CALIFORNIA GRILLED CHICKEN FLATBREAD
Active Prep: 45 min. Inactive Prep: 1 hr. 30 min.
Difficulty: Medium
Yield: 2 flatbreads


When Chili’s recently retrofitted their kitchens with new equipment, including a conveyer oven, the chain introduced a line of flatbread pizzas that were not only a big hit with customers, but this new dish also went on to win the Menu Masters 2014 New Menu Item Award from Nation’s Restaurant News. For my hack of the very popular California Grilled Chicken Flatbread you first must make a couple of 16-inch-long flatbreads from scratch—and don’t worry, it’s not that hard to do. The flatbreads are topped with an easy-to-make roasted garlic aioli, pico de gallo, and grilled chicken. Once these components are made, you assemble the flatbreads and bake them for about 10 minutes. There’s no need to make the tomato-based sauce from scratch since I found that Ragu traditional pasta sauce is a close enough match to what Chili’s uses to top its flatbreads and it’s one of the most widely available and inexpensive sauces in stores.

Ingredients

FLATBREAD
7 ounces (1⅓ cups) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon fast-rising yeast
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
½ cup warm water (105 to 110 degrees F)

ROASTED GARLIC AIOLI
4 large garlic cloves (see Tidbits)
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
½ cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon milk
½ teaspoon lime juice Pinch of salt

PICO DE GALLO
½ cup diced Roma tomato (1 large tomato)
2 tablespoons diced red onion
1 tablespoon diced jalapeño (½ of a jalapeño)
½ teaspoon lime juice Pinch of salt
1 skinless chicken breast fillet
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil Salt Ground black pepper
6 tablespoons Ragu traditional pasta sauce
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
2 slices cooked thick-sliced bacon, crumbled or chopped
2 teaspoons grated Parmesan cheese
8 avocado slices (½ of an avocado) 2 teaspoons chopped cilantro

How to prepare


  1. Combine the flour, sugar, salt, and yeast in a medium bowl. Make a well in the flour and add the oil and water and mix by hand until you can pick up the dough, then knead it with your hands for 5 minutes. If the dough is tacky, add a little more flour. Cover the dough and let it stand in a warm spot for 1 hour.
  2. While the dough rises, make the garlic aioli by first roasting some garlic. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F and rub 4 large peeled garlic cloves with 1 teaspoon of oil. Arrange the garlic in an oven-safe dish or on a small baking pan and roast them in the oven for 10 minutes, then flip the cloves over and roast for another 10 minutes. They should be starting to turn brown. Cool, then smash the garlic with the flat side of a chef’s knife and finely mince. Combine the minced roasted garlic with the other aioli ingredients, then set it aside until needed. 
  3. Make the pico de gallo by combining all of the ingredients in a small bowl and set aside. 
  4. After the dough has been sitting for 1 hour, preheat your oven to 450 degrees F. 
  5. Roll the dough out to slightly more than 16 inches long by 10 inches high on a well-floured surface. You are going to trim the dough to 16 x 10 inches with straight edges so you want some extra dough to trim off. It will be very thin. I find that a pizza wheel works great to trim the dough. Once you have a 16 x 10-inch rectangle, slice through the middle, creating two 16 x 5-inch portions. Carefully place the dough portions on parchment paper on an 18 x 13-inch sheet pan. Brush with extra virgin olive oil and use a fork to poke several holes in the dough to prevent bubbles from forming. Bake for 6 to 8 minutes or until the top is just beginning to brown. Use a fork to pop any bubbles that begin to form. Remove the flatbreads from the oven and cool. When cool, seal the flatbreads in plastic wrap if you’re not using them right away. They will last for a couple of days. 
  6. Preheat your grill to high heat to cook the chicken. Flatten the chicken breast with a kitchen mallet, then rub it with some oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill for 4 to 5 minutes per side until done. You can also cook the chicken using a grill pan on your stovetop preheated over medium heat. Slice the chicken into bite-size pieces when it’s done.
  7. When you are ready to bake your flatbreads, preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. With the flatbreads on the 18 x 13-inch sheet pan, spread 3 tablespoons of pasta sauce on each. Combine the shredded cheeses and cover each flatbread with cheese. Divide the chicken and arrange the pieces on the cheese, then sprinkle each one with the crumbled bacon. Bake the flatbreads for 10 to 12 minutes or until the cheese begins to brown on top and the flatbread is darkening around the edges. 
  8. When the flatbreads come out of the oven, sprinkle each one with about 1 teaspoon of Parmesan cheese. Drizzle garlic aioli over the top of each one (a squirt bottle works well for this) and sprinkle some pico de gallo over each flatbread. Arrange 4 avocado slices on each flatbread, then finish each with a sprinkle of chopped cilantro. Use a pizza wheel to slice the flatbreads into four even portions, then sliced diagonally through each of those pieces making eight triangular slices for each flatbread.
You want enough garlic so that you will have 1 tablespoon of minced garlic after it’s roasted. Rather than roasting your own garlic, you can use 1 tablespoon of bottled roasted garlic, which is found in many stores


