Sourdough Pizza and Memorial Day

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Imagine being in a foreign country and not for friendly reasons.  You’re there because you stepped up and joined the services.  The services…Army, Air Force, Marines, Navy, Coast Guard, the services…to serve.  Many people have served this country, they sacrificed me time, family time, friends time and sometimes sacrificed everything, never able to return home again.

Serving and sacrificing for our country, the big, beautiful and diverse United States of America, is what this country was founded on.  We didn’t get to be the greatest country in the world without the sacrifices of many people, especially the men and women of the armed forces.

The people who sacrificed for this country come from every aspect of life, rich, middle class, poor, famous, white, black, Hispanic, Asian, Native American and so on.  It’s so easy to go on in our daily lives and forget what these people have done for us and how their patriotism is an example to us all.

I’d like to take a moment and introduce you to Army Private First Class Charles George, a Native American who honored his people and country with his life.

Pfc. George entered the Army service on 18 March 1954. Pfc. George, a member of Company C, distinguished himself by conspicuous gallantry and outstanding courage above and beyond the call of duty in action against the enemy on the night of 30 November 1952. He was a member of a raiding party committed to engage the enemy and capture a prisoner for interrogation. Forging up the rugged slope of the key terrain feature, the group was subjected to intense mortar and machine gun fire and suffered several casualties. Throughout the advance, he fought valiantly and, upon reaching the crest of the hill, leaped into the trenches and closed with the enemy in hand-to-hand combat. When friendly troops were ordered to move back upon completion of the assignment, he and 2 comrades remained to cover the withdrawal. While in the process of leaving the trenches a hostile soldier hurled a grenade into their midst. Pfc. George shouted a warning to 1 comrade, pushed the other soldier out of danger, and, with full knowledge of the consequences, unhesitatingly threw himself upon the grenade, absorbing the full blast of the explosion. Although seriously wounded in this display of valor, he refrained from any outcry which would divulge the position of his companions. The 2 soldiers evacuated him to the forward aid station and shortly thereafter he succumbed to his wound. Pfc. George’s indomitable courage, consummate devotion to duty, and willing self-sacrifice reflect the highest credit upon himself and uphold the finest traditions of the military service. [Source]

Memorial Day marks another occasion, the Holiday Recipe Club.  This holiday we had to choose from were watermelon, beer and pork.  I could have easily made a whole meal from that line up…ribs, watermelon salad, beer bread, etc.  But I just seem to have a problem, ahem the rebel in me does, going all traditional.  Instead I’m going all American via pizza.  Pork pizza…smoked hog jowl pizza to be exact.  Whoa, bet you didn’t see that coming?

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My family loves pork, it’s probably our most favorite meat…certainly it shows up a lot on dinner plates.  Mostly it’s because sausages and bacon come from the wonderful little piggy.  Speaking of which I just stocked my freezer with a 1/2 organic oinker…pigfest!!!

Back to the hog jowl.  It was impulse buy, I saw it there…smoked pig jowl.  Hmmm, pig jowl, interesting and wait, it’s cheap!  I couldn’t believe that this smoked hog jowl was cheap, why?  Because the only hog jowl I’ve ever had is guanciale and it wasn’t cheap, especially since it was a special order item.   Guanciale is an Italian style meat very similar to pancetta.  As guanciale is to pancetta, smoked hog jowl is to bacon, it’s even referred to as jowl bacon.

Although I am not a baker, I have been getting in touch with my baking bone.  One of the things that I have been working on is a great, yes I mean great sourdough pizza crust.  A crust that would brown (unlike the first batch of sourdough bread I made), it had to be crispy and puffy, that classic hand tossed texture and taste.  Plus it had to quick, as in I don’t want to start my pizza dough the night before (yay for sourdough, it has great flavor), and I didn’t even want to wait for a rise and punch and rise and shape.  Truth is, I’m a poor planner, and a product of the I want it now generation.

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All of this is leading to the amazing sourdough crust pizza topped with mozzarella, smoked hog jowl (make sure you remove the skin), tomatoes and caramelized onions.  I use Karen Cooks sourdough starter, you can get the recipe here, and if you’d like another sourdough recipe, my last HRC post was Chorizo and Cheddar Sourdough bread.

