Chorizo, Pepper, and Onion Calzones
My wife and I finished watching all seven seasons of Parks and Rec a few weeks ago, the end of a five month journey. I consume an amount of media befitting of a millennial (read: I watch a lot of TV) and having watched Parks and Rec before knew that my wife would enjoy it (and you would too!). Like Ron Swanson, you should know that my recommendation is essentially a guarantee.
And like Ben Wyatt, I love a good calzone. In season 4 while searching for a job Ben takes some time to explore the world of Italian fast casual dining. How can you lose with a calzone? It’s a portable, delicious meal that is its own container. I’m just sad that Ben’s vision for the healthy Italian eatery, the Low-Cal Calzone Zone, never came to fruition.
This is the fourth of fifth time I’ve made calzones in the past year and finally I remembered to take some pictures. These are our go-to dinner from the freezer when we don’t feel like cooking or just aren’t in the mood for leftovers. For a while Wednesday night was calzone night.
I use my two hour pizza dough recipe and make six calzones at a time. They freeze really well and can be defrosted in the microwave or oven on short notice. Last month I made some with Italian sausage, grilled chicken, peppers, and onions. These were similar only I swapped out the sausage and chicken for chorizo. Like with a pizza you can add just about any filling you want. I’ve found that one onion, half a pepper, and a little less than a 1/4 lb. of meat is good for each calzone. We typically split them in half and eat with salad or some other veggies.
I made these on Saturday and we split one for lunch and froze the rest. After lunch I went to check the mail and found a small box waiting for me. Inside was a belated birthday gift from friends, this amazing mini LEGO replica of Michigan Stadium (if you want a bigger one, you can find that too)! With calzones and this fantastic model, I’m sure to be the life of the party.
- 5¼ cups All-purpose or Bread flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2½ teaspoons instant yeast
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 1½ cups water
- 3 red peppers, diced
- 6 medium onions, diced
- 1 pound chorizo (or other meat)
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- 16 ounces tomato sauce
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 cups shredded mozzarella
- Combine all ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer and knead for 7-8 minutes on medium speed (or 10-12 minutes by hand). The dough will remain quite tough.
- Place in a lightly oiled bowl and cover, let rise for 1 hour or until doubled.
- Once doubled lightly knead the dough and place back in the bowl. Cover and let rise another hour.
- Prepare the filling while the dough rises
- Heat a large skillet to medium-high heat. Add chorizo and cook for 15 minutes, breaking up the chorizo as it cooks. Continue to cook until done, then remove the chorizo and set aside in a small bowl.
- Add the peppers, onions, and chili powder to the skillet. There will be fat leftover from the chorizo, but add a small about of oil if needed. Cook until softened, 10-15 minutes. Set aside when done
- Combine the tomato sauce and garlic in a small bowl.
- Line two baking sheets with baking mats or parchment paper and lightly flour.
- Preheat oven to 450 F.
- Cut the dough into 6 equal sized pieces, shaping each into a ball. Let rest for 5 minutes. Shape each dough ball into a disc about 8 inches in diameter. If the dough shrinks as you stretch it out, just let it rest for 5 minutes before continuing.
- Working on the baking sheet, place about ¼ cup of sauce on half the calzone dough. Leave a small amount of space clear around the edge. Add in about ½ cup of the vegetable filling and ¼ cup of the meat. Sprinkle cheese on top.
- Pull the untopped half of the dough over the filling and seal the edges. Using a knife cut three small openings in the top of the dough. Top with more cheese.
- Repeat with the other five pieces of dough.
- Baking calzones in the preheated oven for 12-14 minutes, until the cheese and dough have browned. Keep an eye on the cheese so it doesn't burn, turn the temperature down if needed.
- Let cool on baking sheet for 10 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.