I came up with this dish because of giant white beans I purchased in Santa Fe, NM. They are imported from Spain, which is totally against my principles. It is for that reason (and the $9/pound price!) that I am reluctantly saving a cup of beans to grow at the farm next season.
I realize that there are a lot of steps for these calzones. First, you have to make the dough and let it rise, then you have to prepare the toppings, and finally assemble and bake. Oh yes, and don’t forget to heat your baking stone in the oven for about an hour. The first time can be a real ordeal. Don’t expect to eat before 10:30 PM, as many a dinner guest has found out at my house. However, once you get the knack of it, can be quite simple to create all the necessary parts of a calzone throughout a busy day. Also, as I have mentioned in previous posts, I do a lot of food preservation, so I usually have ready made pesto, pizza dough and beans on hand. I highly recommend preserving locally grown foods for the winter, as well as extra portions of pizza dough and quantities of cooked beans.
Do not be intimidated by pizza dough. It is the easiest, most forgiving dough, once you figure out what it should look and feel like. Besides, I have done the difficult work of finding a stellar recipe and tweaking it to perfection. I use half bread flour and half spelt flour. The spelt flour lends an incredible flavor to the crust. Use high quality olive oil; you can really taste it here. I have only made this dough using a standing mixer. It is extremely wet, yet, after several minutes of mixing at high speeds, it changes form completely. Bread flour has a high gluten content. The long mixing time and high water content allows the gluten strands to form and strengthen the dough so you end up with an elastic dough that turns into a crunchy, chewy crust.
I use the back of a sheet pan, heavily floured, as my pizza peel. Make sure to use the back, so the rim doesn’t get in the way!
Giant White Bean and Kale Calzones
FOR THE DOUGH
Adapted from Sam Sifton.
1-1/2 cups bread flour (I use King Arthur brand)
1-1/2 cups whole spelt flour (I use a locally grown and milled flour, Wild Hive brand)
1-1/2 cups cool water, with about 1 TBS removed
1 tsp active dry yeast (use 3/4 tsp if you are making this the day before baking)
2 tsp sea salt
3 TBS extra virgin olive oil
In the bowl of a heavy duty standing mixer, whisk the flours, yeast and salt together. Add the water and olive oil. Using the paddle attachment (not the dough hook) mix the dough on low speed for 1 minute, then on medium-high for about 8 minutes. The dough will be wet. Stop the mixer when the dough forms a ball and pulls completely away from the sides. This should take at least 5 minutes. If it happens before 5 minutes, the dough is not wet enough, if it never happens, you need to add more flour. Always add flour 1-2 TBS at a time.
Let dough rest 10 minutes. Lightly oil a large bowl. Turn dough into bowl and turn it over so it is coated with oil. Cover the bowl tightly with a damp towel. Let rise for about 2 hours. If using the next day, transfer into the refrigerator after 1-1/2 hours. Bring to room temperature 1 hour before using.
Preheat baking stone on the bottom rack of the oven at 500 degrees one hour ahead of time.
THE TOPPINGS (some instructions to follow recipe)
4 handfuls steamed, chopped kale
12 roasted cloves of garlic
4 TBS pesto
1 cup caramelized onions with rosemary
1-1/2 cups cooked giant white beans, sauteed until crispy
Clear off a large work surface. Heavily flour the counter top. Heavily flour the back side of a sheet pan. (I use a sheet pan as a pizza peel. If you own a pizza peel, you can use that.) Split the dough into 4 pieces. Handling one piece at a time, flatten dough into a circle, about 10 inches in diameter. If the dough sticks to your hands or the counter, use more flour. Once you have achieved a good size circle, place dough onto the floured back side of the sheet pan. Move it around a bit to make sure it isn’t sticking anywhere. (Repeat this several times as you form the calzone.) Spread 3 cloves of roasted garlic on half the dough, then 1 TBS pesto on top, then a small handful of kale, then 1/4 cup caramelized onions. Fold the other half of the dough over the mound of fillings. (This dough is very stretchy, so you can gently stretch it to fit if you need to.) Press the edge together all around and fold it in on itself. Make three small slash marks across the top to let the stream out as it bakes. Shake the pan back and forth to make sure the calzone is completely free. Open the oven and slide the calzone onto one side of the the hot stone. Close oven and repeat. I can bake two calzones at a time on my stone. They take 15-20 minutes each.
Notes on toppings:
Roasted Garlic: Take head of garlic (or two or three or more), remove all dirt, and slather with olive oil. Place it in a square of (recycled) foil (or one of those fancy enameled cast iron garlic roasters so you don’t have to waste foil!) and bring the sides up to cover it completely. Roast in a hot oven for 30 minutes to an hour. NEVER turn the oven on simply to roast one head of garlic! I often throw on it when I am baking something else, just to have it around.
Soak beans in water over night. Cook in plenty of water for about two hours, or until the beans are soft throughout. Drain desired quantity of beans and saute in a bit of olive oil and salt until toasted on each side. These beans are amazing. They really get crispy on the outside and stay soft on the inside.
Caramelized Onions: Use about 6 onions. Slice ends off and peel. Slice into strips from the center, like you would slice an apple. Cook over low heat in enough oil to coat the pan for about 30 minutes. Towards the end, add fresh or dried rosemary. Turn off heat. Add balsamic vinegar if desired.