CHIPOTLE CHICKEN FLATBREAD

Active Prep: 45 min. Inactive Prep: 1 hr. 30 min.
Difficulty: Medium
Yield: 2 flatbreads



If you like your grub with a little kick to it, this is the flatbread for you. Chili-rubbed chicken tops this four-cheese flatbread that’s drizzled with a flavorful chipotle pesto. All of the components to replicate Chili’s popular spicy flatbread pizza are here, including a thin flatbread crust made from scratch. Since the amount of dough produced with this recipe is small, I found mixing and kneading the dough by hand to be the best method. This recipe makes two flatbreads, which is enough to serve four people.

Ingredients

FLATBREAD
7 ounces (1⅓ cups) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon fast-rising yeast
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
½ cup warm water (105 to 110 degrees F)

 CHIPOTLE PESTO
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
⅓ cup grated Parmesan cheese
¼ cup pine nuts
3 tablespoons pureed canned chipotle peppers (see Tidbits)
1 tablespoon white vinegar
2 cloves garlic
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon dried basil
 ⅛ teaspoon ground black pepper

PICO DE GALLO
½ cup diced Roma tomato (1 large tomato)
2 tablespoons diced red onion
1 tablespoon diced jalapeño (½ of a jalapeño)
½ teaspoon lime juice Pinch of salt
1 skinless chicken breast fillet
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil Salt Ground black pepper Chili powder
6 tablespoons Ragu traditional pasta sauce
⅔ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
 ⅔ cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
⅔ cup shredded medium cheddar cheese
2 teaspoons grated Parmesan cheese
2 teaspoons chopped cilantro

How to prepare


  1. Combine the flour, sugar, salt, and yeast in a medium bowl. Make a well in the flour and add the oil and water and mix by hand until you can pick up the dough, then knead it with your hands for 5 minutes. If the dough is tacky, add a little more flour. Cover the dough and let it stand in a warm spot for 1 hour.
  2. While the dough rises, make the chipotle pesto by combining all of the ingredients in a blender and blending on high speed for 10 to 15 seconds or until the nuts are ground up. Set aside.
  3. Make the pico de gallo by combining all of the ingredients in a small bowl and set aside. 
  4. After the dough has been sitting for 1 hour, preheat your oven to 450 degrees F. 
  5. Roll the dough out to slightly more than 16 inches long by 10 inches wide on a well-floured surface. You will trim the dough to 16 x 10 inches so you want some extra dough to trim off. The dough will be thin. A pizza wheel works great for trimming the dough. Once you have a 16 x 10-inch rectangle, slice lengthwise through the middle, making two 16 x 5-inch-long rectangles. Carefully place the dough portions on parchment paper on an 18 x 13-inch sheet pan. Brush the top with extra virgin olive oil and use a fork to poke several holes in the dough to prevent bubbles from forming. Bake for 6 to 8 minutes or until the top is just beginning to brown. Use a fork to pop any bubbles that begin to form. Remove the flatbreads from the oven and cool. When cool, seal the flatbreads in plastic wrap if you’re not using them right away and they will last for a couple of days. 
  6. Preheat your grill to high heat to cook the chicken. Flatten a chicken breast with a kitchen mallet, then rub it with some oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill for 4 to 5 minutes per side until done. Just before removing the chicken from the grill, sprinkle it with a little chili powder. Remove the chicken from the grill and slice it into bite-size pieces. You can also cook the chicken using a grill pan on your stovetop preheated over medium heat. 
  7. When you are ready to bake your flatbreads, preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Spread 3 tablespoons of tomato sauce on each of the flatbreads on the 18 x 13-inch sheet pan. Combine the shredded cheeses and cover each flatbread with cheese. Divide the chicken and arrange the pieces on the cheese. Bake the flatbreads for 10 to 12 minutes or until the cheese begins to brown on top and the flatbread is darkening around the edges
  8. When the flatbreads come out of the oven, sprinkle each one with about 1 teaspoon of Parmesan cheese. Drizzle chipotle pesto over the top of each one (a squirt bottle works well for this) and sprinkle some pico de gallo over each flatbread, followed by a little chopped cilantro. Use a pizza wheel to slice the flatbreads into four even portions, then slice diagonally through each of those pieces, making eight triangular slices for each flatbread. 

Make the chipotle pepper puree by pouring a small can of chipotle peppers with all of the adobo sauce plus ⅓ cup of water into a blender and blending on high speed for 15 seconds or until smooth

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