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Chefs give tips to make Father’s Day brunch at home a feast

This skillet of baked eggs with Spanish chorizo hash and garden greens are the brainchild of executive chef Luke Treichel of the Lake Forest Club.| Provided photo

With Father’s Day just a day away, how about pulling a quarterback sneak this year on Dad?

I know it’s baseball, not football, season. But it’s not always easy to lure Dad away from the couch for brunch on Sunday no matter the season.

So the Sun-Times asked some Chicago-area chefs to put together easy-to-make-at-home recipes to create the perfect “man” brunch for Father’s Day, with drink recommendations.

Chef Tony Priolo of Piccolo Sogno offered the recipe for his Sicilian Italian sausage, mozzarella and Parmesan cheese pizza (see recipe below).

“As a child, my father taught me how to make this Sicilian pizza. Now, as a chef and father, I’m passing along the recipe to my daughter, which we are planning to make together this Father’s Day.”

Drink: Chianti Classico

Chef Tony Priolo, of Piccolo Sogno, prepares an Italian sausage, mozzarella and parmesan cheese pizza eat the River West restaurant, Wednesday afternoon, June 1, 2016. | Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

Chef Tony Priolo of Piccolo Sogno learned to make Italian sausage, mozzarella and Parmesan cheese pizza from his father. | Ashlee Rezin / Sun-Times

Chef Luke Treichel of 554 North Restaurant at the Lake Forest Club gave his recipe for baked eggs with Spanish chorizo hash and garden greens, done skillet-style with potatoes and onions (recipe below).

“What better way to top off this dad-centric brunch than to wash it down with a refreshing and light cocktail? The classic staple for me is a well-crafted gin and tonic,” Treichel said.

Drink: Classic gin and tonic, poured over ice with a twist of lemon.

Chef, Joshua Kulp, creates brunch chicken and grits for a special Father's Day meal at Honey Butter Fried Chicken, located at 3361 N Elston Ave. | Kelly Wenzel/ For the Sun-Times

Chef Joshua Kulp creates brunch chicken and grits at Honey Butter Fried Chicken, 3361 N. Elston Ave. | Kelly Wenzel / Sun-Times

Chef Josh Kulp of Honey Butter Fried Chicken suggested chicken and grits, with fried strips of chicken and honey Buffalo sauce, with fried egg, from the restaurant’s brunch menu, to please Dad’s palate (recipe below).

Chefs, Joshua Kulp's brunch chicken and grits. | Kelly Wenzel/ For the Sun-Times

Joshua Kulp and Christine Cikowski’s brunch chicken and grits. | Kelly Wenzel / Sun-Times

“Guys want to be satisfied and full when they come to brunch,” says Kulp, who created the recipe with Christine Cikowski. “What’s better than a pile of crispy fried chicken smothered with spicy-sweet honey Buffalo sauce on top of cream grits? Throwing a fried sunny egg on top, that’s what’s better.”

Drink: HBFC Bloody Mary — vodka, tomato juice, citrus, hot sauce, celery salted chicken wing.

How do you make pancakes, biscuits or eggs Benedict more macho? Here are a couple of solutions to kick things up a notch.

Siobhan McKinney of Chief O’Neill’s beefs up her eggs Benedict with a Guinness beer Hollandaise sauce (recipe below) to go beyond basic eggs Benedict — typically Canadian bacon and poached egg served on an English muffin.

“Our male customers were the inspiration for the Guinness Irish eggs Benedict, which is why I selected it as the ideal item for a male brunch,” McKinney says.

Drink: “Far From Home” — Bulleit Frontier Bourbon Whiskey, Hennessey VSOP cognac, Benedictine, sweet vermouth, Angostura bitters and Paychauds bitters.


Baked Eggs with Spanish Chorizo Hash and Garden Greens (Chef Luke Treichel)

3 lbs. Kennebec or Idaho potatoes, cut in 1/2-inch cubes
2 large Vidalia onions, thinly sliced in half-moons
1 tbsp. unsalted butter
1 lb. Spanish cooking chorizo, cut in 1/2-inch pieces
6 large garlic cloves, minced
3 tbsps. olive oil
1 tbsp. kosher salt, or more, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Cut potatoes into half-inch cubes; gently cook in salted water. Potatoes are ready when a fork can easily slide into them without breaking skin. Drain and cool under cold water to stop  from cooking further. While potatoes are cooking, add onions to a sauté pan with butter and  pinch of salt. Cook onions over medium heat until they start to brown and caramelize. Lower heat slightly, cook for about 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally. Lower heat more if needed to avoid burning. Cook until dark brown. Toss cooked potatoes and onions in a bowl, add olive oil, garlic and chorizo. Reserve or refrigerate until ready to finish.

