Well, life handed me cherries at only $1.99 per pound, so I decided I needed 10 pounds. I thought I better snack on them and throw them into everything I ate so they wouldn’t go to waste. Then, I realized I could just pit them and freeze them. Duh.
Seven pounds made it into the freezer before I turned into a cherry, thank the good Lord.
But, before the freezer, I snatched a few for our pizza. Barbecue chicken pizza, turned into Cherry Barbecue Chicken pizza. Yes, I made cherry barbecue sauce, from scratch, and it was easy. The cherries enhanced the sweetness, but the liquid smoke kept it smoky. Sweet and smoky, just like I like it. And, yes, I drizzled the sauce on my pizza along with a few more chopped cherries.
One of our favorite pizzas yet. As soon as you try it, you’ll stop thinking I’m crazy.
- 2 cups fresh or frozen sweet cherries , pitted and chopped
- 2 Tablespoons dark brown sugar
- 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup water
- 3 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon beef bouillon granules
- 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/4 teaspoon ground Cayenne red pepper
- 2 Tablespoons liquid smoke (found in most supermarkets)
- 3/4 cup ketchup
- Olive oil
- 1 pizza crust (store-bought or homemade)
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup cherry barbecue sauce (ingredients above, recipe below)
- 1 cup thinly sliced cooked chicken
- 1/2 to 1 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese
- One quarter of a sweet onion , thinly sliced
- 1 cup fresh cherries , pitted and chopped
In a medium sauce pan, cook the cherries and sugar over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the cherries are softened and releasing much of its juice (about 7 minutes). Add the butter and stir until melted. Mix in the rest of the ingredients and heat to a low boil, while whisking frequently. Reduce the heat to low, and let simmer while whisking, for 10 minutes. Strain, to remove cherry pieces and for a thinner sauce, or puree in a food processor, or let it be chunky. Up to you.
Preheat oven and pizza stone to 475 degrees F for 30 minutes. In a small bowl, combine the chicken with a few tablespoons of the barbecue sauce; set aside.
Roll out pizza dough to a 12-inch round, on parchment paper sprinkled with cornmeal or on a pizza peel. Brush olive oil on the edge. Spoon about 1/4 cup of the cherry barbecue sauce over the surface of the dough, leaving 1/2-inch border. Sprinkle on half of cheese. Layer with sliced onions, barbecue smothered chicken and cherries. Top with the remaining cheese.
Carefully transfer pizza to the pizza stone. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, until the crust is golden and cheese is bubbly. Remove from oven, let stand for 5 minutes then slice and serve.
The sweet and smoky sauce is good for just about any dish where you want to add some barbecue flavor. The cherries only add sweetness to the recipe, not necessarily a fruity component. Don't shy away just yet.