I had a perfectly lovely Thanksgiving with my dysfunctional family, but it was nothing like the pre-Thanksgiving feast that Jorel Pierce, the executive chef of Euclid Hall, and his sous, Josh Prater, prepared last Wednesday for a 9News segment.
Pierce, along with 9News meteorologist Becky Ditchfield and Sky 9 reporter Amelia Earhart, took over the kitchen of a stately home in Washington Park, where Ditchfield and Earhart re-created home-viewer holiday recipes while Pierce created the showpiece: a blown-up turducken on steroids -- or, as Pierce called it, the "biggest goo-ball ever."
That "goo-ball," which started with 55 pounds of fowl flesh and exited the oven with a finished weight of fifteen pounds, included eight layers of every bird imaginable: quail, squab, Cornish game hen, pheasant, chicken, duck, goose and turkey. And in the middle resided a perfect duck egg, which Pierce not only managed to find when he knifed the beast the very first time, but also to slice the soft yolk dead-center.
"I knew it was somewhere centrally located, but fuck...I can't believe I sliced it right down the middle and the egg actually revealed itself," quipped Pierce, who did something of a celebratory jig before describing his centerpiece to the camera, while 9News anchors Kim Christiansen and Mark Koebrich dropped their jaws to the ground.
"We scrambled all over town trying to find what we needed," noted Pierce, who hit up Marczyk Fine Foods for the Cornish game hen, Bittersweet for the squab, Lombardi Meats for the turkey and Rioja and Euclid Hall for everything else. "It's a little like a cornipoultria," he mused.
The brute was assembled in the Euclid Hall kitchen. "The hard part was putting it all back together again," admitted Pierce, who estimated that it took him and Prater an hour and fifteen minutes to finish it. Earhart, who witnessed the creation in its entirety, compiled a terrific YouTube video that condensed their laborious efforts into less than four minutes.