Sometimes people misinterpret my love for ‘good food’ as a dislike for ‘bad food.’ Rest assured, I love all food, regardless of its perceived level of fanciness. While I do occasionally GOOP-out and put duck rillette on my pizza, I also deeply, deeply love Costco hot dogs.
And greasy burgers.
And cheap beer. And cheap wine, come to think.
Buck-a-slice pizza is another weakness of mine, since I don’t have much of a sweet tooth. Technically that’s a misnomer now… I’m sure once upon a time it was $1 a slice but due to inflation it’s closer to $2, or even $3 nowadays.
My favourite cheap slice in Vancouver is from a chain called Uncle Fatih’s (lovingly
mispronounced nicknamed Uncle Fatty’s by the drunken youth who frequent it). For my money, I don’t know if it gets better than a twoonie slice of their Beef & Blue Cheese pizza. I don’t even know why it’s so good, but it really, really is. Super crumbly ground beef, a drizzle of blue cheese sauce. It’s so simple, but I have tried the same slice at competing pizza joints and been nothing but disappointed.
I used to live right across the street from an Uncle Fatih’s. I could swing by there for slice on my way home after a Friday night on the town, and then again for a hungover set-me-right that Saturday morning. Rainy evening? Too lazy to cook? Pick up a slice or two. Run some errands, get hungry? Pick up a slice.
It was cheap, convenient and delicious.
Unfortunately, now that I’ve moved to the ‘burbs, that’s all but stopped. This should mean great things for my waistline and my wallet, but mostly I just end up craving that one magical slice from Fatih’s and eating cheese toast on the floor of my house with a dissatisfied look on my face. Half an hour is just too far to drive for a $2 slice of pizza.
It seems silly that something so simple would be so hard to recreate, but somehow I found it really challenging! I made this pizza at least half a dozen times before even being somewhat satisfied with the result. This is the closest I have ever gotten.
No sauce. Make sure the beef is broken down as small as possible- we want it crumbly. Season the beef with a hint of ketchup and a slash of hot sauce- it adds a touch of sweetness, a hint of tartness and gives it the smallest shmeck of diner burger flavour. Sounds weird, but this is what you want. There is a time and place for fancy schmancy flavour profiles and this is not it.
Drizzle with blue cheese sauce. If you like, use store-bought blue cheese dressing, but I like to make my own. It’s healthier and I can control the pungency of the blue cheese flavour (and I like mine fairly pungent). Since we’re not crumbling blue cheese directly on the pizza, the sauce should pack a punch and melt through the beefy layers.
Finish with a sprinkle of green onions or chives. This is where my recipe really diverges from the Uncle Fatih’s classic. I find the hint of freshness is a nice little foil, since everything else on the pie is rich and sumptuous.
And, that’s it! Part pizza, part blue cheese burger. Pair with the good friends and good drinks.
|Beef & Blue Cheese Pizza|| || |
- Pizza Dough:*
- 1⅓ cups warm water
- 2¼ tsp instant yeast
- 3¾ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 Tbsp sugar
- 1 Tbsp salt
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 500 g ground beef
- 1 Tbsp ketchup
- 1 Tbsp Franks Red Hot (or more...)
- 1 tsp Worchestershire Sauce
- Blue Cheese Drizzle:
- ½ cup plain yogurt (not thick Greek yogurt)
- ¼ cup blue cheese, crumbled
- ½ tsp Dijon mustard
- ½ lemon, juice
- Coarse semolina, to dust
- ½ cup cheddar cheese, grated
- 2 Tbsp fresh chives or green onions, chopped
- To make dough: Preheat oven to 200°F. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine water and yeast and let sit for 5 minutes until yeast has dissolved and mixture is frothy. Add in flour, sugar, salt, and olive oil; knead on a low speed for 5-10 minutes until dough has formed. It should be elastic and pull away from the sides of the bowl. Transfer dough to a lightly oiled bowl; cover with aluminum foil, and place bowl in the oven. TURN OVEN OFF. Let the dough rise in the warm oven for about 2 hours until it has doubled in size. Divide into two balls of dough, then use one for the remainder of this recipe. (Prepare another pizza with the second ball of dough, or store in the fridge for another night.)
- Remove dough from oven, place a pizza stone or heavy baking sheet into the oven. Crank the heat on the oven up to 500 degrees. Let the stone heat for at least 30 minutes in the oven.
- Brown ground beef in a dry pan over medium-high heat. Drain off liquid. Add ketchup, Franks and Worchestershire Sauce and stir to coat. Set aside.
- Using a blender or immersion blender, whiz together all the drizzle ingredients.
- Dust a flat surface with some coarse semolina and stretch out the portion of pizza dough you will be using. Take the heated pizza stone/tray out of the oven and transfer the dough directly on to it. This will cause the dough to start cooking right away, ensuring a nice and crispy crust.
- Spread the beef out onto the crust in an even layer. Top with a sprinkle of cheddar. Bake for 8-12 minutes, until the cheese is melted and the crust is lightly browned.
- Remove from oven, top with blue cheese drizzle and sprinkle with fresh chives.