Making Deep Dish Pizza [split from MSP]
(Note: this thread was split from http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/387336 -- The Chowhound Team)
I'm originally from NJ (don't hold that against me, please) and find the pizza here abominable with the exception of Punch and Black Sheep. Having eaten awesome deep dish pies in Chicagoland, I sympathize with those who miss it. The ONLY way to get it here is to make your own, and believe me, it ain't that hard. You need to buy a good black pan, like the one made in the US by Hillside Metal Ware. It's not expensive, check Amazon. Next you need to become familiar with the method for making "no-knead" pizza dough. Google it. Once you figure this out you've got a prep time of maybe five minutes and a cost of about $3, $4 with the more expensive toppings. Yes, you can make it in your home oven, from scratch, even on a workday. But you NEED a black pan to get it crisp.
I agree with just about all of the suggestions and tips here. I use a heavy, black, 10" cast iron pan, heavily buttered. 6-in-1 tomatoes from Escalon are my favorite tomatoes to use for any type of pizza, not just deep dish (and I actually bake New York style or American pies much more often than deep dish). Also mentioned here, absolutely use dry cheese. I like shredded, and a provolone/mozzarella combination isn't bad at all.
The only suggestion above that I do not employ is prepping the vegetables before it goes in the oven. I absolutely brown sausage before putting it in my deep dish, but I do not saute, roast or otherwise cook any of the vegetables before putting them in my pie. I like the crunch and not-as-sweet flavor retained by vegetables that are only cooked in the pie.
Ditto - from NJ, hard to find pizza I like here.
About deep-dish pizza - before having it in Chicago, I'd had bad versions of it, and thought that deep dish, in general, was awful. Then 2 things happened: 1) I went to Chicago and had deep dish at Gino's East; and 2) realized that the experience is completely different from eating either NY style or neopolitan pizza. NY style, that's a snack. Or a cheap dinner. Eat it on the go, in the car, at home on a paper plate, whatever. Neopolitan is more sit down, more or a dinner, but I can eat a full pizza from Punch or Black Sheep, plus a salad, and entertain thoughts of desert. But deep-dish, the stuff in Chicago, it's a meal. One piece is a meal. It's an event - you wait a long time to get the stuff. It takes a while to eat through one piece. You eat it with a knife an fork. It's just a different beast than other pizza types. Once I started thinking of it that way, it really changed my view of deep dish.
And, I'm very intrigued by the "make it yourself". I never considered it, but it sounds doable. Thanks!
I agree that you can make it home and the black pan is key. You want a nice crispy crust. A couple of tips - line your pan with plenty of butter for that nice "Malnati's" style crust. Also, if you can find 6 in1 tomatoes for your sauce, you'll save yourself a ton of time (http://www.gourmetitalian.com/6-in-1-...).
I like to prep my vegetables before they go into the pizza as well. That means roasted green peppers or sauteed onions (and cooked sausage) before the pie goes into the oven.
If anyone wants to try this, I'd be interested in your results. Please post.
One more thing - being from NJ isn't all that bad. I bet you crave some red sauce Italian or a nice sandwich from time to time though...