This is a new treat we were introduced to this spring and I can honestly say I had my doubts that I would try it in my kitchen. Chicken of the woods is found on living and dead oaks. These mushrooms do not appear until well after the fungus has attacked the tree and it typically grows in large clusters in the summer and fall. It is considered an annual favorite by a lot of hunters in our area and they talk about how delicious it is and compare it to morels which we love. Most that eat it regularly compared it to “the best fried chicken they’ve ever eaten”.
My husband brought some home back in July and asked me to fix it for him after he had started cleaning it in my nice, clean kitchen sink!!!
I told him I would but first I needed to talk to the “expert” on Chicken of the Woods and find out HOW to prepare such a thing and here’s the recipe:
First clean several times rinsing well after each cleaning and then slice in thin pieces.
Let sit in ice water for a couple hours and rinse again. Apparently there’s a film over the fungi that will numb and/or tingle your lips and mouth if not removed by soaking.
Next you flour the slices/pieces in seasoned flour and let sit in the flour so it will adhere to the pieces before frying in hot butter. Turn several times and let each piece cook at least 5-10 minutes on each side and golden brown. Serve with anything you would normally eat with fried chicken.
Hubby tried it first and to my surprise he said it was delicious and tasted exactly like fried chicken!! For this meal, I did try one small piece and it truly was very good!!! We have a new menu item for our meals! I fixed it a couple more times that month and it will be on our table again. More importantly, it’s another good reason to go walking in the woods!!
I want to thank our good buddy and outdoorsman, Vince Caldwell, for his help in recommending the dish and for talking me through the preparation of this really good dish!!
Just for background info this is the site I looked up before cooking and eating this fungi: https://www.ediblewildfood.com/chicken-of-the-woods.aspx The excerpt below is from that link.
This mushroom is said to have a lemony, meaty taste. Some think it tastes like its chicken namesake; others describe the flavour as being more like crab or lobster-like. The margins of chicken of the woods is the desirable part to consume because the inner area tends to get a bit corky or in some cases woody and requires boiling in water for about an hour. Its look-a-like, Laetiporus cincinatus (pores are white and it grows from wood in the ground), is totally palatable. It’s important to note that this is one of those mushrooms that sometimes can cause gastric distress in certain people. If you want to avoid a possible stomach ache, only try a little bit your first time to see what it does to you. Be sure to cook before eating!