I can count on (less than) one hand the number of times I’ve eaten at a California Pizza Kitchen. The food’s not bad, it’s just that if I want to go out for pizza, I have a handful of more traditional non-chain places I steer toward. But then, when I’ve gone to California Pizza Kitchen I didn’t choose a traditional pizza either. While they offer traditional pizza toppings, the more interesting offerings include California club (topped with avocado among other things), Thai chicken (topped with peanut sauce and Thai veggies), and a pear and gorgonzola thin crust. My favorite menu item (although I admit I haven’t done extensive research) is the barbecue chicken pizza. It’s nontraditional enough that I don’t feel like I’m straying from my local pizza joint but traditional enough that I still feel like I’m eating things that belong on a pizza.
When looking for a new pizza crust to try, I came across a recipe for copying the barbecue chicken pizza from California Pizza Kitchen. It was even better than what they serve in the restaurant! This means that I don’t even have to think about driving almost an hour for one if a craving ever hits. The pizza crust recipe makes enough for two pizzas, the amount of toppings listed below is for one pizza. If you want to use both of the crusts from the recipe to make this barbecue chicken pizza, you’ll need to double the toppings listed below. I wouldn’t blame you if you did that because this pizza really is that good. As far as the barbecue goes, I recommend something smoky for this (Sweet Baby Ray’s is my favorite) as it’ll compliment the smoked Gouda nicely. Go easy on the barbecue and toppings, the crust is on the thinner side and you don’t want the toppings to overwhelm the crust. I forgot to add the fresh cilantro that the original has before we devoured this and it was still delicious but a sprinkling of cilantro won’t hurt it one bit either.
California Pizza Kitchen Barbecue Chicken Pizza
- one half of this crust recipe
- 8 oz. boneless, skinless chicken breast
- 3/4 C. your favorite (preferably smoky) barbecue sauce, divided
- olive oil
- kosher salt
- 8 oz. smoked Gouda, sliced thin
- 1/2 of a medium red onion, cut in half and sliced very thin
- chopped cilantro, to taste (optional)
Heat oven to 375 degrees.
Line a glass baking dish with aluminum foil.
Sprinkle both sides of the chicken with salt and then place into the baking dish.
Pour 1/2 C. of the barbecue sauce over the chicken and then turn the chicken over to coat both sides with barbecue (add additional barbecue if needed to ensure that the chicken is coated).
Bake the chicken for 20-25 minutes, until the chicken is fully cooked.
Cut the chicken into a fine dice and set aside until you’re ready to top the pizza.
Turn the oven up to 500 degrees.
Roll or stretch out the pizza crust. Either square or round is fine- I made a round pizza, it was about 12 inches in diameter. If you’re using a pizza stone, sprinkle it with cornmeal. If you’re using a baking sheet or metal pizza pan, drizzle it with olive oil.
Place the crust onto the prepared stone/ pan, then drizzle a little olive oil over it and sprinkle on some salt.
Spread the remaining 1/4 C. of barbecue sauce evenly over the crust.
Top the sauce with half of the sliced Gouda.
Sprinkle half of the diced chicken and red onion over the Gouda.
Top with the remaining half of the sliced Gouda, then the remaining chicken and red onion.
Bake for 15-17 minutes, until the crust is golden brown and the toppings bubble (watch the pizza as it can burn quickly in just a few extra minutes).
Remove the pizza from the oven and sprinkle on the chopped cilantro if using.
Cut and serve immediately.
Makes 8 slices.
Source: slightly adapted from The Pioneer Woman