To finish the dish:
4 to 6 large eggs
Kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 small bunch kale, chard or other hearty garden greens, roughly chopped

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Heat a 10-inch cast-iron skillet or heavy-bottomed pan to the point where a drop of water quickly dances and evaporates. Add potato and chorizo hash. Cook over medium heat 5 minutes, stirring and turning over halfway through. After 5 minutes, add garden greens and pinch of salt. Cook 1 minute while incorporating greens into hash. Remove pan from heat, and crack 4-6 eggs over hash. Bake 12 minutes for a runny yolk or up to 20 minutes for a hard yolk.

Yields: 4-6 servings. Prep time: 30 minutes. Total time: 45 minutes.

*Note from chef: This is a great dish to prepare ahead, with most of the work going into making the hash, which can be made a day or two before and reheated just before serving. Also, recipe can be adapted to suit personal tastes — such as substituting sweet potatoes for the Kennebec and adding mushrooms or other garden vegetables you have on hand to the hot pan when adding hash. Even a few slices of fresh avocado or thin slivers of jalapeno would be a great way to top it all off after removing from the oven.

Sicilian Italian sausage, mozzarella and Parmesan pizza (Chef Tony Priolo)

1 pkg. dry yeast
4 cups flour
½ cup warm water
1 teaspoon sea salt

2 cans (28 oz. each) San Marzano tomatoes
2 tbsps. extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt
Black pepper
4 basil leaves (torn by hand into small pieces)

For pizza:
8 oz. fresh mozzarella
6 oz. ground Italian sausage
1 tbsp. freshly grated Parmesan cheese
6 tbsps. extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp. Sicilian or Mediterranean oregano

Place yeast in the warm water (110 degrees). Yeast will start to form together. Let stand 10 minutes. In an electric mixing bowl with a hook attachment, add flour and sea salt; mix together for 1 minute to make sure there are no lumps. Add water and yeast mixture, then mix for 10 minutes on medium speed.

After mixing, keep dough in bowl and cover with a towel, let stand 30 minutes in a warm spot in the kitchen. After dough has risen, form into a ball, dust with flour, roll into desired shape with a rolling pin or by spreading with your hand. You might need additional flour for this so it doesn’t stick to the table.

Generously use olive oil (4 tablespoons) to coat the bottom of an 18-by-13-inch black sheet pan. Place dough in pan and spread until all sides are covering the bottom. Lightly press your fingertips all over the pizza dough to spread the dough. This also creates little pockets for the sauce. Cover dough with towel and let dough rest 15 minutes.

Strain tomatoes until they are dry (you might need to slightly crush them to get the liquid out). After they are drained, place in food processor with remaining olive oil. Pulse until sauce is smooth, about 30 seconds. Season with sea salt and pepper, and place basil leaves on top of the pizza.

Place sauce over the dough. Add fresh mozzarella, breaking it into little pieces. Add Italian sausage by forming little balls. Top a sprinkle of the oregano and sea salt and pepper. Bake at 425 degrees for about 12-15 minutes or until golden brown. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top before serving (optional).

Yields: 2-4 servings. Prep time: 81 minutes. Total time: I hour, 36 minutes.

Chicken and Grits  (Chef Joshua Kulp and Christine Cikowski)

Garlic puree
4 oz. extra virgin olive oil
4 oz. garlic cloves, peeled

In a small sauce pot, add oil and garlic. Cook on stove on low heat. If mixture starts to bubble, lower flame. Cook until garlic is soft (40-50 minutes), taking care not to brown garlic. Mix garlic and oil in a blender or food processor until smooth while still hot. Let mixture cool. (Can be made a day or two in advance.)

Chicken Crust Crunchies
2 cups seasoned flour
6 oz. buttermilk

Drip buttermilk a drop at a time into the flour (spread out drops so they don’t drip in the same place). Stir flour a few times to coat the buttermilk clumps. Halfway through the buttermilk, use a fine-mesh strainer to strain clumps into another bowl. Repeat with the remaining buttermilk. Deep-fry clumps (stir as they fry) in a fine-mesh strainer or basket in 325-degree oil until golden brown. Drain oil, and place on paper towels to further drain.

