Dads in the Kitchen

These days, more dads are doing the sautéing, slicing and dicing.

To some men, the challenge of the kitchen is like another sport – a guy-game given manly accreditation by popular food TV shows such as Throwdown, Iron Chef and Chopped.
I know my own son, Brian (dad to three), calls me quite often to tell me he is in the kitchen with a glass of wine, cooking up his special pan-grilled flank steak for Stephanie and the kids. For him, it’s a chance to relax and unwind after a day at the office. If you’d like Brian’s recipe, you can find it at fwtx.com.
We found three more local dads who enjoy cooking for their families. Here is a sampling of the recipes they enjoy fixing.

 

 

Kyle Beaird is a Fort Worth police officer, dad to two adorable daughters (Lucy, 5, and Leah, 3), and husband to one appreciative wife, Debby. When he’s not guarding our city, Kyle loves to hunt, garden, grill, cook and bake. “My favorite meal is one using vegetables from my garden and meat I have hunted myself,” he says. Here is his original recipe for Stuffed Venison Backstrap.

Stuffed Venison Backstrap
Yield
: 4 to 6 servings

  • 1 whole venison backstrap
  • Cooking twine

Seasoning rub:

  • 2 tablespoons Lawry’s Seasoned Salt
  • 1 teaspoon Grill Mates Montreal Steak Seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon

Stuffing:

  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup chopped green bell pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped jalapeños (seeds removed)

Preheat grill to 300º. In a small mixing bowl, stir together all seasoning rub ingredients.
Butterfly the backstrap length-wise and lay open. Spread on a layer of and rub it into the meat. Repeat with second layer of seasoning. Turn backstrap over and repeat the two layers of seasoning, rubbing both into the meat.
Fill the backstrap with stuffing and roll to make a cylinder. Tightly close the ends of the cylinder with cooking twine. Wrap the entire backstrap with cooking twine to hold securely.
Place on grill and cook 5 minutes. Turn and cook to desired temperature, or 140º for medium rare.

Ted Crofford is an orthopedic surgeon and father to Elizabeth, 20, Avery, 18, and Will, 17. With three busy kids, it’s a good thing this single dad likes the kitchen, both inside and outside. His Big Green Egg is his method of choice for rustling up family favorites, like Chicken and Sausage Paella, which is his version of a recipe he found in The Wall Street Journal.

Chicken and Sausage Paella
Yield:
6 servings

  • 1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 large, ripe tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon Spanish smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon saffron threads
  • 1 1/2 pounds chicken thighs, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 pound link sausage, cut into rounds
  • Kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 pound mixed mushrooms, sliced
  • 4 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup dry sherry
  • 2 cups Calrose rice, or any short-grained rice
  • 10 blanched almonds, ideally Marcona
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 bunch Italian parsley

1. Slice tomatoes in half and grate each on a box grater over a bowl. Discard skins; set pulp aside.
2. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in an 18-inch paella pan over high heat. Lightly season chicken pieces with salt and pepper, and brown on both sides until deeply golden. Remove chicken from pan and set aside.
3. Fry mushrooms until browned in oil and chicken fat. Remove mushrooms and set aside.
4. Heat 1/3 cup olive oil in the pan. Add tomato pulp and cook until darkened, about 5 minutes. Add paprika and saffron, and cook for about 1 minute. Add chicken pieces and mushrooms; add sherry and cook about 3 minutes. Add chicken stock; bring to a boil.
5. In a food processor, puree parsley, garlic and almonds with a tablespoon or two of water, until smooth; stir into pan.
6. Sprinkle rice across the pan and stir until the grains are submerged, then don’t stir again. Cook on high heat for 10 minutes. Using a small spoon, test rice and stock and add salt as needed. Reduce heat to medium-low and continue cooking for 6 minutes. Test rice again. If it is still hard, continue cooking for 2 - 4 more minutes.
7. In the final 2 minutes, listen for a crackling sound to ensure the bottom is toasting but not burning. Remove from heat, cover with paper towels and let sit for 5 minutes. Use a metal spoon to scrape toasted rice from bottom of pan and serve.
Richard Machina is a retired dad and granddad who loves to cook for his grandsons, Case, 16, and Ryan, 13. When these teens know there is cooking going on at their granddad’s house, you can be assured they will get themselves there. Richard is known for his Spaghetti and Meatballs and other hearty dishes, but this Chicken and Rice Casserole is his grandson’s favorite.

Chicken and Rice Casserole
Yield:
4 generous servings

  • 1 cup rice
  • 1 stick butter
  • 4 – 5 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 egg, beaten in a flat bowl or pie pan
  • 1 large can evaporated milk
  • 1 cup flour
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 cans cream of chicken soup
  • Milk to fill the 2 empty soup cans

 

Preheat oven to 450º.
Place rice in a small bowl and cover with water to soak. In a large baking dish, melt butter in the oven, being careful not to burn.
Dip each chicken breast in egg, then in milk, and then in flour. Place in melted butter and turn to coat both sides. Bake 15 minutes, until there is a crispy crust. Turn breasts over, pour on soup mixture (following) and bake another 45 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.
Soup mixture: Drain rice and mix with soup and milk.