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Sourdough Pizza
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  1. 1 cup sourdough starter - unfed striaght from the refrigerator
  2. 1/2 cup hot tap water
  3. 2 cups all purpose flour
  4. 1/2 cup semolina flour (or all purpose flour)
  5. 1 teaspoon salt
  6. 1 package quick rise yeast
  7. cornmeal
  8. 1/2 cup pizza sauce
  9. 4 ounces shredded mozzarella
  10. 1 onion, sliced and carmelized
  11. 4 cloves garlic, sliced and sauteed
  12. 2 ounces smoked hog jowl, diced and cooked
  13. 2 roma tomatoes, sliced
  14. dried oregano
  1. Measure 1 cup sourdough starter in a mixer bowl, add hot water, flours, salt and yeast. With a dough hook attachment on a stand mixer, mix dough for 3 to 5 minutes or until dough forms a nice elastic ball. Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover and let rise until double, about 30 minutes.
  2. Place pizza stone in cold oven and preheat oven to 450F. Slightly punch down dough and divide into half. On a lightly floured surface roll dough out, let dough rest for 15 minutes. Sprinkle pizza peel or parchment paper with cornmeal, place dough on cornmeal and lightly brush with olive oil. Top with sauce, cheese, onions, garlic, diced hog jowl and tomatoes, sprinkle with oregano.
  3. Place pizza on hot pizza stone in middle of oven and bake 15 to 17 minutes or until crust is golden brown and cheese is bubbly.
The Kitchen Witch
I ask that this Memorial Day, while you are enjoying a long weekend, cooking out, camping, picnicking, working, or enjoying a sourdough pizza, take a moment and close your eyes and reflect on what sacrifices that have been made by many people so that we can enjoy the freedoms that we have.  Thank them for their service, thank them for the life that you have.

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15 Responses to Sourdough Pizza and Memorial Day

  1. Veronica May 25, 2012 at 12:01 am #

    Thank you for this thoughtful post, Rhonda! Your hog jowl pizza looks and sounds delectable, too…though you did throw me with the hog jowl-lol! But it actually does look like bacon so I think I can handle it. 🙂

  2. Pam @ The Meltaways May 25, 2012 at 5:33 am #

    Your pizza looks amazing! Lovely post, too. Absolutely perfect for this pick.

  3. Jen @ Juanita's Cocina May 25, 2012 at 5:40 am #

    This sounds amazing.

    But, even better than that, was your very inspiring post for Memorial Day. Thank you SO much for sharing!

  4. Erin May 25, 2012 at 7:16 am #

    Mmm that is one mighty fine looking pizza

  5. Jennifer @ Peanut Butter and Peppers May 25, 2012 at 7:32 am #

    Yum! Your pizza looks incredible! I never thought of a sour dough pizza crust and I live near San Francisco. We have sour dough everywhere here, but I never saw it in pizza! Clever!

  6. Erin @ Dinners, Dishes, and Desserts May 25, 2012 at 9:21 am #

    Your pizza looks amazing! Love the rebel in you 🙂

    Great intro to this post reminding everyone what Memorial Day is truly about!

  7. CJ at Food Stories May 25, 2012 at 10:33 am #

    This pizza looks as American as apple pie and it pairs superbly with your fabulous story of sacrifice and commitment. Love your food story!

  8. Colleen, The Smart Cookie Cook May 26, 2012 at 7:19 am #

    That was a beautiful tribute. I think a lot of us forget what Memorial Day is really about; we just think it’s for barbeques and summer parties. And that pizza…don’t even get me started. That crust is gorgeous! I’ve never had a sourdough crust, but if I like half as much as I like sourdough bread, then I’ll be quite happy.

  9. Anne May 26, 2012 at 1:38 pm #

    We went and saw my husbands Grand Parent’s graves today. We will go visit my Dad’s and my Grand Parent’s on my Dad’s side this weekend as well. My Dad and Grand Father were in the military so they are buried in a National Cemetery (Military).

  10. Karen May 26, 2012 at 5:04 pm #

    Very nice tribute to our troops, and thank you for including the Coast Guard… my SIL is a Coastie and oftentimes when the military branches are named, somehow the CG doesn’t get mentioned. I made some sourdough bread the other day and made a mental note to look up a recipe for SD pizza dough… and now I know just which one I’m going to use! You’ll be busy in the next several days (and months) so again I want to congratulate you for taking the big step to Missoula and wish you all the best! Break a leg! xoxo

  11. Teri @ The Freshman Cook May 26, 2012 at 5:31 pm #

    What a nice tribute, and I love the pizza! Great recipe!

  12. Nami | Just One Cookbook May 30, 2012 at 10:51 pm #

    My goodness, your pizza looks aaaaamazing! Your crust looks crispy yet it looks right texture that I love! I need to work on my homemade pizza.

  13. Eliot May 31, 2012 at 7:19 pm #

    Thanks for the tribute and history. Memorial Day is more than just a Monday off. Thanks for making us remember that.

    And PORK! Hog jowl pizza? You are adventurous. I love it! I am off to catch up with your blog. Missed reading it.

    How the heck are ya’?

  14. Tor June 7, 2012 at 9:57 pm #

    I love the sourdough twist, I’d never thought about trying that. Your photos are beautiful, too.

  15. Feast on the Cheap June 28, 2012 at 9:15 am #

    Oh my…that crust looks outstanding. Mouth is literally watering…added this to my StumbleUpon collection since I clearly need to make it!