Deep dish pizza with boerewors, tomato & red onion

I recently had the pleasure of creating recipes for Compagniesdrift Wines, with photography by my good friend Tasha Seccombe. Their red blend, the Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot 2021, is a wonderful any-day-of-the-week wine which lends itself to easy and informal foods like pizza, braaied meats and boerewors, or tomato based pasta. This is my Chicago-inspired rendition of a South African boerewors roll – a hearty, deep dish pizza pie with nuggets of beef boerewors, drenched in a delicious tomato sauce, topped with roasted baby tomatoes and some sliced red onion (tastes like “smoor”!). Oh, and did I mention three types of cheese?

If you haven’t had a deep dish pizza pie before, it tastes exactly like a pizza, but slices and behaves like a pie. You’d imagine that the sauce and toppings might be “swimming” in there, but they don’t – the filling is quite stable when it rests for a few minutes. Make sure to bake it at a high temperature to make sure the crust turns dark brown and is fully cooked. So generous and so delicious!

Ingredients: (serves 4)

Note: The interesting part of assembling a deep dish pizza is that the cheese comes straight on the dough, followed by the toppings and sauce, and topped with more cheese. This way, the cheese prevents the bottom from turning soggy with moisture.

For the roasted tomatoes:

250 g baby tomatoes
30 ml extra virgin olive oil
15 ml red wine vinegar
2 sprigs thyme, woody stalks discarded
a pinch of sugar
salt & pepper, to taste

For the pizza dough:

2 cups (280 g) white bread flour, preferably stone ground
2 tsp (10 ml) instant yeast
1 tsp (5 ml) sugar
½ tsp (2,5 ml) salt
180 ml lukewarm water
15 ml extra virgin olive oil

For the base sauce:

2 Tbsp (30 ml) olive oil
2 cloves garlic, finely grated
1 x 680 g jar tomato passata
2 tsp (10 ml) sugar
1 tsp (5 ml) smoked paprika (optional)
salt & pepper, to taste

For assembly:

1 Tbsp (15 ml) uncooked polenta
400-500 g thin boerewors, pan-fried and chopped into bite size pieces
1,5 cups mozzarella cheese, coarsely grated
¼ cup parmesan cheese, finely grated
about 60 g bocconcini (optional)
a few slices of red onion (or brown onion)
a handful fresh basil leaves


Prepare the tomatoes: Preheat the oven to 160 C. Arrange the tomatoes in a single layer in a small baking tin or medium size iron skillet. Drizzle all over with the oil and vinegar, then scatter with thyme leaves & sugar and season with salt & pepper. Roast for 1 hour at 160 C, then remove from the oven and set aside.

Prepare the dough: While the tomatoes are roasting, add the flour, yeast, sugar and salt to a large mixing bowl and stir to mix. Add the water and oil, then stir until the mixture starts to clump together. Mix further by hand, kneading to a smooth dough (about 5 minutes). Leave in a medium size oiled bowl, covered, until doubled in size (about 30-45 minutes).

Prepare the sauce: While the dough is proofing, heat the olive oil in a small saucepan and fry the garlic for just 1 minute until fragrant (don’t let it turn too dark). Add the passata, stirring, then add the sugar & paprika and season with salt & pepper. Stir, then turn the heat down to a simmer. Cook for 10-15 minutes over low heat, then set aside.

Assemble the pizza: Preheat the oven to 230 C. Lightly oil a 23 cm iron skillet and scatter the surface all over with polenta (to prevent sticking). When the dough is ready, turn it out on a lightly floured surface. Roll to a diameter of about 35 cm, then carefully transfer to the pan, lining the bottom and sides evenly (you don’t have to be too neat!). Add 1 cup grated mozzarella evenly to the base, then top with ⅔ of the boerewors bites. Pour the sauce all over, then end with the last bit of mozzarella, the parmesan, the remaining boerewors, the bocconcini, some of the roasted tomatoes and a few slices of onion. Use a spatula to gently flatten the top, the bake at 230 C for about 25 minutes or until golden brown and fully cooked. Remove from the oven, let it rest for 5-10 minutes before slicing, then top with fresh basil, slice and serve with the remaining roasted tomatoes on the side.

This recipe was created in proud collaboration with Compagniesdrift Wines.

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