Firehouse cooking

Visit with brother yields good food, stories

My brother Steve Davis -- also called String -- is a firefighter with the Maryville Fire Department. A recent conversation with Steve led to an invitation to see how some of the best cooks in the county whip up a meal.

When I asked Steve about doing a story on cooking at the firehall, he told me that the best cooks are on First Shift. So I found myself sitting in the Maryville Station 1 on Broadway on a Saturday evening, watching and talking to some of the city’s finest about cooking.

Because of the way shifts run, the firefighters do a lot of cooking for themselves. Brian Watson is the “resident cook” at Station 1. He was preparing his Brian Watson’s Southern Fried Chicken Parmesan when I arrived.

Brian said the dish started out to be just Chicken Parmesan, but he ended up with this recipe. Brian had just started browning the ground beef and chicken when the department got a call. Brian had to leave quickly. Gerald Hines and Alan Holmes took over cooking duties.

It looked like everything was going well until Gerald discovered that Brian had left the chicken on high, so some of the pieces were a little more ‘done’ than others.

Gerald also wanted to share his Venison Meat loaves. Pete Kizer wanted to contribute his “Blue Gill Pie,” which consists of six fishsticks on a bed of rice.

On duty during my visit to the beautiful Station 1 were Brian Watson, Gary Williamson, Gerald Hines, Mike “Paco” Davis, John Cogburn, Alan Holmes, Steve Hammontree. Thanks guys!

Brian Watson’s Southern Fried Chicken Parmesan

3 lbs. boneless, skinless, chicken breast

1 lb. gound beef

3 cans (26 oz.) spaghetti sauce, any brand

2 lb. pkg. spaghetti

2 pkgs. (8 oz.) each shredded parmesan or mozzarella cheese

Prepare chicken for frying by dipping each piece in a bowl of three beaten eggs, then dredging each piece in a flour, salt and pepper coating. (This consist of 2 cups flour, 1 heaping tsp. salt and pepper mixed together in bowl.)

Fry chicken in vegetable oil until lightly browned and cooked through. Set aside.

Brown ground beef, drain, and add spaghetti sauce. Boil spaghetti till tender. Drain.

When ready to serve, layer spaghetti, chicken, a heaping spoonful of the meat sauce and top with parmesan or mozzarella cheese.

Serves 14 regular folks or 7 firefighters.

Gerald Hines Venison Meat Loaves

2 lbs. ground venison

1/4 lb. ground beef (optional)

2 tsp. salt

1 tsp. seasoning salt

1 Tbsp. garlic salt

1 Tbsp. A-1 steak sauce

1 Tbsp. Worcheshire sauce

1 cup rolled wheat or Quaker oats

1/4 tsp. pepper

1 cup tomato juice

1/4 cup tomato ketchup (plus 1/3 cup reserved for topping)

1/2 cup chopped onion

1/4 cup green bell pepper, chopped

3/4 cup applesauce

Mix ground venison and ground beef. Refrigerate.

In large bowl add all other ingredients except for applesauce and reserved ketchup. Mix in venison and ground beef. Blend thoroughly.

Add applesauce and mix gently. Divide the mixture into two equal parts and pack firmly into 2 foil-lined 3 x 51/2 x 9 1/2 inch loaf pans. Spread reserved ketchup on top. Bake in 350 degree oven for 1 hour.

Remove from pans and peel away the foil and place on platter. Garnish with apple rings or spiced crab apples. Serves 8 to 10.

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