Smoky Cajun-Style Shrimp’n Bacon Pizza with Crispy Cornbread Crust

Lidia Haddadian - 1st. Place Winner


1/2 cup warm water (110-115 degrees F)

1 teaspoon double acting instant yeast

1 ½ tablespoons sugar, divided

3 tablespoons plus 1 ½ teaspoons olive oil, divided

1 – 6.5 oz package Martha White yellow cornbread mix

3/4 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for kneading

6 slices (6 oz) smoked bacon

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 ½ cups chopped onions

1 cup each chopped red, yellow and green bell peppers (3 cups total)

1 tablespoon crushed garlic

1 1/8 teaspoon sea salt, divided

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 3/4 cups store-bought pizza sauce

2 teaspoons cajun seasoning

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

½ tablespoon apple vinegar

24 medium (about ½ pound) raw shrimp, peeled and deveined

1 cup shredded Jack cheese

8 ounces smoked mozzarella, cut into small cubes

2 cups baby arugula

1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes, or more to taste



1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F.

2. In a medium mixing bowl, combine warm water, yeast and 1 tbsp sugar; allow to sit for 2 minutes; add 2 tbsp olive oil, Martha White cornbread mix and flour; knead with hands (adding more flour if needed), just enough to form a dough that doesn’t stick to hands; form into a ball and let it rest covered in bowl for 15 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, in a 12-inch Lodge cast iron skillet, cook bacon till almost crispy; set bacon aside; remove all but 2 tbsp rendered bacon fat from skillet; add butter, bell peppers and onions; sauté till tender and translucent; add garlic, 1 tsp salt and pepper; sauté till it just begins to brown; reserve.

4. Brush 14-inch Lodge cast iron pizza pan with 1 tbsp olive oil; Roll out rested dough over a floured cutting board to about a 14-inch round (doesn’t have to be perfect); fold dough in half twice for easy transfer into pizza pan; unfold dough over pizza pan and carefully spread evenly till edges are filled; bake in pre-heated oven for 15 minutes.

5. Transfer 3/4 of sautéed veggies to a bowl and set aside; to remaining veggies in skillet, add pizza sauce, 1 tsp cajun seasoning, ½ tsp smoked paprika, vinegar, and ½ tbsp sugar to veggies in skillet; simmer over low heat for 5 minutes; reserve.

6. In a small bowl, coat shrimp with 1 tsp cajun seasoning, ½ tsp paprika, 1/4 tsp sea salt and
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lemon zest; drizzle with 1 tsp olive oil and toss to coat; set aside.

7. Slice previously cooked bacon into thin strips and set aside.

8. Spread sauce all over baked pizza dough, leaving about ½-inch edge for the crust; top evenly with shredded Jack cheese, ½ of reserved sautéed veggies, cubed smoked mozzarella, remaining veggies, shrimp and bacon; bake for another 8 minutes or till shrimp is cooked and cheese is completely melted.

9. In a medium bowl, toss arugula in ½ teaspoon olive oil; Remove pizza from oven, sprinkle with crushed red pepper; top with arugula. Slice and serve! Enjoy!