A long time ago, more than nine years all ready, I ate the most delicious garlic chicken calzone. It was at Coronado Brewing Company, on Coronado Island in California, when we went to San Diego for DS1's graduation from Marine Corps Boot Camp. (On a side note; WOW I can't believe time has flown so quickly; it is now a couple weeks past the tenth anniversary of the day that he enlisted, halfway through his senior year of high school and at the tender age of 17--so young that DH and I had to sign his papers giving our permission for him to enlist. Talk about entrusting your child to the government . . .)
That calzone was so awesome, so delicious, so garlicky (and I do love garlic) that I have not forgotten it. Not only haven't I forgotten it, I've wanted another one for years. But, alas, on my journeys since then (I haven't been back to California) I have not encountered another restaurant that serves a garlic chicken calzone. Nor have I been able to find a copycat recipe for the ones served at Coronado Brewing.
Last week I went poking around the internet again, looking for a recipe that sounded like it would create the taste I remembered. Locating one I thought was close enough that I could maybe fudge the rest, I gave it a try.
It came out pretty good, but a little drier and not as overwhelmingly garlicky as I remembered (even though I doubled the amount of garlic the original recipe called for.) Next time I think I might perhaps roast the garlic first, so it is more of a garlic paste, and also change the sauce a little, maybe into more of a cream sauce than a white sauce. But, for now, here's what I came up with that's totally edible if not in-your-face garlic:
Garlic Chicken Calzones
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 tsp creole seasoning
2 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp olive oil
8 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 Tbsp flour
1/4 cup chicken broth (1/4 cup water + 1/4 tsp chicken bouillon)
3/4 cup milk
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
3/4 tsp dried basil
1 1/2 cups shredded Monterrey Jack cheese
2 cups fresh spinach leaves, chopped
1 recipe pizza dough (my recipe here)
Sprinkle the creole seasoning evenly over the chicken breasts and let sit for 30 min to soak in. Meanwhile, prepare the pizza dough.
While the pizza dough is rising, cook the chicken--
Broil chicken (I typically set my broiler for 450 degrees) for about 10 min per side until done. (These were big thick breasts from a chicken that dressed to 6 pounds, thinner breasts might not take as long to cook).
While the chicken is broiling, make the sauce--
In a sauce pan, melt butter and olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic and cook for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally so the garlic does not brown. Add flour, salt and pepper; cook for 1-2 minutes stirring frequently. Slowly add the chicken broth, then the milk while continuing to stir. Add the basil and continue to cook until sauce thickens. Once thickened, remove from heat.
Dice the now cooked chicken and set aside.
Divide your (risen) pizza dough into six equal balls. Using one ball at a time, roll into an 8" circle. Spoon 1/6 sauce onto center of circle. Cover sauce with 1/6 each of chicken, spinach, and cheese. Keep the filling about 1" away from edges of dough. Fold into a half-moon, and roll edges (with fingers) to seal.
Place calzones onto a lightly greased baking sheet, and bake in 350 degree oven for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.
While the calzones are cooking, clean up the kitchen and put away your flour, seasonings, etc. Then set the table. Once the calzones are done, call the family for dinner and enjoy!