Sunday, September 8, 2013

Beef Pocket

There is a pizzeria that we use to live by that made fantastic beef pockets. Sadly they don't delivery 45 minutes away.  :(

But the recipe that I threw together could quite possibly be better then the pizzeria.

It's fairly simple, the crust is homemade, thick and tender and a crunchy outer shell.
The beef filling I use is Papa Charlie's Italian beef (that stuff is SOOO good).

If you are an experienced baker, this crust recipe is a classic and you pretty much know what expect. But if you are new to the whole bake it yourself, I'll go step by step. It really is pretty easy, especially if you you have a stand mixer (Kitchen Aid).

Pizza Crust Dough


3 to 3 1/4 cups flour
1 package (2 1/4 tsp.) active dry yeast
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup hot water (120 degrees to 130 degrees)
2 tbsp. cooking oil
Combine dry ingredients in a mixing bowl. 

Add water and oil.

Mix with dough attachment or by hand until it is stiff and smooth and elastic. 

Place in a large greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap to rest for an hour, or until double in size (if just crust for pizza, divide dough in two halves)

Place in a warm area, the counter should be fine, just away form cool or cold drafts. I placed mine in the sun to act as a proofer*.

Once the dough is doubled in size, roll out on a floured surface with a rolling pin to a desired size** (about twice the size of your baking pan).

While you are prepping the dough, preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Next take a fork and poke holes into it. This is called docking the dough, perforated holes like the ones you see on saltine crackers.
Let it rest for 5 minutes.

Now it is ready for the filling.

*A warm and moist area (usually a box) that the dough sits in and helps it to rise quicker. The plastic wrap locks in the moisture so the dough doesn't dry out and get a crust on it while it rises.

**If you want to make just a regular pizza, about 13 inches is ideal for both crusts. Or, you don't have to divide the dough and you can make it a thick crust.

Beef pocket


1 1/2 pounds of Italian beef in juice
2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
          or an Italian cheese mix, shredded
1/4 cup milk
1/4 tsp. oregano
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. ground basil
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1 Pizza crust (see above recipe)

I used Papa Charlie's Italian Beef that you buy frozen at the super market. Let it thaw to room temp or thaw in the fridge. Separate the juice in another container (you will use this as the dipping juice).

Add the beef and the cheese to one side of the pocket.

Moisten the edge (on the filling side) with milk at least 1 inch width.

Next, fold the empty half over the filling and pinch and fold the ends to lock in the insides.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl combine the rest of the dry ingredients. Mix well.

Brush the top of the crust with milk and sprinkle the cheese mix on top evenly.

Cover the crust with aluminum foil and place in the oven for 30 to 35 minutes, about 10 minutes prior to being done, remove the foil to get a nice golden brown finish.

The last 5 minutes it's in the oven, place the juice in a medium sauce pan and heat on low until hot.

Portion out the juice into little cups for dipping.

It's best to serve right away, you don't want to miss that gooey cheesiness!

It is one of my favorite comfort foods, all that cheese and beef! YUM!