Southwestern Calzone Almost Fail

Homemade calzone stuffed with chicken, peppers, and corn makes for a delicious southwestern meal.


Southwestern Calzone Almost Fail

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I cooked some calzones over the weekend because they won last week’s poll and they were darn close to a huge mess.  Honestly, I would probably lock this guy away in the “never to be posted” file except for two things:

1) You guys voted for a calzone so I felt obligated to post on one, even if it isn’t top notch.

2) The filling for this calzone is out of this world.  So you need to know about it.

Unfortunately my calzone dough left a lot to be desired.  I have a quick fix for that though… use a different recipe than I did!

Southwestern Calzones

4 Calzones
Prep Time:
Total Time:

Just a moment please...

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Homemade calzone stuffed with chicken, peppers, and corn makes for a delicious southwestern meal.


1.5 pounds chicken breasts, diced
2 ears sweet corn
1 anaheim or poblano pepper, diced
1 jalapeno, seeded and diced
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1/4 Cup salsa
6-8 ounces pepper jack cheese, grated
Pinch of salt and pepper
1 egg, beaten with a tablespoon of water for egg wash

Calzone/pizza dough (I wasn't happy with the dough recipe I tried, so this is my standard pizza dough recipe which is surefire.)

5 Cups (22.5 ounces) bread flour
1 1/2 Tablespoons honey or sugar
3 Teaspoons kosher salt
1 1/2 Teaspoons instant yeast
3 Tablespoons olive oil (plus more for the dough later)
1 3/4 Cups room temperature water

Show Directions

For dough…

1) Add all the ingredients except flour to a large bowl and let sit until yeast starts to bubble.  Add in flour and stir together with a large spoon until the dough comes together.

2) Dip one hand in a bowl of warm water and vigorously knead the dough in the bowl, constantly turning the bowl, until the dough comes together and starts to firm up, about 4 minutes.

3) Let the dough rest for 5 minutes.

4) Continue to work it for another 2-3 minutes until the dough is soft and smooth and very elastic.

5) Cut the dough into 4 pieces, roll each quarter into a ball, and add each ball to a plastic bag coated lightly with olive oil.

6) Let dough sit at room temp for 15 minutes and then store in the fridge overnight.

7) Remove the dough from the fridge 2 hours before making pizza.

To Make Calzones:

1) Char corn by placing it directly on a gas burner or on a grill.  Turn every 30 seconds or so until the kernels are lightly charred.  Remove and cut corn off the cob.

2) Add oil to a large skillet and heat over medium-high heat.  Add chicken and cook until cooked through, about 8 minutes.  Add peppers and cook for another few minutes until peppers start to soften.  Add corn and salsa and stir until warm.  Season with salt and pepper.

3) Roll a calzone dough out into a 6-8 inch round.  Add grated cheese to bottom half of calzone and top with about a cup of filling.

4) Fold calzone over, being careful to press out as much air as possible.  Crimp edges of calzone so it is sealed well.  Slice a few slits in the top of the calzone so steam can escape.  Brush calzones with egg wash.

5) Bake calzones on a greased/oiled baking sheet for 25-30 minutes at 375 degrees until they are golden brown and the filling is bubbling.

6) Let cool for a few minutes before serving.

Dough Issues

I’m not even going to link to the dough recipe I tried out for these guys because I found it to be not great.  I guess it’s possible that I messed it up, but I found that it was way too bready and didn’t really brown correctly.  Don’t get me wrong, it was completely edible, but I’m pretty sure we can all do better.

The recipe I included is for my standard pizza dough which I’ve used to make calzones many times with great results.  I was just trying a new recipe this time around and it didn’t work out great.

Luckily, the process for making the dough is pretty much the same regardless of recipe.  Start by combining the sugar, salt, yeast, oil, and water in a bowl and let it sit until the yeast starts to bubble, about five minutes.  Then add that to your flour and stir it until it forms a ball.  Knead the dough vigorously with your hand by dipping your hand in water and working it.  Do this for about 10 minutes and the dough should be really soft but not sticky at all.  If it ever gets really sticky, you need to add in more flour.

The dough.

You can also use a stand mixer to make the dough in which case you just work it with the dough hook for about 5 minutes until it’s soft, but not sticky.

Immediately cut the dough into your four pieces for calzones and then put them in a lightly oiled plastic bag.  Let them sit at room temperature for about 15 minutes and then move them to the fridge for at least two hours, although overnight is best.  Remove them from the fridge about 90 minutes before you want to make the calzones.

