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2 Sparrows Turducken Class Makes Dreams Come True

By Lorna Juett in Food on Nov 10, 2012 7:00PM

When I was a kid, I watched football every Sunday with my dad not just for the bonding time and the thrill of the sport, but even more so for the food, highlighted by the ever-present potato chips and onion dip. As I watched more and more football, the ultimate food and sports combination became the Thanksgiving Day Game. I found a kindred spirit in John Madden, who, when he wasn’t talking about football, was talking about food and went so far as to award turkey legs to the VIPs of the game each Thanksgiving.

One year, Madden was feeling particularly crazy and would not shut up about turducken, a mythical combination of turkey, duck, and chicken with layers of stuffing in between. My brother and I were in awe, and since it was pre-Internet, we had no way to confirm that this wasn’t just a figment of Madden’s imagination, but a real, and awesome, thing. Ever since that first introduction into my psyche, it has been a quest for this reporter to feast on a turducken, and 2 Sparrows has made a dream come true.

For just $30, guests of 2 Sparrows turducken making class, held on Wednesday November 14 at 6 p.m., get the opportunity to learn the fine art of poultry layering from a seasoned master, chef Gregory Ellis. Ellis perfected his technique through years of failures and successes, cooking his turducken-centric Thanksgiving feast for friends and family. Not only do you learn the basics and advanced techniques of turducken, you also will be treated to an almost obscene amount of the stuff afterward, with Ellis’s family-recipe gravy.

Ellis is a solid chef, as evidenced by the breakfast and lunch fare at 2 Sparrows, and he’s also an effective teacher. Each member of the lesson gets a hands-on experience and a very comprehensive recipe to take home, complete with photos of each step of the process. Ellis was great about explaining each step, and took our many questions with patience and provided thorough responses.

Also available during the lesson is a not-yet-named specialty cocktail made by mixologist Melissa Navarro that gives a nod to turducken’s New Orleans roots. Featuring Old New Orleans Spiced Rum, this slightly sweet, nutmeg-topped cocktail is reminiscent of eggnog, if eggnog were lighter, whipped with more air, less cloying, and more boozy. If you can’t make it to the turducken class, you can re-create it with the recipe below.

1.5 oz. Old New Orleans Spiced Rum
0.5 oz The King’s Ginger Liqueur
Lemon, two squeezes
1 squeeze cardamom syrup
Dash of vanilla extract
Dash of cream
1 egg white
Grated nutmeg

1. Shake all ingredients, minus the grated nutmeg, without ice for a few shakes to emulsify ingredients.
2. Add ice to the shaker, and shake again.
3.Strain into a cocktail glass, garnish with grated nutmeg

Make reservations by calling (773) 234-2320. 2 Sparrows is located at 553 W. Diversey Pkwy.