Thursday 28 November 2013

Herbed Focaccia with Juicy Chicken Stuffing

Wow! That's the first thought that came to my mind when I took the first bite of this perfectly baked delight. I had called over a friend for dinner (who also shares the same plight as mine with husband touring most of the time) and wanted to bake something with chicken. I went through a big array of blogs and sites looking for the "this is it" recipe. However, nothing seemed to impress me. Everywhere it was the same old grills and pies or pizza recipes but nothing that really made me jump into action. Finally, when I had almost made up my mind with a simple quiche, I chanced upon this interesting recipe which would not only serve as a whole meal in itself but also give me the chance of experimenting something new. I had found my "this is it" recipe. While I stuck to the recipe for the focaccia, I did the stuffing differently to give a variation to the original recipe. It was a huge hit and I was a happy baker!

For the Focaccia
2 1/2 cups bread flour (or 2 1/4 cup all purpose flour and 3 tbsp wheat gluten)
1 1/2 tsp instant dry yeast
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1 cup warm water (a little less than that in actuals)
2 tbsp olive oil

For the stuffing
1 cup boneless chicken, boiled and shredded
2 tbsp worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp tomato ketchup
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 medium onion thinly slced
1/2 inch ginger finely chopped
2 cloves garlic finely chopped
Fresh coriander leaves chopped
1/2 cup mixed bell peppers, chopped
1 fresh red/green chilli finely chopped
2 tsp olive oil

For the topping
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp basil
Few slices of tomato (preferably cherry tomatoes; I used regular ones)
Coarse salt for sprinkling

In a bowl, add the warm water, sugar, and yeast and let it stand for about 10 minutes till it starts frothing. In a separate bowl, take the flour and salt and make a well in the center. Pour the yeast mixture little at a time and knead a soft non sticky dough. Add the olive oil and continue kneading for another 5-10 minutes till you have a soft elastic dough. If you find the dough too sticky, you can add 1-2 tbsp additional flour. You can transfer the dough on a lightly floured surface for more comfortable kneading. I prefer doing it in the working bowl. Once the dough is done, lightly grease the bowl and cover the dough in a cling wrap. Keep it in a warm place, probably the microwave or the oven, for 1 1/2 to 2 hours till the dough doubles in size. 
While the dough is proofing, prepare the chicken stuffing. In a medium skillet, heat the olive oil and fry the onions till translucent. Add the garlic, ginger, and chopped chillies. Sauté for sometime. Add the three sauces and stir in the shredded chicken. Mix well. Lastly, add the bell peppers and give a stir and remove from heat. Cover and keep aside. Reserve the coriander leaves for last minute addition. 
Meanwhile, your dough must be ready for the second proofing. Punch out the air from the dough without overdoing it and divide the dough into two halves. Keep a greased baking dish ready by the side. Take a cookie sheet and placing one of the dough halves on it, roll it out into a circle. Make sure you roll the dough uniformly and big enough since it will shrink a bit once placed on the greased baking dish. Now evenly spread the stuffing onto the rolled out dough placed on the baking dish. Sprinkle the coriander leaves on top generously. Note that no salt was added to the stuffing as the sauces already contain a fair amount of it. However, check the seasoning as per your taste and liking. Roll out the other half of the dough in a similar fashion and place it on top of the stuffing and seal the edges. You might notice some air bubble between the two rolled out sheets. Gently press the top of the baking dish with the cookie sheet you used for rolling out the dough and let the air bubble release. Cover tightly with either the cookie sheet or a cling wrap and keep aside in a warm place for 45 minutes for the second proofing. 
Mix everything for the topping except the tomatoes and the salt and keep aside. Pre-heat the oven at 175 degree celsius on toast mode. Take out the baking dish and with your fingers, imprint small dimples on the dough. Arrange the tomato slices on the top and finish with generously pouring the olive oil topping. Sprinkle salt and bake for 25-30 minutes until a golden crust is formed. Serve warm.


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