A few weeks ago, I was asked to judge the Bolla Wines’ national “Taste of Your Town” pizza contest over at the Brown-Forman compound. The nationwide contest asked people to create a pizza recipe that represented his or her state or region. Five regions were selected, and the selected winners competed head to head (mouth to mouth?) for a chance at the grand prize trip to Italy to visit Bolla’s winery in Verona and attend the World Pizza Championships.
What this meant to me was I got to eat weird pizza and drink some Bolla wine. Here’s what I judged:
Southeast: Southern Peach ‘n’ Pulled Pork Pizza
West: Chanterelle pizza with arugula-pumpkin seed pesto and chevre
Southwest: Chipotle Chicken Enchilada Pizza
Midwest: Cornhusker Pizza with roasted corn and bacon
Northeast: Seafood Apizza with fresh clams and lemon juice
As you may have guessed from the title, Patrick Stapleton of Augusta, Ga., won with his Peach & Pork pizza … and it just so happened to be my favorite of the night as well. The Chicken Enchilada Pizza took a close second, in my opinion. Here is the recipe, if you’re so inclined and want me to come over for dinner. I’ll bring the wine.
Southern Peach ‘n’ Pulled Pork Pizza
By Patrick Stapleton
1 12” prepared pizza crust
1 (3-4 lb) pork shoulder roast or boston butt (or store bought prepared pulled pork)
1 ½ cup Vidalia onion, sliced (or other sweet onion)
1 1/2 cups water
1 pound frozen peaches (thawed)
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons jalapeño peppers, chopped
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1/3 cup bourbon (optional)
1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
2 1/2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dry mustard
Salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
If making homemade pulled pork, it should be done day ahead and kept refrigerated. For an easier version, buy store-bought prepared pulled pork.
Place half of the thinly sliced onions in bottom of a slow cooker. Add pork and water, along with remaining onion slices. Cover and cook on low for 8 to 10 hours. Shred pork with a fork and discard fat. Refrigerate if not used immediately.
Add oil to medium saucepan, cook onions and peppers over medium heat until softened, 5-8 minutes. Chop peaches and add them to pan leaving a small portion to the side. Add vinegar and bourbon (optional), heat for 5 minutes. Add tomatoes, honey, mustard, brown sugar and spices.
Simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until peaches are very tender, about 30 minutes. Let sauce cool and puree in blender.
In another medium saucepan add pulled pork and 1 cup of sauce, heat for 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Spread sauce and pulled pork evenly over dough and half of mozzarella and cheddar cheeses. Add slices of Vidalia onion and remaining chopped peaches. Top with the remaining cheese. Cook pizza in 450-degree heat for 12-15 minutes until cheese is melted. Slice and enjoy this Italian classic with a good ole’ Southern twist.