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Foodie Forager Finds: Chicken of the Woods

Chicken of the Woods Mac and Cheese

I love fall, especially when the weather cooperates for those of us who love mushrooms!! I was given a beautiful Chicken of the Woods by dear friends this week, and one of the dishes I made is this lovely Chicken of the Woods Mac and Cheese. Image

This was very fresh Chicken of the Woods, so preparing was easy.  Tougher mushrooms can be parboiled to tenderize, but in this case not necessary.  *As with any wild mushroom, if new to the hobby, please make sure you have your mushroom identified by an expert before eating!

I chopped the outer tender part of mushroom and then sauteed for a few minutes in olive oil and butter. I then added chooped vidalia onion to the pan and allowed those to sweat for a few minutes.  While this was cooking I had prepared the noodles.  Once drained I put these back in the pot and added the mushroom/onion mixture.  I stirred in cheddar cheese, smoked mozzarella cheese, and some parmesan cheese, but of course use whatever is your favorite!  I mixed in 2% milk to my desired consistency, and placed the entire pot (ovenproof) in to the oven at 325 for about 20 minutes. I topped with a few chopped green onions and voila!!  So darn awesome!!!!

Chicken of the Woods Casserole   

Chicken of the Woods Mushroom

 

I really enjoy wild mushrooms, and foraging for them is a hobby of mine!  This is a recently found beauty – Chicken of the Woods – aptly named because once prepared the texture and taste is very much like chicken!   

A good, young Chicken of the Woods is soft and tender, as this one was (size is not an indicator). If the mushroom is a little older it will be hard and woody. You can still use the tips of the mushroom as these are usually softer (parboiling will help).   

After cleaning the mushroom thoroughly, you should be able to tear it into small pieces. If you can do this, the mushroom should be tender enough to eat after cooking.   

I made a “chicken” casserole by simply sauteing the mushroom pieces in olive oil.   

pan cooking Chicken of the Woods Mushroom

 

I then mixed the mushrooms into cooked pasta, tossed in butter, shredded jack cheese, parmesan cheese, fresh chopped garlic, salt and pepper.  I baked at 350 for 20 minutes.  Yummy!!!   

 This is such a great mushroom, but only eat wild mushrooms if you know what you are doing!   

Chicken of the Woods Casserole

 

    

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