Thursday, June 10, 2010

Chicken of the Woods

We've talked about getting chickens, but with the arrival of the buffalo this year, it seemed a bit much to take on. So much to learn about everything and not enough time to do it all well. Or even slapdashedly. Even so, chicken has made it on to the farm as of this week, albeit in a different form than we had envisioned.

On Sunday, I took a beginner's class in identifying mushrooms. Among the many pieces of sage advice (mostly having to do with how not to kill oneself by eating poisonous mushrooms), was one that I took to heart on my next foray: look up as well as down. While out and about on the farm Monday, I remembered a tree where I thought I'd seen some bright orange leaves near the trunk and had assumed they were part of one of the vines trying to take over. I looked up to see this:

Heavens! Could it be? It sure looks like a large Chicken of the Woods mushroom--a lovely, edible fungus. Bright orange on top and bright yellow underneath, it fit the profile of Laetiporus sulphureus. Very exciting! The only problem was that it was roughly 22 feet up in the tree. On Tuesday, Jim bravely went up the ladder to retrieve as much as he could reach. As he started to cut it down, he exclaimed, "This smells great!"

Although I was pretty sure I had identified it correctly, I heeded my teacher's warnings and hauled my sample off for expert identification.

Thankfully, the Asheville Mushroom Club was meeting Wednesday night. The mycologists gathered agreed: it is a Chicken of the Woods. We're going to cook some up for dinner tonight. Chicken (of the Woods) Risotto, I think.

Huge score on the mushroom front! It should come back again in subsequent years, so if anyone has good recipes for this fun fungus, send them along.


  1. Spaghetti is on the menu here --I know it sounds humdrum compared to Chicken of the Woods Risotto (which sounds absolutely wonderful) but it's all that's being offered by my chef.

  2. Oh, baby. Whatta find.

    Recipe?: frypan, European butter, chicken of the woods, brief heat, salt.

    I wish I lived closer!

  3. Is slapdashedly a word?

  4. If it wasn't before, it is now. That, my dear, is the power of the blogosphere.