Chef Jose Mier Addresses This Ancient Rivalry
I’m all about food and I try not to play favorites so maybe I’m taking a risk today by promoting what I think is going to make your dinner guests’ eyes open wide. I’m talking about deep dish pizza and as everyone on earth probably knows it’s the pizza Chicago is famous for. Its rival city, New York touts the flat kind of pizza most of us have come to know, but the Windy City loves its special deep dish and they’re not shy about saying so.
The Chicago-New York pizza rivalry goes deep. It calls to mind ancient enemies like Rome and Carthage. And while Rome ultimately laid waste to Carthage, I don’t think New York is going to storm Chicago any time soon. Still, an argument over which is better could break out into a brawl—that’s how seriously both cities take their pizza.
Like I said I’m not taking sides. I merely think that the appearance, the weight, the PRESENCE of a huge, meaty deep dish pizza is something that will delight those you invite for a special dinner. It’s like the elephant in the room that you can’t ignore. And why should you?
Deep dish (Chicago style) pizza is a unique creature. If anything deserved the appellation of “pie” this certainly does and that’s because it truly does resemble a pie. It’s so hearty and loaded that you really do need a shovel to transfer a “slice” from dish to your plate. The larger amounts of ingredients also mean a longer cooking time that traditional (flat) pizza.
So what’s in it? Of course we start with the crust which forms the bowl into which the other ingredients are placed. These are layered in is a backwards order: mozzarella cheese, an uncooked tomato-based sauce, meats (something Chicago is well-known for) and perhaps some onions, mushrooms or bell peppers. The pizza is cooked in an iron skillet for 34-40 minutes and served in huge, hefty portions.
Now I love all pizzas but for those of us who are not from Chicago, this borders on the exotic and it’s the perfect dish to serve to hungry guests who haven’t had the opportunity to sample some of Chicago’s signature meal. Imagine the look on your guests’ faces when they come face to face with this gargantuan specialty.
Of course I encourage everyone to make it themselves—that’s part of the fun in entertaining people, plus you get to take bows when your invited friends see what you’ve created. Luckily there are enough Chicago ex-pats around that you can find a restaurant fairly close that serves this dish. For me in Los Angeles, I’m fortunate that there are a number of Chicago-style eateries such as Dough Box when I get the hankering and just don’t have the time to prepare it myself.
But you should prepare it yourself. In fact a search for “deep dish pizza” on the web returns two to three pages of videos before you get to the first written article. That just shows you how popular this food item is. And I’ve included one such video here.
Yes, it will take you an hour or two, but that’s nothing compared to other dishes I’ve touted like Beef Wellington but the smiles you’ll receive will be just as big. So, apologies to the Big Apple, take a cue from the Windy City and serve deep dish pizza at your next soiree!