Beef and Mushroom Tart

I believe there is more to life than pizza!  There….I said it and I’ll stand by it no matter what anyone says.  The fact that you are reading this tells me I am not alone.  And I have two words for that:  Thank GOD!

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I live in a household of men…no girls…just me against the testosterone.  So it is no surprise to most people who know me, that I am not a dainty thing, but I am still….not a guy!  While it is true that I live in the home of Carnivorous Rex times 3, I have made it my life’s work (sort of) to show that there is something more than cheese and pepperoni that can be put on a crust.  I am not just talking about veggies.  I’m talking about flavor.

This dish is an example of what can happen when you think outside of the (pizza) box. I started with the crust itself.  I make my own but you can still add flavor to even the store bought in the can ones.  Before you start pressing it out.  Sprinkle your favorite herbs (oregano and thyme) over it….get wild and sprinkle on sunflower seeds!  Just press it all in while you press out the crust.  The flavors and extra crunch will just add to the enjoyment of it all.

Next…forget about the sauce.  What??  Yep, I said no sauce.  Instead of making a sauce with the flavors.  I am going to put the flavors right onto the meat.  Yes…..there will be meat my little carnivores…tasty meat.

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By concentrating the seasoning into the meat portion, I knew I could use leaner meat and get even better flavor.  And of course, there will be veggies, sauteed first and a cheese that gave you lots of flavor so you could keep the quantity in check.

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What you get is known as a savory tart.  And it makes for a great meal.

You’ll need:

A whole wheat pizza crust with herbs (use any good pizza crust recipe and add 1/2 Tbs each of dried oregano and thyme and 1/2 tsp each fresh ground black pepper and garlic powder.  Also add 1/4 cup of roasted sunflower seeds if you like.

Or add these to your “in the can crust” from the grocers and  press them in while you press out the crust.

Olive oil as needed

1 Tbs dried Guajillo pepper flakes

8 oz mushrooms (crimini or portabella) sliced

1 large yellow onion, chopped

1 1/2 cup peppers (sweet or spicy or both!) chopped

1 lb of lean ground beef or 1/2 beef and 1/2 ground turkey

1 Tbs dried oregano

1 tsp each dried sage and fennel seeds

2-3 Tbs sun dried tomato jam

4 Tbs balsamic vinegar

2 Tbs sweet chili sauce

2 Tbs good red wine

2 Tbs apple cider vinegar

1/4 cup fresh basil, finely chopped or 2 Tbs basil sauce

1/2 cup each kalamata and castelevano olives, rinsed & drained

salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

1/2 cup fresh herbs (parsley, basil or cilantro) medium chop

1-2 cups cheese (big flavors here)  feta, manchego, sharp cheddar, asiago

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Heat a large skillet over medium hi heat, add about 2 tbs olive oil and pepper flakes, then add your sliced mushrooms to brown them. You do this with hi heat to drive off the high moisture content in the mushrooms.  Wait!-don’t stir for at least 3 minutes or so-you will get great browning for your patience.  After the mushrooms are browned,  return to medium heat and add the onions and peppers.  Saute until they soften.  Now add the meat and let it brown, breaking into smaller pieces.  Add dried herbs, tom jam, vinegar(s), chili sauce and wine.   Give it a good stir and turn up the heat and let the sauce reduce as much as it will.  Add the olives. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Preheat oven to 425 F.

Press your pizza dough out on a half sheet pan while your filling cools down.  Spread the filling out over dough leaving an 1 1/2 inch border.  Add the fresh herbs and top with cheese.  Pull the edges of the dough up and over the filling to make a brendle.

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Place in oven for 20 minutes until the crust is lightly browned.  Let stand for 5 minutes before you cut the crust.  Drizzle with balsamic glaze if desired.  Enjoy!

This reheats beautifully and makes a great boxed lunch.

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