File this under things we want to eat, like right now: Take a classic Philly cheesesteak and stuff it inside —not just any calzone—but a pretzel calzone. Bake it. Serve with sauce. Dip. Bite. Repeat.
So, this is just one of many examples of your fave foods being stuffed into something even more delicious than itself in Fenway food blogger Dan Whalen’s new book, “Stuffed: The Ultimate Comfort Food Cookbook.” Call it cannibalistic comfort food, if you must, but we’ve been calling it multi-layered deliciousness.
Whalen, who has been whipping out recipe hybrids like Romesco udon with tofuballs and drunken noodle lasagna on his blog The Food in my Beard for the past six years, will be speaking about his new release and making macaroni and cheese stuffed burgers (that’s right) at Trident Booksellers on Newbury Street on Feb. 18 from 7-9 p.m.. But before he caters to the masses, he shared a recipe from his book with us that you can make at home.
The Cheesesteak Pretzel Calzone
From Stuffed: The Ultimate Comfort Food Cookbook by Dan Whalen
Pretzel dough ingredients:
½ cup (120 ml) warm water
Pinch of sugar ½ (2 ¼-teaspoon) package active dry yeast
2 cups (240 g) flour, plus more for dusting
1 ½ teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon (14 g) butter, softened
Cheesesteak filling ingredients:
2 or 3 large onions
2 tablespoons (28 g) butter
1 ¼ pounds (568 g) shaved rib eye (any shaved steak will work)
1 cup (135 g) sliced banana peppers
8 ounces (225 g) Jack, American, or provolone cheese (or a mixture)
1 cup (120 g) baking soda, for boiling
1 egg Coarse or pretzel salt
Simple marinara sauce, mustard, or ranch dressing, for serving
Make The Dough:
Stir the water, sugar, and yeast together in a small bowl and allow to sit for 5 to 10 minutes until it becomes foamy.
Meanwhile, mix the flour, salt, and butter in another bowl until well combined (you can use a stand mixer with the dough hook for this portion). Pour the yeast mixture over the flour mixture and stir until incorporated, then begin to knead. Knead for about 7 to 10 minutes, until the dough is no longer sticky and is smooth to the touch, or if using a stand mixer, until it doesn’t stick to the sides of the bowl anymore.
Put your dough into a clean buttered bowl and cover with a clean towel. Let it rise for 1 hour.
Make The Filling:
Slice the onions into thin ¼-inch (6 mm) round slices. In a frying pan over medium heat, melt the butter and cook the onions until very browned and less than quartered in size, about 40 minutes.
Meanwhile, on a cast-iron flat grill or skillet, sear the meat over high heat to brown and cook through. Add the onions and banana peppers to the meat and cook together for about 3 minutes. remove from the heat and allow to cool. Mix in the cheese.
This amount of dough should make 4 large calzones with the meat. If it seems like too much dough, though, feel free to discard however much you need.
Split the dough into 4 pieces and roll it out into rounds about ½ inch (1.3 cm) thick. Divide the meat mixture evenly among the rounds. Fold the dough in half to seal the calzone. roll up the edges decoratively to replicate pretzel knots.
Boil and Bake:
Bring water to a boil and add the baking soda to it. Also, preheat the oven to 425˚F (230˚C, or gas mark 8). Beat the egg with a splash of water for an egg wash. one by one, drop the pretzel calzone packets into the boiling water and boil for about 1 minute. remove from the pot and place right on a baking sheet.
When you have boiled all the pretzels, give them all a quick brush with the egg wash and sprinkle with some coarse salt (or pretzel salt, if you can find the stuff). Pop in the oven for 15 minutes, until nicely browned and cooked through.
Serve with the simple marinara or just some mustard or ranch dressing.