Tasty Tuesday–Chicago’s Best Foods

Of course, one of the best things about visiting any city is finding out what foods that location is famous for and trying them for yourself. Chicago is no exception, and foods that I grew up with as just food are now special treats when we travel. I’m sure people could argue all day about constitutes a Chicago food, but here are my favorites…Chicago-style pizza, Chicago-style hot dogs, Rainbow cones, gyros, Eli’s cheesecake, and Italian beef:

Ryan thinks I should have added the Italian combo to my list, but I really don’t like Italian sausage that much, so the best I can do is mention it. Also, not pictured, but extremely delicious and addictive…Chicago-style popcorn. I could eat that stuff by the (cheesy Christmas) tinful!

Tasty Tuesday–Chicago Style Pizza

One of the things Ryan and I missed most about living in the Chicago area was Chicago Style Pizza. We like it so much that we had our rehearsal dinner at Giordano’s, (our favorite version of Chicago Style Pizza), the night before our wedding. So, a few years ago, I bought a Chicago Style Pizza pan, and decided that I would learn how to make it at home, so that we could have it whenever we wanted, without having to a). Go to Chicago; 2). Buy a frozen pizza, (gross!); or c). Go to Uno’s, (not a horrible option, but expensive).

I have to say, the recipe I found replicates the Giordano’s pizza fairly well, down to the pizza-sized sausage patty that goes over the cheese layer. I suppose it’s possible that it’s been so long that I’ve forgotten what a “real” Chicago Style Pizza tastes like, and the bar is pretty low on a good homemade one, but Ryan likes it, too, so it must be a decent¬†facsimile!

The Dough

  • 1 Package Active Dry Yeast
  • 3/4 cup Warm Water
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1/4 cup Corn Oil
  • 2 1/2 cups All-purpose Flour
  • 2 tsp. Salt
  • 1 tsp. Olive Oil

In a mixing bowl, dissolve the yeast with the water and sugar. Add the corn oil and blend. Add the flour and salt and mix thoroughly. If using a stand mixer with dough hook, mix for four minutes at medium speed until the dough is smooth and pliable. (If kneading by hand, knead for seven to eight minutes.) Turn the dough out of the bowl and knead by hand for an additional two minutes. Add olive oil to a deep bowl. Place the dough ball into the bowl and turn it twice to coat it with the oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel. Let the dough rise in a warm place for two hours. Do not punch it down. Spread and push the dough ball across the bottom and up the sides of a Chicago Style Pizza pan.

The Chicago Classic

  • One Dough Ball (Pressed across the bottom and up the sides of a Chicago Style Pizza pan)
  • 1 lb. Ground Pork
  • 1 Tbsp. Fennel Seed
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. pepper
  • 2 tsp. Grated Romano Cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups Crushed Tomatoes, Drained (from a 28 oz. can)
  • 1 tsp. Dried Oregano
  • 1 tsp. Dried Basil
  • 12 oz. Slice Low-moisture Mozzarella Cheese
  • 2 tsp. Grated Romano Cheese

1. Mix the ground pork, fennel seed, salt, pepper, and 2 tsp. Romano cheese in a bowl and set aside.

2. Mix the crushed tomatoes, oregano, and basil in a bowl and set aside.

3. Lay the slices of mozzarella over the dough to cover.

4. Press the seasoned pork sausage into a patty that is less than 1/8 of an inch thick, (this can be done by placing the sausage between two oiled sheets of foil and rolling it out with a rolling-pin). Place the sausage patty over the cheese.

6. Spread the seasoned tomatoes over the sausage.

7. Sprinkle the remaining 2 tsp. Romano cheese over the tomatoes.

8. Bake on the middle rack of a 475 oven for 25-30 minutes until the crust is golden brown and pulls away from the sides of the pan.

9. All the pizza to rest for 3-4 minutes before cutting.

So, there it is. If you’re craving Chicago Style Pizza, but are in a place where Chicago Style Pizza is nowhere to be found, this is a fairly simple way to replicate it at home. Serving it with a Chicago “accent” is, of course, optional!