19 January 2012

Reindeer Calzone – Recipe

Calzones are a great portable dish, but I prefer to eat mine while slumped in front of the TV, remote control in one hand and a cold beer in the other. I tend to save it for when I've had one of those days as there's something very comforting about the crisp, yet chewy dough, combined with the molten hot interior of tomatoes and mozzarella.

Italian tradition dictates that calzones are filled with leftover vegetables, but you can pretty much add anything you like. Here's a little Nordic twist on this classic dish that uses reindeer salami instead of the more popular pepperoni.
Reindeer meat is ubiquitous in the Nordics, having been a part of the region's cuisine for hundreds of years. It has a wonderful taste, akin to a gamier version of venison, and is tender, very lean, and packed with vitamin E and omega-3. Reindeer meat is free-range, sustainable, and very versatile – you can check out a winter-warmer recipe for reindeer stew as well as a bit about reindeers and their centuries-old link to the indigenous Sami people here.

For this recipe I use a salami that is made from reindeer meat mixed with some fattier beef and pork as well as some herbs and spices. It tastes like a gamier and less fatty version of pepperoni.

Ingredients (makes 2 large or 4 medium sized calzones)
For the dough:

  • 500g plain flour (I use tipo '00 flour)
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 50g fresh yeast (or 1 sachet dried yeast) 
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 4 tbsp olive oil

For the sauce/filling:

  • 1 tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tbsp tomato ketchup
  • Reindeer salami (or pepperoni), sliced
  • A few mushrooms, sliced
  • A handful of basil leaves
  • 2 balls of mozzarella, sliced
  • 2 tbsp olive oil

Method
1. Add the milk to 200ml of warm water and dissolve the yeast in it

2. In a mixing bowl add the yeast mix and olive oil to the flour and salt and mix well (if necessary add more water or flour to get a dough that is soft but not too sticky)

3. Knead the dough for 10 minutes or use a mixer with a dough hook attachment

4. Cover with a damp cloth and leave the dough to rise in a warm place for 30 minutes
5. To make the sauce heat the olive oil in a saucepan and gently fry the garlic for a minute or two over a medium heat making sure the garlic does not burn

6. Add the tinned tomatoes, oregano, ketchup and simmer gently for 30 minutes (longer won't hurt) until reduced by around half so you have quite a thick sauce. Season to taste with salt and pepper. (You can make the sauce in advance and keep it in the fridge until needed)

7. Preheat oven to 220°C (fan)

8. Once the dough has risen turn it out onto a work surface and portion into 2-4 equal balls depending on how many calzones you're making

9. Roll out each ball into a disc and spread a layer of the sauce over half of the disc

10. Add the slices of reindeer, mozzarella, mushrooms and a few basil leaves
11. Brush the edges of the dough with water and fold over the dough to make a semi circle. Seal the edges by pressing firmly with your fingers, trimming any excess

12. Brush the tops of the calzones with olive oil and cook in the over for 10-15 minutes until golden