fake braid thing over some filling. Seeing as how I can't braid I wanted to give it a shot, see if it worked. And it did! It's very exciting. Unfortunately, I didn't get any pics of the process of faux-braiding. I'll have to make another one so I can re-post with better instructions. Tragic, isn't it? Heh. But I'll show you what I have.

First, we need to cook the chicken. I rubbed some boneless, skinless chicken breasts with tarragon, chili powder, dry mustard, salt and pepper. If you are doing this don't be shy with the spices, when you shred the chicken all the spices on the outside need to flavor the meat on the inside too. Plus some will come off in the braise. And then I browned it and braised it in chicken broth and garlic. Here is a more detailed look at braising, if you are interested. Once the chicken is tender pull it out and shred it with a couple of forks. Take a clove or two of the garlic from the braise, smoosh it into a paste and mix it in too, if you like. Can't imagine why you wouldn't. Heh. Also spoon some of the braising liquid onto the chicken and mix that in too, to make sure it's moist and flavorful. Now you just need to roll out your dough. Try to make it kind of an oval. Next you just pile on the goodies. Chicken, cheese, bacon, onion, pepper and paprika and finally, broccoli. You want to do the broccoli last because it holds the dough up and helps keep the cheese from oozing out. Now right around here is when my nice camera (a hand me down, bear in mind) totally crapped out on me. So I had to whip out the emergency back up camera. It works fine for middle distance, but doesn't have a close up macro, so things get a bit blurry. Another reason to make a new one of these and have another post. Heh. Anyway, you want to cut the edges of the dough into strips that are still attached to the main body. Then you just fold them over, alternating sides, to simulate a real braid. Then you fold the ends up, squish them closed and there you go. Now bake at 425, preferably on a pizza stone that's been preheating for 45 minutes or so, for 10-15 minutes or untill it's browned and luscious looking. Here is a nice blurry shot of a cross section. This was really good. I'm definitely making it again, but probably with other fillings. I think a rice mixture would be good, or potatoes. Or even a sweet filling like pieces of pound cake and a nut/chocolate paste. Then brush the top with butter and brown sugar. Hm. Yeah. That sounds good. I think I'll work on that.


Spryte said...

Hmmmmm .... I had to go looking for this... I wonder why my Blog List didn't show it?

Looks YUM!!!!

Ya know... I might not be afraid to fry stuff... but you work with DOUGH!!!

Bob said...

Spryte: That's weird, I don't know why it wouldn't show up. Glad you think it looks good though!

I don't know why people don't like working with dough, it's fun! And you have bread products when you are done. :)

DynamiteDebbie said...

Ohhhh....that looks so good. I have some really yummy ham chunks in the fridge I need to use...I'm thinking they might end up in something like this tomorrow. Too late for today.

DynamiteDebbie said...

That reminds me--speaking of braiding, I will have to send you a picture of the 4-part braided wreath dinner bread I make. It's pretty freaking cool. And yummy--even Johnny will eat it.

Anonymous said...

Wow. Can I come over for a bite? I love it, it's so artful looking.

Reeni said...

I'd love to sink my teeth into that! Your braiding is awesome. I like your technique, it looks like it would be complicated but it really isn't. You got to me with the sweet filling!!! YUM!

The Brutal Gourmet said...

That looks great, Bob. You are really stepping up your shredded chicken method, eh? Love the progress -- I have some chicken breasts in the fridge right now, I may have to try that. Oh, except for the seven pounds of pulled pork I am working on. Hm, that would be good too...

When you come over today, I have a caramel sauce you need to try. It was really easy to make, and it tastes so amazing -- you might want some for your sweet braid.

Bob said...

Deb: Nice, do it. And I always want to see pics of cool food.

noble pig: Thanks! Heh, if you can get to Boston I'll make another. :)

Reeni: Thanks! I know, I love that it looks so much harder than it is. I'm definitely trying a sweet filling next, I have... ideas. Muhahaha!

Brutal: Thanks, the end result is getting even better too. Heh. I can't wait to try the caramel sauce, I love caramel.

vanillasugarblog said...

Oh yeah love that bacon shot! I love that you weren't afraid to fill this bread right up with goodies. I've seen some stuffed breads that were, well, mostly just bread. And yeah, the braid came out really good.

Anonymous said...

What a perfect meal on a cold winter night!!

Emily said...

Mmm, that looks absolutely delicious.
I'm quite hungry for bacon now.

Bob said...

Dawn: Thanks! I say, whats the point of filling if it's not filled? Well, I do now anyway. :)

Bakingblonde: Heh, I can't help but agree.

Emily: Nothing like looking at bacon to make you hungry for bacon. ;)

Anonymous said...

You make it look easy! Maybe we'll try a recipe like this. Looks so pretty and of course delicious. As a calzone or a braid, it's still tasty.

Bob said...

Thanks Duo! Heh, well, it is pretty easy. You'll see, once I figure out what I'm going to do for the sweet one I'm going to post the steps.

Anonymous said...

Yum! I like all of those layers of flavor! The braid looks so pretty, too :). I'd like to share your recipe with our readers, please let me know if you're interested!

Sophie, Key Ingredient Chief Blogger

Bob said...

Sophie: Thanks! I'd love to share it with people. :D


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