Friday, November 11, 2011

Hen of the Woods Recipe - Hen Stroganoff

2011 will be a memorable year for us in our wild food education and evolution in regards to mushrooms. We finally took the step of joining a mushroom hunting club, Connecticut Valley Mycological Society, and we have learned something every week we have foraged with them. Climate conditions that may have started off bleak in the summer quickly turned into an ideal wet paradise in August with the rains from Tropical Storm Irene. Mushrooms were everywhere, and especially choice wild edible mushrooms were everywhere. We would go out in the morning with the intention of finding hen of the woods (Grifola frondosa) in an old oak forest, and instead come home with six pounds of black trumpets (Craterellus fallax). Finally finding the masses of hen of the woods, also called maitake or sheep's head fungus, provided us with gallons of dried mushrooms, gallons more frozen in the chest freezer, and several pounds of fresh mushroom for dinners.

pores on the underside
spore print
Hen of the woods is identifiable by its appearance: it looks like a chicken's backside, all ruffled up. The many fronds are generally a creamy tan to grey, and have small , white pores on the underside. The fan-shaped fronds can be 3/4"-3" (2-8 cm) and overlap each other. Hens produce a white spore print. They can seem fibrous, but are wonderfully toothsome but tender when young. The stalks and core are dense. Some specimens can grow to be 50 ponds, but most we found were about 5 pounds each. Hen of the woods grows on bases of oak trees or stumps, often for several successive years at the same location. They are fairly common here in the Northeast, and we encountered some folks giving them away they were so plentiful this year. We stuffed breads, topped pizzas, boiled soups, and made tapenade from our finds, and here is a hearty sauce for potatoes, dumplings, or egg noodles.

Hen of the Woods Stroganoff                                makes about 4 servings

2 T olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 c. hen of the woods, packed
1 c. vegetable or chicken broth
1/2 c. cream
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp salt
1/4 c. sour cream
1 T flour
1 T chopped chives or parsley

cooked potatoes, dumplings, or egg noodles

1. Heat the olive oil in a pan and sautée the garlic over medium heat for 1 minute. Add the packed mushrooms and cooks, stirring often until the mushroom starts to brown.
2. Add the cream and broth, and allow it to reduce by half, stirring often. Add the salt and pepper.
3. In a bowl, mix the flour and the sour cream together. Stir the sour cream into the mushrooms and cook 5 minutes, until the sauce is thickened.
4. Serve the sauce over the potatoes, dumplings or noodles, and garnish with chopped chives or parsley.


beauty said...

This post was not only helpful but very useful too. Thank you for sharing this piece of your expertise with all of us. Cheers!

Trout Caviar said...

Congratulations on a spectacular foraging year. I look forward to sharing in your forays and delectable wild creations in the future, as well.