This is a hearty soup that captures the flavor of the Chicken of the woods. It goes best with a full-bodied Zinfandel for a midday lunch!
Laetiporus sulphureous known as Chicken-of-the-Woods
The common name of this a fungus derives from the fact that, when cooked, this mushroom has the texture of fresh chicken breast. The fungus is one of a larger group of fungi known as polypores – similar to boletes in that the underside of the cap is composed of pores rather than gills. In most cases polyphonies are inedible because of their woody texture. Some, however, are quite good to eat, and the chicken of the woods is among the best known. It is also known as the sulfur mushroom because the underside of the cap is a bright yellow color. The top side is red-orange, which makes it very easy to identify.
These fungi can be seen growing out of fallen and rotting trees from summer to late fall. Older specimens take a long time to cook because of their woody texture. Younger specimens take just a short time to make them soft and chewable. The part of the fungus farthest from the base is the most tender. The thick core, or stem, can be used for extract but will usually be too tough to eat, except in a very young specimen.
A young Chicken of the woods mushroom is fantastic simply sautéed in butter or oil with a little garlic and herbs of your choice. You can also bake this mushroom or make an amazing soup with potato and grains. Enjoy the gifts of the forest!
Chicken of the Woods Cream of Mushroom Soup
This is a very easy and satisfying soup to make. Prepare this recipe when you have some fresh wild mushrooms and wish to enjoy them as soon as possible.
- 1 -1 1/2 lb Chicken of the woods mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
- 1 big yellow onion, peeled and diced
- 4-5 cloves of garlic, minced
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 3 tbsp butter
- about 7-8 cups of water or vegetable broth
- 3 potatoes, peeled and diced
- 1 cup cooked buckwheat *
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 cup cream
- 2 tbsp flour
- 3 tbsp butter (for the flour-butter mixture)
- fresh herbs for serving
I a sauté pan combine the flour and butter. Heat over low heat for about 5 minutes. For more flavor, brown the butter first. Be sure to cook the flour completely but not burn. Set aside.
I the large pot heat the oil together with butter, add onions and garlic, and cook until fragrant. Add the mushrooms and cook everything together for about 5-7 minutes. Pour the water and add the potatoes, cook until potatoes are almost done. Add the cream and cooked buckwheat. Bring to the boil again. Thicken the soup with the flour-butter mixture and add salt and pepper. Stir well, and bring to a simmer. The soup is done when potatoes are soft and soup is creamy.
Serve hot with fresh herbs and a good piece of bread.
* I had leftover buckwheat from the previous night dinner, you may use other grain if you like: barley, white or brown rice, spelt - would work wonderfully with these wild mushrooms.