Roasted Chicken
1 lb. chicken tenders
1 oz. rice bran oil (or other neutral oil like grapeseed)
Kosher salt and black pepper

Mix tenders, oil and a good sprinkling of salt and pepper in a large bowl. On sheet tray lined with parchment, lay tenders in a single layer and bake at 350 degrees until fully cooked. Cool chicken and cut it into medium-diced pieces.

1 qt. whole milk
1 pt. buttermilk
1 pt. heavy cream
1 cup fine cornmeal
1 cup coarse cornmeal
Kosher salt, to taste

Bring milk, buttermilk and heavy cream to a boil. Slowly drizzle cornmeal into the boiling liquid, stirring vigorously to prevent lumps. Lower heat to low, and continue to cook and stir until grits are fully cooked (about 45 minutes.)

Buffalo sauce
1 cup Crystal hot sauce
2 tsps. water
2 tsps. cornstarch
2 oz. honey
4 tbsps. unsalted butter, diced

Bring hot sauce to a boil. In a bowl, whisk water and cornstarch together and add to hot sauce. Bring mixture back up to a boil. Continue to whisk until thickened. Turn off heat. Whisk in honey. Add butter, a couple of pieces at a time.

To assemble:

Whisk garlic puree into grits and season to taste. Saute the roasted chicken with the honey buffalo sauce until heated through. Spoon chicken on top of the grits and sprinkle with crunchies and cut scallions. Can also add a fried farm egg to brunch it up.

Yields: 4-6 servings. Prep time: 20 minutes. Total time: 95 minutes.

Irish Eggs Benedict

Irish Eggs Benedict

Irish Eggs Benedict with Guinness Hollandaise Sauce

Guinness Hollandaise sauce
4 egg yolks
1 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 stick unsalted butter, cut in small cubes
½ cup Guinness
Cayenne pepper

Set up a double boiler. If you don’t have one, half-fill a saucepan with water. Heat until you see several thin streams of bubbles. Place a heat-safe metal or glass bowl snugly on top of pan (make sure it doesn’t touch water), creating indirect heat for cooking sauce.

Whisk together egg yolks and lemon juice. Add to double boiler. Whisk constantly and vigorously until mixture becomes frothy and lighter-colored and whisk leaves trails in the mixture, 5-10 minutes. Scrape down sides of the bowl occasionally (any egg left sitting in place might scramble).

Watch for signs of separating. If the mixture gets too hot, it will curdle or “split” into solids and liquid. If it starts to feel too hot or steams heavily, pick up the bowl with an oven mitt or towel, and whisk sauce vigorously for 30 seconds to cool eggs down, return to heat.

Gradually add butter by pouring in small, steady stream, whisking constantly and vigorously. Sauce should thicken easily at first, then become more difficult to combine. Pour more slowly as this happens, as too much butter can cause sauce to split, 2-5 minutes.

Add Guinness and seasonings to taste. If sauce is too thick, whisk in a little hot water.

Eggs Benedict:

4 slices Canadian bacon
2 English muffins, split
1 tsp. white vinegar (optional)
4 eggs
3-4 sliced green olives with pimento or black olives

Salt and pepper, to taste
Paprika for dusting
Fresh parsley, for garnish

Cook Canadian bacon in skillet over for a few minutes on medium heat, flipping it to brown on both sides. Leave in the skillet to keep warm. Cut English muffins in half; butter lightly. Place on baking sheet, cut sides up, and toast under broiler till light brown.

Fill a wide (large enough for four eggs to be added without touching), nonstick skillet or shallow pan half full of water. Bring to slow boil, until several thin streams of bubbles form. Add vinegar (optional; this helps keep eggs from separating but can affect taste and texture).

Crack one egg into a small bowl, keeping yolk intact. Gently lower edge of the bowl into water, letting some water flow into the bowl before tipping bowl so egg slides into the water. Quickly repeat with remaining eggs. If water reaches full simmer, “spin” the liquid once with a spoon to cool down before adding egg (do not attempt with egg in water). Cook for 3½ minutes until egg white is set but yolk remains soft. Remove egg with slotted spoon. Allow to drain.

Place muffin halves on each plate. Lay a slice of bacon on top of each muffin half, followed by a poached egg. Spoon sauce over eggs. Dust with paprika. Top with an olive slice or two. Garnish plate with parsley.

Yields: 2-4 servings. Prep time: 20 minutes. Total time: 35 minutes.