Creamy Chicken & Broccoli Calzones

Pizza. Is. Life. There is no disputing it. The great thing about calzones is that they’re just pizza, but a pocket! A pocket pizza…? Hot pocket…? Pizza pocket…? Whatever you call it, it. is. delicious. Soft on the inside, crispy on the outside, fresh, homemade pizza crust stuffed with your favourite pizza toppings and sauces and there you have it, a handheld wonder!

Calzones remind me of Friday nights being a kid, my dad making homemade pizza crust, toppings laid out on the counter, salami’s, sauces, cheeses, veggies…all ready to be put inside and folded up! It was messy, but it was a blast. Now I make them for myself, and it’s far less messy, but equally as delicious!

Now you can fill calzones with whatever floats your boat. But I LOVE this filling. Creamy, garlicky sauce, tender broccoli, chicken, lemony deliciousness and a bit of a kick with some chili flakes! They’re a nice change from the traditional pizza fillings. Honestly these don’t even have cheese in them because they’re delicious without it (I never thought I’d say that!), but throw some in if you want! Also, you could use the filling to serve over pasta if you wanted!

The pizza crust couldn’t be easier. It’s my favourite crust. Besides having an amazing texture, and it’s full of herbs…it’s super easy. Is there anything else you’d want, really? You should keep the pizza dough recipe for all your pizza needs, not just these calzones! My trick for any dough is to preheat the oven to 170 fht. while I’m mixing it. Then I turn the oven off while I’m kneading, and by the time I’ done kneading, the oven is a nice warm little draft free place for the dough to rise beautifully and quickly!

These also freeze wonderfully! Just heat up in the oven and you have pizza pockets at your whim!

You can make them as big or small as you like, but I make 4 of them out of one recipe. If you make them smaller, they’ll make great snacks – these ones are meal size!

These are a fun change from traditional calzones – you can switch up the veggies with asparagus or peas or even green beans, you know how I love to be able to switch things up!

These are:

  • Creamy & lemony;
  • Crispy on the outside, soft on the inside;
  • Herby;
  • Make ahead & freezer friendly;
  • Easy to play around with the veggies & spices!;
  • Delicious switch up to regular pizza!

Creamy Chicken & Broccoli Calzone

Pizza Crust:

  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 2 1/4 tsp. active dry yeast (the same as one packet)
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp. dried basil
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder

Filling:

  • 2 chicken breasts, cubed
  • 1 cup milk (2% is fine)
  • 1/2 tbsp. flour
  • 4 tbsp. butter
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups broccoli (frozen is perfect)
  • Basil, to taste
  • Zest & juice of one lemon
  • Chili flakes, to taste
  • Salt & pepper, to taste

To make dough:

Add warm water, oil and sugar to a large bowl. Sprinkle active dry yeast on top and let sit for 5-10 minutes until foamy.

In a separate bowl combine the rest of the dry ingredients. Once the yeast mixture is ready, start adding in the flour mix gradually while you mix. If the dough seems to dry, add in water a few drops at a time.

Once it’s combined, turn the dough out onto a flat, floured surface. Knead the dough until it becomes smooth and elastic, avoid over mixing or the dough will become tough.

Put the dough into a large bowl, and drizzle with oil. Turn the dough in the oil to coat it. Cover with a towel and let rise in a warm, draft free place. (See my tip for great rising in the post above!) Let rise for 1 hour or until doubled in size.

Once the dough has rose, turn out onto a floured surface and punch down. Divide into 4 or 6 equal balls (depending how many calzones you want).

Roll out the calzone balls to 1/4 inch thick. Fill with calzone toppings, fold, pinch, and bake.

You can also use this dough to make regular pizza!

To make filling:

In a large saucepan, heat olive oil up over medium/high heat. Add cubed chicken and cook until almost brown. Add onion and garlic, season with salt & pepper and cook until soft and chicken is brown. Remove mixture from the pan onto a plate. In the pan, melt butter and add flour. Whisk to combine and cook the flour to create a roux.

Once the roux is thick and hot, add milk, whisking constantly until smooth. Add back in chicken and onion mixture, and add in broccoli florets. Cook over medium/high heat until the sauce has thickened.

When the sauce has thickened, add in lemon zest, lemon juice, basil, chili flakes. Taste and add more seasoning as needed (more chili, salt & pepper or basil).

To put calzones together:

Preheat oven to 375 fht. Roll out dough balls out into 1/4 inch thick circles.

Spoon filling by tbsp’s onto the the middle of the dough, leaving a 1/2 to 3/4 inch border around the border of the dough – how much filling you use is depending on how big of circles you rolled out.

Fold dough over to make a semi circle. Pinch dough seams together and roll the the seam to make a crust around the edge. Skor the top of the calzone once or twice with a sharp knife.

Bake calzones on a pizza stone for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.

Freeze leftovers and reheat in the oven for a quick meal!

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