Spain

Calzone, Calzone, Calzone!

One of the best things about travelling and visiting new countries is the chance to experience the local culture. And the local culture most definitely includes the food!

So much of a culture can revolve around the food, and I find it so interesting to see different attitudes to food in different cultures. I always try to take something home with me (not always literally) from a place I have visited, and more often than not I love trying to copy the authentic tastes my boyfriend and I have experienced on our travels.

So most recently I decided it’d be fun to make calzone. Something I’ve tried before, but using a packet mix of pizza dough as I thought it’d be too difficult to make dough from scratch. How wrong I was! You only need a few ingredients to make pizza dough, though some may be a special addition to the weekly shopping list unless you make bread at home. Luckily for us, we do make bread at home quite a lot, so actually had all the ingredients to hand.

Here’s what you’ll need to make enough dough for 2 calzone (or 4 small ones):

300g strong bread flour
1 tsp instant yeast
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp olive oil
200ml warm waterIMG_0816_fotor_fotor

Now’s the fun part: Simply put the flour in a large bowl, and stir in the yeast and salt. I used just a bit less salt than it says, because I’m always worried things will be too salty,. Be sure to keep the salt and yeast separated until you’re ready to mix with the flour, as yeast and salt can cancel each other out. Once they’re all in and mixed, make a well in the middle and pour in the water and olive oil. Give it a mix with a wooden spoon until you’ve got yourself a ball of dough. Lightly flour a surface and get kneading for about 5 minutes, then set it aside and cover with a tea towel while you get working on your filling.

The beauty of a calzone is that you can pretty much put what ever you want in it. Think of it like a folded up pizza, and people are overly adventurous with pizza toppings these days! The only thing I would say is that you don’t want too much juice in your mix, as the base of your calzone might get a bit soggy.

For my filling I really wanted something sausage based, with a tomato sauce. Here’s what I used for 1 of my delicious calzones:

2 bockwurst sausages
Few rashers of bacon (I use smoked because I love the extra flavour)
Sliced onion
Sliced red pepper
Half a tin of chopped tomatoes
Mixed herbs
1 clove of garlic

The joy of this part (as my boyfriend/official washer-upper says) is that you only need to use one pan! Judge which ingredients take the longest to cook and add everything in stages so that it will all be cooked at the same time. So I cooked the onion for a few minutes, before chucking in the bacon, red pepper and then a few minutes later the bockwurst. Once these were all cooked, I added a chopped clove of garlic before pouring in half a tin of tomatoes and a sprinkle of mixed herbs.IMG_0827_fotor_fotor

I know what you’re thinking – what am I supposed to do with the other half of the tinned tomatoes? Well, as you may have seen, this receipe is enough for 1 calzone filling. You could probably stretch it to fill 2 if you add more pepper and onion, but I like to stuff mine full. That way, half of one of these bad boy calzones is enough for dinner (giving you 4 servings from one batch of dough). So for the other calzone, I used the following ingredients:

1 chicken breast
Few rashers of bacon (I used smoked again)
Sliced onion
Sliced red pepper
Half a tin of chopped tomatoes
Mixed herbs
1 clove of garlic
Half a chicken oxo cube

Yes, the fillings for both are very similar, because I love the tomato flavours in my calzone. The method for cooking the filling is pretty much the same, except I cook the chicken first, then add in onions, bacon, pepper, and lastly the garlic. Once I’m sure the chicken is nicely cooked, I chuck in half a tin of tomatoes, a dash of mixed herbs and half a chicken stock cube.

With any mixture, you want to make sure it’s not too wet. The sauce should be really thick, or just cover the ingredients, as it usually turns more ‘saucy’ in the calzone. If it’s too wet, the dough won’t crisp nicely either, so if need be cook the mixture until the sauce reduces.

Now to the assembly! Split your dough in half, or 4 if you’d like to make smaller calzones. Then, on a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into a circle about 5 mm thick. This is the tricky part – too thin and it’ll rip, too thick and you’ll have a really doughy calzone. Here’s a tip: once you’ve rolled the dough into a thickish circle, move it onto a piece of greaseproof baking paper. It makes it way easier to move it about! Once on the baking paper, then roll out to your desired thickness. Not too much pressure, but try and get it how you’d like it first time, because if you roll it up and start again the dough is a lot tougher to work with.IMG_08270_fotor_fotor

Once you’ve got the dough all rolled out, sprinkle a bit of cheese on half of the circle, leaving a gap at the edge (about 1-2 cm), then pile on your fillings. Depending on taste, I add a bit more cheese on the top of the filling, then fold the other half of dough over the top. Twist the edges so that no filling can spill out (it does like to!) and then stick a sharp knife carefully in the top to make some holes for the steam to get out.

Then pop on a baking tray, or if you have one, a pizza tray is even better – here’s where you’ll see why the baking paper is handy. Then pop in the oven at 180C for about 25-30 minutes. This time can vary quite a bit, depending on your oven and the size of your calzones. Keep an eye on them, and when they’ve turned golden and you can tap them they’re likely to be done. If you can lift and tap the bottom and it’s cooked (not soft and doughy), then you’re definitely good to go! All ingredients should have been fully cooked before going into the calzone, so you’re just checking the dough is cooked.IMG_082701_fotor_fotor

And now…tuck in and enjoy!

 

Here’s the shopping list you’ll need to make enough calzone for 4 servings:

Dough
Strong white flour
1 tsp instant yeast
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp olive oil

Filling
2 bockwurst sausages
1 chicken breast
1 packet back bacon (smoked or unsmoked…whichever you prefer)
2 onions
2 red peppers
Tin of chopped tomatoes
Mixed herbs
2 cloves of garlic
Chicken stock cube
Cheese (mozzarella or similar work well)

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