Blue corn is the inspiration for this recipe which takes modern pizza in a unique direction that celebrates Indigenous ingredients and culture. The beating heart of this crust is authentic blue cornmeal milled from maize grown by Native Americans on reservation lands – a crop cultivated by tribes for hundreds of years.
Paired with seasonal squash and yellow corn – two components of the Three Sisters farming tradition and crops – this cheesy gourmet “pie” balances bright flavor with tang and sweetness. No meat is necessary, as the flavor of farm-to-table veggies comes alive with a little coaxing from ghost pepper sea salt, tomato balsamic sauce, and a sprinkling of fresh toppings after the pizza is pulled from the oven. Add flourish with generous touches of fresh mint or amaranth leaves, a few slices of red onion, and more kernels straight from the cob – all of which will add wonderful texture and complexity to each bite.
Corn played an important mythological role in many tribes as well– in some cultures corn was a respected deity, while in others, corn was a special gift to the people from the Creator. In addition to its importance as a food source, corn also played a ceremonial role in many tribes, with sacred corn pollen or cornmeal being used as ritual adornment and spiritual offering.– Native-Languages.org
Don’t be intimidated by homemade pizza dough as you attempt this recipe. It must be made a day ahead of time but it comes together easily after a little practice and requires very little kneading. Like most modern pizza dough, it’s an adaptation of the methodology created by Jim Lahey’s no-knead dough. The crucial component for this recipe is to use the correct types of flour and cornmeal in the right proportions. You may choose a different method of proofing your dough or one you are already familiar with, which is fine. But do not try to adapt this recipe for the non-yeast method. It will not work as well. A little time and effort yield wonderful results.
Butter and honey subtly complement the taste of the blue cornmeal, bringing out the flavor while not overpowering the crust. Do not skip these ingredients.
The toppings are minimal: a tangy sauce, fresh veggies, and 3 types of cheese. Experiment with your ingredient placement for a pleasing presentation. Consider adding beans to complete the Three Sisters experience. You can order beautiful heirloom tepary beans from Ramona Farms. They are grown by Native American farmers in a tradition passed down through generations with special bean varieties that were nearly extinct in the 1970s, until Ramona revived the crops.
Bake your pizza in a hot oven around 500 degrees. Baking times may vary depending on crust thickness and your method. The goal is a beautiful browning with a crispy texture and a chewy crumb. Use a little olive oil to coat the crust with your fingertips prior to cooking. Add a dusting of blue cornmeal to the crust and bottom of the pizza for added texture and visual appeal.
Serve your pizza as a special family or date night treat. It provides an exciting alternative to classics like pepperoni and Margherita and celebrates the rich history of Native American food culture. You can tell your guests in Kiowa that It’s Good by saying Gyah-td’ah-gyah! Click here and scroll down to the audio to learn how to pronounce it.
At the base of the legendary Sleeping Ute Mountain, between Four Corners Monument and Mesa Verde National Park, lies the home of the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe. The tribe’s 7,700 acre farm uses sustainability practices to proudly produce award-winning NON-GMO Bow & Arrow corn products.– Bow & Arrow Brand
Blue Corn Pizza Dough
- 125 ml 00 Flour (Caputo) [approximately 1/2 a cup]
- 375 ml Bread Flour (White Lily) [approximately 1 1/2 a cups]
- 1/3 cup all purpose flour (unbleached, reserve and use as needed if too much water is added)
- 5 Tbsp Blue cornmeal (Bow & Arrow Brand)
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp instant dry yeast (or your preferred yeast)
- 1 Tbsp sugar
- 1 Tbsp honey
- 1 Tbsp melted butter
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 3/4 cup room temp water (add more as needed)
Two Sisters Pizza Toppings
- Butternut squash slices (pre-cooked)
- Fresh corn on the cob kernels (pre-cooked)
- 1 cup of tomato sauce
- 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 small ball of fresh mozzarella (hand torn pieces)
- 1 cup shredded package of pizza blend cheese
- 1/3 cup shredded parmesan
For pizza dough, add dry ingredients to a large glass bowl and whisk to incorporate. Set water and 1/3 cup of all-purpose flour aside. In a small bowl, whisk together melted butter, sugar, and honey. Add to dry mixture and begin incorporating water. Knead dough inside of the bowl for 3 - 5 minutes until well-formed. If overly wet, use reserved flour.
Set the bowl aside and cover with a damp towel for 30 minutes. Return and knead the dough for 3 to 5 minutes. You may divide into two balls at this point for two large pizzas or keep in one large bowl (should be large enough to contain the dough if it doubles in size). Wrap the bowl in plastic wrap tightly and refrigerate. Your dough can cold-proof (rise) for 24 to 48 hours. Remove 30 to 45 minutes prior to using.
[Note: this method is adapted from NYT Cooking, which adapts Jim Lahey's no-knead method)
The dough will need to come to room temperature for the gluten to relax. Gently form a crust with your fingertips by stippling near the edge. Hold up the dough from the center using your knuckles and allow gravity to help gently stretch it out. Alternatively, you may lay it on a baking sheet tossed with blue cornmeal or oil and gently stipple and stretch it into shape.
Mix tomato sauce with balsamic vinegar and spread on dough. Add cheese and toppings. Dust crust edge with blue cornmeal. Bake at 500 degrees in a pre-heated oven for approximately 10 minutes or until the crust is golden and the top is bubbling. Use a pizza stone if you have one.
Garnish with more fresh corn, mint leaves, red onion, and good sea salt. I recommend a ghost pepper salt. Drizzle with olive oil.
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