Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Have You Ever Eaten a Chicken Mushroom?

Last week I returned to my work desk from a meeting to find this fabulous fungus awaiting me.

Chicken mushroom (Laetiporus) foraged by Storey editor Carleen Madigan

Carleen Madigan, editor of The Backyard Homestead, is also the editor of Storey’s upcoming title by author Ellen Zachos, The Beginner’s Guide to Foraging (due out in 2013). Carleen is not only editing a book on foraging for food, but she is also out there doing it! (See her post on foraging fiddleheads.)

Carleen had left this beautiful mushroom, reminiscent of a piece of sea coral, so I could take a photo of it for possible use in her upcoming book. Afterward, she was kind enough to share this tasty forest food with any coworkers who were willing to give it a try. Many were apprehensive about eating a strange tree growth, but a few of us were willing. Would you eat a chicken mushroom?

I have eaten chicken mushroom before and loved it, so I took her up on the offer to cut off a few pieces to take home. I made two meals with my pieces of chicken mushroom: The night I brought it home, I assembled and baked a casserole with fresh herbs, chicken, broccoli, garlic, shallots, chicken mushrooms, feta cheese, and breadcrumbs — so delicious! A few nights later I made a homemade pizza with homemade tomato-basil-garlic sauce, chicken mushrooms, and spicy sausage. Both meals were a huge hit.

Many of us have picked wild berries and baked pies with them, others have harvested wild ramps and pickled them. Tell us: what have you foraged and used in your cooking?

— Kristy L. Rustay, Marketing Manager


flux biota. said...

I've always wanted to try chicken mushroom. I found one a few months ago but there was a slight flood and it was soaked with ditch water. sad.

Kristy Rustay said...

They are very good, considered a gourmet food by some.

In my area (Western Massachusetts)we are having a fantastic mushroom season. Hopefully where you live you will be given another opportunity to stumble upon one of these tasty fungi.

Good luck!

Sue Weaver said...

Kristy, when I worked for the Minnesota Historical Society as a costumed historian, we cooked over the fire with foraged foods every day.

We found our visitors fell into two categories: they wouldn't taste our lunch for anything on earth or we almost had to drive them away with clubs.

Our most versatile foraged food was common milkweed. We ate it from sprout size to tiny pods in everything from fritters to stews. I used to freeze the flower clusters for winter casseroles. Yum!

Susan MacWilliams said...

Yes, Kristy, I've tried chicken mushroom and enjoyed it. I found it on a heavily travelled park road where tons of folks had walked by. It was a huge clump so I left plenty for others. Quite tasty-and colorful! Perfect in a stirfry.