No more peristalsis with deep-dish pizza soup | Bleader

No more peristalsis with deep-dish pizza soup


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Deep dish soup
As far as local cultural icons go, deep-dish pizza is the culinary equivalent of Al Capone. People all over the world who don't know Chicago continue to identify it with Chicago, and when they mention it, you're embarrassed first for yourself and then for them. With a few exceptions, there's no good reason anyone should inflict deep-dish on the alimentary canal more than once in a lifetime. That was my thinking when I took on deep-dish soup for last week's Soup & Bread at the Hideout, which was somewhat obscurely themed "Chicago vs. Chicago." With a hat tip to Friend of Food Chain Kristina Meyer, my aim was to produce a chunky, bechamel-thickened tomato-mozzarella soup with the viscosity of a Wisconsin beer cheese soup (which is something I imagine forward-thinking Cheeseheads suffer as their own culinary indignity). I didn't quite get there, but the results turned out better than I'd imagined. Near the end of cooking I added fistfuls of shredded scamorza that never fully integrated into the soup, so there were tiny bits of gooey, stretchy cheese held in suspension that had the effect of adhering to the teeth the way it does when you force a slab of deep-dish into your pie hole. If I'd been thinking straight, I would have served this with big, buttery croutons, but instead I used those mini Italian bread sticks called grissini. A scaled-down version of the recipe follows.

Deep-Dish Soup

For the bechamel:
2 T flour
2 T butter
1 cup hot milk

Melt the butter in a saucepan and whisk in the flour until it forms a paste. Slowly stir in the hot milk, and continue stirring until the mixture thickens. Take off the heat and set aside.

For the pizza sauce:
1 T olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cup tomato puree
1 T minced fresh oregano
1 T minced fresh basil
A few dashes of fish sauce, to taste

Saute the garlic in the oil briefly over medium heat. Add the onion and saute until soft. Add the tomato puree, herbs, and fish sauce, and simmer on low while you prepare the soup base.

For the soup:

4 cup chicken broth
1 T olive oil for sauteeing
1/2 lb Italian sausage, formed into tiny meatballs
1/2 cup pepperoni, sliced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1/2 cup pitted Kalamata olives, sliced
1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
1 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella or scamorza cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus more for garnishing

Bring the broth to a brisk simmer in your soup pot. Meanwhile, saute the sausage, pepperoni, green pepper, olives, and mushrooms separately on high heat in the olive oil, until each becomes slightly charred. Add the pizza sauce to the broth, and then slowly whisk in the bechamel until the soup thickens and begins to coat the whisk. Add in the pizza toppings, followed by the cheeses, and stir until they melt and blend into the soup. Serve with crushed red pepper and grated Parmigiano-Reggiano on the side.

Mike Sula writes about cooking every Monday.

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