There is a New Years Eve tradition in my family in which we make dozens upon dozens of thin crust pizzas and eat them fresh out of the oven all night long. Because they are thin and delicate, it is easy to eat a pie or two all by yourself. Then the challenge is keeping your eyes open until the ball drops. Really good pizza dough is a canvas on which to drop your favorite ingredients and express your culinary creativity. It is also a good place to scatter your wild game scraps from the season and turn them into something delicious.
I like ground venison on this pizza, along with tomato sauce, mozzarella, red onion, oregano, sage and thinly sliced jalapeno peppers. You can also try ground wild boar, elk, caribou, squirrel or whatever else is lurking in your freezer. Use the scraps of meat that you’re not sure what to do with, rather than a prime cut of meat like venison back strap, which is better cooked rare. If you want to add thinly sliced back strap, you sear it separately in a pan, no more than medium rare, then slice it thin and lay it over the top of the cooked pizza before serving. I also like to offer up some pizzas with fresh greens on top, arugula tossed in a bit of lemon juice. Salt and pepper is one of my favorite things on a pie when it is fresh out of the oven. Use this dough recipe as your blank canvas and see what wild game creativity you can cook up. I think you’ll find that you’re an artist after all.
“Thin Crust Pizza Dough”
6 cups flour 1 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon olive oil 2 cups warm water 3 teaspoons yeast 1 pinch sugar
1. Dissolve yeast in a little sugar and warm water. Let stand until foamy.
2. In a bowl combine flour, salt and olive oil. Add the yeast mixture. Then the water. Work dough to a firm ball. Cover with a moist towel and let rise until double.
3. Take about 1/4 of the dough and roll it out onto a floured work surface for rolling. Grease a baking sheet and lay the dough into it.
4. Cover with any toppings that you want.
5. Bake at 425 degrees for 10 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 400 degrees for about 20 minutes more. The ingredients above make four pizzas.