The Leftovers Part II: Big Mack Pizza

After a long week I was left with a handful of perishable leftovers that I could choose to use or let sit, grow mold and find a week later while dry heaving all the way to the trashcan.  When presented with a predicament like this I always think late night food, Sunday scaries fuel or something to cry into on a lonely Monday night (not me but a guy I know).  In college the food of choice on one of these days was always fast food.  Living in the city you are presented with a dilemma, go through life without a dollar menu or wade through a minefield of panhandling drug addicts & derelicts in front of your local establishment.  At this point you can get on your high horse, preach about the social inequality and pretend you do anything to help to the homeless besides dropping 50 cents into a cup.  Or you can do what most people do, avoid that methadone mile and take that detour to home where it's free of the riff-raff.

The Ingredients

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup leftover ground beef (cooked)
  • 5-10 cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 head of white cabbage
  • 1/2 large white onion
  • 1/2 (16 oz.) block of cheddar
  • 1/2 (2 lb.) bag of shredded mozzarella

(Not shown)

  • pizza dough, available at any grocery store or your favorite pizza spot

(Special Sauce)

  • 1 tbs white vinegar
  • 1/3 cup mayo
  • 1 tbs yellow mustard
  • 1 tbs sweet pickle relish
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp paprika

The Special Sauce & Prep

Here's a visual representation of the ratio of ingredients for the special sauce (minus the vinegar).  Make the sauce a day in advance and make adjustments after that to your liking.  Depending on personal preference you may want to add a little sugar, salt or pepper to taste.

If you have air tight containers this can also be done beforehand; finely dice the onion and quarter the cherry tomatoes.  If you're thinking there's no tomatoes on the real thing, you have a good point but this is a cheeseburger pizza at heart.

Cabbage will keep for about 24 hours after its been finely cut or shredded.  This was a head that was cut in half along the stem, to start slicing remember to remove the stem as shown in the first photo.  Iceberg lettuce is a more traditional ingredient and certainly can be substituted in lieu of cabbage (and cut exactly the same way), but it will not give you the same crunch the cabbage is intended for.

The Main Event

If you have a stand mixer I would highly recommend making your own dough, it will cost you less than $1.00 to make (instead of $2.00-$4.00 to purchase) and is a great skill to know.  I unfortunately no longer have a stand mixer and am left to buy from my favorite local pizza place, which is not the worst thing in the world assuming they can do it better than me.  Dust the surface of the counter (marble is great, wood cutting boards works as well) with all-purpose flour to make handling the pizza dough easier.  Use your finger to press the dough down forming it into a Frisbee-like shape.  Interlock your fingers with palms facing down, place the dough over the back of your hands and let the dough stretch over them as your hands pull apart.  No need to throw this up in the air, but if you can't help yourself be safe and buy a few extra balls of dough.

Line a sheet pan with aluminum foil and cover liberally with vegetable oil.  The dough should be somewhat circular/over shaped, place it in the pan and pull to the corners to make square.  Holes are inevitable, don't panic, wet your fingers, pinch together each end of the hole to make whole again.  Drizzle a few tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil over the dough, dump the cheese in the center and spread evenly from end to end.

Sprinkle the leftover ground meat across the pizza and a layer of mined onion over the top.  Set the oven to 550 degree and a timer for 15 minutes, try to check on the pizza every 5 minutes or so.  If bubbles of air start to form in the dough use a fork to pop them, this usually happens along the crust however don't be bashful if this happens towards the center.

After 15 minutes the pizza is 95% done and just needs the final few toppings before it is ready to eat.  Use a pizza knife to cut into the desired amount of slices before adding any of the cabbage, tomato and sauce toppings.

In retrospect I would say twice the amount of meat is a better ratio for the size of the pizza,  more cheddar cheese is always better and the tomatoes were not necessary.  I was kicking myself for forgetting the sesame seed crust, if you want to add it follow these steps: 

About halfway through the cooking process brush the crust with melted butter and sprinkle sesame seeds along the edge, beware adding this too early (especially in the beginning) or the sesame seeds to burn.  

If you're saving this to reheat at the office or for the next day leave the cabbage and sauce on the side.  FYI, this pizza is almost better cold.