Chicken of the Woods - THURS
Tom is foraging laetiporus cincinnatus or white-pored chicken of the woods! Your 1/2 pound of chicken of the woods will come in a paper container in a brown paper bag.
These beautiful, meaty mushrooms are so tasty, and they can be used the same way you'd use any protein (it got its common name due to that old catch-all "it tastes like chicken"). Tom is mindful to forage younger chicken of the woods so that they're more tender! He recommends braising them, but says there are a lot of great ways to prepare them.
Storage: Store in the fridge in the brown paper bag! They will keep in the freezer if you're not able to use them, but most foragers recommend sautéing them first.
Cleaning: A vegetable brush is your friend here. A quick rinse is okay, too, but be sure to dry immediately, as mushrooms soak up moisture quickly, which can change the texture.
Here's a recipe by our very own Henry Rudisill:
- Thinly chop an onion and garlic.
- Sweat the onions and garlic in 1 tbsp butter and 1 tsp of neutral oil (or equivalent amount of ghee). Once softened and slightly translucent, remove and reserve for later
- Don't clean the pan! You want that flavor.
- Slice or chop the chicken of woods and add to same pan and turn heat to high-med. Add a 1/4 cup of water to the pan (or use chicken/beef/veg stock). Cook down until the liquid has absorbed fully into the mushrooms; you want a dry pan. Use less liquid if not cooking a lot of shrooms, about 1/4 liquid per 1.5-2 cups mushrooms.
- Once liquid is gone (about 5 min), add back the onion and garlic and toss mixture until mushrooms have browned.
- Once browned add another tbsp of butter to melt in
- Now you're ready to make it your own! Add salt/pepper, thyme, parsley, deglaze w wine, soy sauce, add scallions, or add a shallot and ginger to 1st sweat for more flavor blocks. Any combination of these is going to make you happy. The world's your oyster; just cook with love.
- I always add another tbsp of butter at the end with fresh black pepper. That's my preferred way, and it makes a simple, delicious meal.
Tom of Fungi Villa has been foraging for decades in the Washington DC area! He has many sites in Virginia, Maryland, West Virginia and in states up + down the East Coast! He sustainably forages to ensure that a patch can keep producing for many many years.