Elegant Wine And Cheese Pizza Party
Nothing beats a homemade pizza, particularly when you make the dough from scratch and dress it up with the creamy goodness of brie. These two pizza recipes are delicious served together ~ add a light tossed salad with a simple vinaigrette and a bottle each of your favorite chardonnay and merlot and you have a fun and relaxed dinner party.
- These ingredients make two varieties of pizza:
- 2 lbs pizza dough
- 1 tablespoon olive oil (for brushing)
- 13.5-ounce wheel of brie cut into small wedges
- 3/4 lb. boneless chicken breast, pounded to 1/2" thickness
- 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons dijon mustard
- 2 teaspoons water
- 2 6-ounce boneless duck breasts
- Salt and pepper
- For the Chardonnay reduction:
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 2 medium shallots, chopped
- 1/4 cup dried apricots, chopped
- 1/4 cup apricot jam
- 1-1/2 cups chardonnay
- For the Merlot Reduction:
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup currant jelly
- 1-1/2 cups merlot
Prepare the dough:
If you are making your own pizza dough, follow your recipe instructions through the first rising.
Using a sharp knife, cut your dough into eight equal pieces. Take each piece and form it into a ball by pulling the edges under and tucking them upward in a circular motion. Roll the ball gently on an unfloured flat surface with the palm of your hand until it feels smooth and free of air pockets. Place each ball on a parchment lined baking sheet, cover with a damp towel and set in a warm place to rise for about 30 minutes.
Prepare the chicken:
Whisk together the white wine vinegar, dijon mustard and water. Pour over the chicken, turning to coat evenly. Allow to marinate for about 10 to 15 minutes. Film the bottom of a large skillet with vegetable oil. Add the chicken and cook over medium heat until no longer pink in the middle, 3 to 5 minutes per side. Remove from oven, let rest for 5 minutes, slice into strips and set chicken aside.
Prepare the duck:
Trim the layer of skin on the duck breast to the size and shape of the meat. With a sharp knife, score the fat (don't cut through to the meat) every quarter-inch. Turn the breast and score again to create a criss-cross pattern. Season both sides of the meat with salt and pepper. In a large skillet over medium-low heat, place the duck breasts skin side down. Cook for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the fat is rendered and the skin is a crispy, golden brown. Turn the breast over and cook for another 2 minutes. Finish the duck in the oven for 3 to 4 more minutes until cooked through, but still rosy pink inside. Allow to rest for 5 minutes, slice into strips and set aside.
Prepare the apricot-chardonnay reduction:
Heat the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook until soft and translucent. Add the apricots, jelly, and chardonnay. Stir to combine and continue to simmer until the mixture is syrupy and reduced to about 1/2 cup (about 20 to 25 minutes).
Prepare the merlot reduction:
Heat the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook until slightly softened. Add the jelly and merlot. Stir to combine and continue to simmer until the mixture is syrupy and reduced to about 1/2 cup (about 20 to 25 minutes).
Assemble the pizzas:
Preheat oven to 500°F. Cut two pieces of parchment paper to fit a large baking sheet and set aside. Put the baking sheet in the oven to preheat. Place one ball of dough on a lightly floured surface. Begin shaping into a pizza by flattening the dough with heel of your hand. Rotate the dough while gently stretching outward to 6 or 7 inches in diameter. Once the dough is stretched to size, crimp the edges to form a slightly thicker rim. Repeat with the remaining balls of dough and place four on each sheet of parchment paper.
Brush all of the pizza crusts lightly with the olive oil, avoiding the edges. Brush four of the crusts with the apricot-chardonnay reduction, reserving a little bit for drizzling over the top. Distribute half the brie between those four pizzas and arrange the sliced chicken between the pieces of cheese. Drizzle the chicken with the remaining reduction. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and carefully slide it under the prepared pizzas.
Place in the oven and bake for 7 to 9 minutes or until the crust is baked and the brie is bubbly. While the first batch of pizzas are baking, repeat the assembly process using the merlot reduction, remaining brie and sliced duck. Bake for the same amount of time as the chicken pizzas.
Gently slice each pizza into four wedges with a sharp knife (a pizza cutter may tear the pizza) and serve with a choice of red or white wine and a light tossed salad.
Serves 6 to 8