I never read the menu when I go to California Pizza Kitchen. There's no need, since I already know what I want: The Original BBQ Chicken Pizza. The tangy-spicy-sweet sauce, the gooey cheese, the chunks of tender chicken... It's about as far from an authentic pizza as you can get, yet somehow it all works.
But I don't live near a CPK. Luckily, this particular pizza is remarkably easy to replicate at home. Using ready-made dough, store-bought barbecue sauce and rotisserie or leftover cooked chicken, it comes together in no time—the hardest part is waiting for the oven to heat up.
- 1 pound refrigerated pizza dough
- 8 ounces cooked chicken, chopped
- 1/3 cup prepared barbecue sauce, divided
- 1/2 cup shredded smoked Gouda cheese
- 3/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
Position an oven rack in the lowest position and place a pizza stone on it. Preheat the oven to its highest setting, 500°F or higher, for 30 minutes to 1 hour.2.
While the oven is preheating, allow the dough to come to room temperature on the counter. Toss the chicken with 2 tablespoons of the barbecue sauce and set aside.3.
Cut a piece of parchment to fit your pizza stone and place the dough on it. Use your fingers to gently press and stretch the dough into a large circle. Spread with the remaining barbecue sauce, then scatter the chicken on top. Sprinkle the pizza with the Gouda and mozzarella cheese, then top with the onion.4.
Carefully transfer the parchment with pizza onto the pizza stone. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until crust is browned and cheese is bubbly. Sprinkle the cilantro on top just before serving.
Debbie Koenig is the author of the cookbook Parents Need to Eat Too. She lives with her family in Brooklyn.