Despite the continual lack of rain here in Southern Indiana, the few drops that have precipitated have produced some Chicken of the Woods, a choice edible fall mushroom. We were fortunate to find this bright orange fall mushroom, the ‘Laetiporus sulphureus’.
This is a great edible wild mushroom and an excellent one for beginning hunters to start with due to it’s distinctive features. Chicken of the Woods, as it is commonly called, is a orange polypore, meaning it does not have gills, rather tiny pores on the underside, with soft flesh. The fruiting body is found growing above ground on standing or fallen rotting hardwood trees. ‘Laetiporus sulphureus’ has the distinctive orange top and a bright yellow underside.
‘Laetiporus sulphureus’ Image by Connie Clause
Another variety, ‘Laetiporus cincinnatus’ has a whitish underside and is found growing near or at the base of decaying hardwood trees, commonly oak .
‘Laetiporus sulphereus’ – Bright yellow underside
‘Laetiporus cincinnatus’ – White underside
Chicken of the Woods, both varieties, usually grow in clusters in late summer and fall. The mushroom matures quickly and it’s edibility is best when young and the flesh around the edges is preferred. A single tree can produce up to 50 lbs of fungi!
Now it’s time to eat! There are many ways to prepare Chicken of the Woods. It is always important when cooking with wild mushrooms to properly clean them by removing excess debris and soaking in salt water to remove and bugs. It is NOT recommended to eat wild mushrooms raw and be sure to cook thoroughly to remove all parasites. Here is a great recipe that plays off of Country Fried Steak- all who enjoyed said it tasted better than chicken!
Country Fried Chicken of the Woods with Basil Cream Sauce
1/2 lb fresh Chicken of the Woods
1 tbsp. hot sauce
1 cup bread crumbs
1 cup flour
1 tbsp. paprika
2 cups vegetable oil
salt and pepper
Basil Cream Sauce
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup sour cream
Aprox 5 stalks fresh basil
2 tbsp. flour
Soaked the Laetiporus cincinnatus mushrooms in some cold water with salt for about 20 min.
Make an egg wash with 2 eggs, 2 tbsp. water, and 1 tbsp. hot sauce.
Mixed 1 cup bread crumbs with 1 cup flour and 1 tbsp. of paprika.
Pat dry the Chicken and coat with egg wash followed by bread crumb/flour mix.
Heated up about 3 inches in vegetable oil in a deep pan until it sizzles when water hit it.
cooked on each side for 4-5 min. adjust for temp.
Started with 2 cups of chicken broth brought to a boil. Remove from head and added 1 cup of sour cream and fresh basil chopped.
Lower heat and keep stirring.
Slowly sifted in 2 tbsp. of flour to thicken up sauce.
This is what I call country fried chicken of the woods. a Play on country fried steak. Served with mashed potatoes and green beans with a basil cream sauce.