I had an idea once to create "Haute Pockets." My whole plan was to start up this boutique-y, niche handpie stand that sold only delicious, gourmet meat pies - haute pockets. Get it? Like Hot Pockets? But not gross. (Have you ever READ the ingredients in a Hot Pocket? Eeeeeeew.)
This meal marks the day that that dream came alive - not in the form of a full-blown restaurant concept, but in the form of a dinner eagerly devoured by myself and my Surname Twin, Lindsay.
(It's worth adding this little anecdote: we had a hard time getting the cork out of the wine, but - undaunted - we shoved the damn thing, painstakingly, down into the bottle, ultimately spraying about a half cup of red wine all over us and the kitchen. It was a volcano of Shiraz. Everywhere. It went absolutely everywhere. But the great thing about runining the cork is that you're basically obligated to drink the whole bottle. Twist my arm.)
The whole idea for this meal came when I thought to myself, "Calzone? How hard can that be?" And it turned out to be, in fact, not hard at all! My theory was basically accurate: imagine making a pizza, then folding it in half. Then baking it. Then eating it much like a starved wolf would descend on a freshly-deceased rabbit.
I also had a whole ball of leftover herb whole wheat pizza dough in the fridge, not to mention enough lamb to feed...someone who could eat 2 pounds of lamb.
It wasn't exactly like folding a pizza in half, but it was really simple. And wonderful: Meat! And cheese! In a handheld pocket! Haute Pocket, indeed. Read on to see how it all came together...
1 and 1/2 c. leftover roasted lamb, cut into smallish chunks
1 whole wheat herb dough ball, cut in half
flour for rolling out the dough
1 container light ricotta cheese, drained
1/2 c. freshly grated parmesan cheese
1 lb. baby bella mushrooms, sliced
1 T. olive oil, plus more for brushing
salt and pepper
fresh thyme leaves
cornmeal for the pizza stone
1 c. crushed tomatoes
2 T. tomato paste
dry Italian herb blend
red pepper flakes
salt and pepper
splash of red wine
Mixed salad greens
Preheat oven to 425. Heat olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Put the mushrooms in the pan in one layer, and don't touch or stir them for about 5-6 minutes, until they have developed some nice color on one side. Shake the pan and continue cooking them until they are browned well.
Roll out the two dough balls until they are very thin circles. In a large bowl, mix the ricotta, leftover lamb, cooked mushrooms, thyme, salt and pepper, and parmesan until well blended. Scoop spoonfuls of the mixture onto one half of the dough, leaving a 3/4 inch edge for sealing. Fold the empty half of the dough over the filling and press the edges to seal, rolling the dough inward slightly to make an edge.
Brush a pizza stone or baking sheet with olive oil and sprinkle with cornmeal. Make a few small slits in the top of the calzone for steam to escape. Brush with olive oil. Bake at 425 for 15-20 minutes, until browned and crisp on top and bubbly inside.
While the calzone is baking, heat the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, wine, and seasonings in a small saucepan. Cook until reduced a bit and thickened to make a marinara for dipping. Assemble the salad and toss in a little dressing. Remove calzones from oven. Serve with the marinara and salad and enjoy!
The calzone came out delicious. I made two, but they were so enormous that Lindsay and I split one (I may or may not have had another half after she left. You have no proof!).
Linz, thanks for coming by on short notice. And thanks for reading! More soon...