The Filling

While the dough was kind of a bust for me, the filling was right on.  It was pretty basic, just some chicken and spicy peppers.

Part of the filling…

The really tasty part of the filling though was some Olathe sweet corn that is now in season.  If you don’t know about this stuff, I’m pretty sure it’s the most advertised vegetable I’ve ever seen.  There are commercials for it every 30 minutes here in Colorado.  It’s in every store with huge signs over promoting it’s awesomeness.

Don’t get me wrong.  It’s very good corn, but hey… it’s still just corn.

sweet corn
The most advertised corn in history.

I tried something new for the corn this time around.  I husked it and just slapped it right on my burner like I would if I were roasting peppers.  Normally I would’ve grilled it, but it was raining while I was making this recipe, so I tried this method out.  Turn it every 30 seconds or so until it’s very nice and charred.

It worked like a charm!

Char baby char!

To make the rest of the filling, just add some oil to a large skillet and cook the chicken until it’s cooked through over medium-high heat.  Then add the diced peppers and cook until they are slightly soft.  Finally add in the charred corn and a good dollop of salsa.

Stir this all together and you’re ready to make some calzones!

Ready to fill!

Making and Baking Calzones

Once your filling is done for the calzones, roll out one of your calzone doughs into about an 6-8 inch round and put about an ounce or two of grated cheese on the bottom half of the dough.  Then pile in as much filling as you think will fit!  I wouldn’t use more than about a cup per calzone, but go crazy.

filling the calzone
Stuffed full.

Fold the calzone over and press out as much air as possible from the inside.  Pinch the calzone around the outside edges to seal it well and then cut a few slices in the top of the calzone so that steam can escape as it cooks.

As you do these, line them up on a well-greased baking sheet and brush them all with a bit of egg wash.

Don’t forget to oil the pan…

Bake these guys for about 25-30 minutes at 375 degrees.  They should be golden brown on the outside and the filling should be nice and bubbly.

Not the prettiest thing in the world…

As I said, I wasn’t 100% happy with the dough recipe I used.  As you can see in the above photo, it was really doughy and didn’t quite brown enough for me.  I like a really crispy crunch on my calzones.  It was totally edible, but I think you’ll have better results with the recipe I listed above.

If you have leftover filling it goes great in quesadillas or tacos.  Honestly, it’s so delicious you could just eat it with a spoon!

13 Responses to “Southwestern Calzone Almost Fail” Leave a comment

  1. That looks really good–I'll be filing that away in my "things I must try" folder! Though I will stick to "my" pizza dough recipe. Was the filling spicy? I have small kids and wasn't sure if I should plan something else for them.

  2. Nick – A dough recipe will usually fail like yours for a couple of reasons:

    375°F is a pretty low heat for a pizza-like product. With pizza, the trick is to get it into the oven hot, cook it in a flash, quickly. 375°F will just produce an insipid dough, like what you have there.

    It looks like there wasn't a lot of fat in the dough as well – or sugar. The sugar will feed the yeast, but it also will aid in the caramelization of the proteins in the flour.

    Their doesn't look to be too much rise? I would guess that you added the salt in with the water and sugar for activating your yeast. Salt kills yeast, or inhibits its growth, so by adding it to the water first you are actually slowing the fermentation process down. (A lesson I learned first-hand in school)

    Try this on for size: lose the egg wash (you won't need it.)
    When you are making your dough, mix the salt in with the flour, and let the yeast froth with the honey.

    Have your oven at least 450°F, then make your calzone. If you have a pizza stone in the oven, even better!

    Don't brush anything on top. Bake your calzone until the inside is nice and bubbly. (You will be able to see it because you have slashed your dough.)

    When it comes out, I like to bush a touch of olive oil on the top and sprinkle some coarse red sea salt, but I'm weird that way.

    Let it stand for a couple of minutes, and then serve. Should be good to go.

  3. I made it for dinner last night, thought I left out the chicken and added a bell pepper. I thought it was quite good, very fresh and surprisingly light.

  4. Hey Nick,

    I made this dough last night to have some calzones for Thursday night football and wont be needing all four sections. They will be in my fridge until about 6 tonight, can I then put two in the freezer or should I have done that last night after making them?

    1. Hey Sammi, you should be able to move them to the freezer without a problem. I’m assuming they are cooked which is just fine. Just wrap them tightly and freeze them!

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