Recipe: Breakfast Pizza with Wild Turkey Sausage
Making your own sausage from wild game is one of the best skills a hunter can learn. You can take cuts of meat that are tough and often discarded, and turn them into something versatile and packed with flavor. This past Spring I made breakfast sausage from the legs of the turkeys my dad and I killed in New Hampshire, and yesterday I decided to thaw some and use it as a topping for one of my favorite meals: breakfast pizza.
I have always loved pizza, and earned my keep throughout high school flipping pies in my hometown in Connecticut, and it's continued to have a special place in my heart. It wasn't until moving to New York that I discovered the popular brunch dish of breakfast pizza: essentially a pizza sans tomato sauce topped with a combination of cheeses, eggs, and other breakfast items like bacon or sausage. Chances are, if you like breakfast, you'll love breakfast pizza. My version incorporates shiitake mushrooms, but really the sky is the limit with what toppings you choose. If I had any ramps handy, I'd probably have thrown them in as well.
If you're going to make your own dough, I'd recommend you use the recipe from one of my favorite pizza places in Brooklyn, Roberta's Pizza in Bushwick. Sam Sifton of the New York Times Cooking does a great video tutorial on how to make it. You'll need a kitchen scale, which is the true way to measure out ingredients for dough, it is much more accurate than other methods for portioning out flour, salt, yeast and water.
If making dough is a hurtle for you, or you just don't want to make it, I've got a great life hack for you! Most pizza places will sell you dough for a few dollars, and it will be exponentially more delicious than store-bought dough (like the kind that come in the tubes that pop open.)
A large portion of dough purchased from the pizza place around the corner
from my apartment for $3.50. Makes two breakfast pizzas.
1 twelve inch round of pizza dough, stretched (see recipe)
3-4 oz. Taleggio cheese, cold
3 large eggs
3 oz. shiitake mushrooms, sliced
4 oz. wild turkey/apple breakfast sausage (see recipe)
2 tbsp. butter
1 tbsp. olive oil plus more for drizzling
sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper to taste
real maple syrup for drizzling (optional)
Preheat your oven to 500 degrees. If you're using a pizza stone or cast-iron pizza pan, make sure it preheats in the oven as well.
Heat a large, cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Add 1 tbsp. of olive oil to coat pan. Crumble the wild turkey sausage into bite sized pieces and add to pan. Sauté for about 4 minutes, turning once or twice as needed. You're looking to cook the sausage only part-way, the remainder of cooking will happen in the oven when you cook the pizza. Once partly cooked, remove from pan and set aside.
In the same skillet, melt 1 tbsp. of butter over medium-high heat, and add the sliced shiitakes. Sauté for 4-5 minutes or until the mushrooms are nicely browned and aromatic, stirring regularly. Remove from pan and set aside.
In the same skillet, melt 1 tbsp. of butter over medium heat. Crack 3 eggs into the skillet, and lightly scramble them with a fork. Cook without stirring for a minute, then turn off the burner and remove the skillet from heat. As with the sausage, here you are just looking to get the cooking process started. The eggs will finish cooking in the oven.
Lay your stretched dough across your pizza pan or stone, and drizzle the top of the dough with olive oil. Pull apart (or grate) the cheese and spread it evenly over the surface of the dough. Next, layer in the eggs over the top of the cheese, spreading evenly over the surface. Then add your sautéd mushrooms and finally your partly cooked turkey sausage. Season to taste with sea salt, and a liberal amount of freshly-ground black pepper.
Place the pizza in the oven and bake for approximately 8 minutes, or until the crust is golden-brown and the cheese is melted (cooking time will vary greatly based on individual ovens, so check on it about 4 minutes in, and rotate the pizza if one side seems to be cooking faster than the other).
Remove the pizza from the oven and let it rest in the pan or on the stone for two minutes. Slice, and if you'd like, drizzle the slices with just the smallest amount of real maple syrup, and enjoy!
The finished product!
I'm hope you've enjoyed the first of many of my planned recipe posts. Please leave a comment or any feedback if you try the recipe out! And don't be afraid to substitute. The best part about making pizza is that you can make it however you like.