Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Hen of the Woods Recipe - Mushroom Jerky

We have been finding  large amounts of hen of the woods (Grifola frondosa) this season, staring with the first find at the end of August. After an initial early flush, they started fruiting heavily in late September, and we have found more than 30 hens so far this season. We preserve our hens mostly by dehydrating the fronds to use later for soup stock, and by freezing the cores and more fronds to chop up for burgers. Robert also made lots of sausage with hens this year, using the same technique for making vegetarian sausage made from sulfur shelf mushrooms.

We needed to find something else to do with the pounds of mushrooms in the fridge, so we made some wonderful jerky. We found that this works best with slices from the core, or with very large fronds, since the pieces shrink up quite a bit in the dehydrator. We are using our Excalibur dehydrator, but an oven set on the lowest temperature will work, although the drying times will vary. We store our dried jerky in covered glass jars, but if we had a vacuum sealer, that would work well too. It doesn't last long around here, and it disappears even faster if we bring it out to a potluck event. This recipe makes a sweet/salty/spicy jerky, and the flavors can be changed to suit your tastes.

Hen of the Woods Jerky        Makes about 2 cups marinade, enough for a large hen

For the marinade:
1 c. sweet apple cider
3/4 c. low sodium soy sauce, or tamari
2-4 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 tsp. ground white pepper
1/2 tsp. ground fennel
5 Tbsp. maple syrup
1/2-1 Tbsp. Sriracha chili-garlic sauce

1. Place all marinade ingredients in a blender, and puree for a minute. Pour the marinade in a glass or non-reactive shallow pan, preferably one with a cover.
2. Clean the hen of the woods mushroom, making 1/8" thick slices of the core and the larger fronds. All parts can be used, but they will dehydrate at different rates and shrink up quite small.
3. Boil the mushroom for 10 minutes, and drain completely. Place the boiled hen pieces in the marinade while still hot, and refrigerate for 4-8 hours.
4. Remove the pieces of hen from the marinade and drain the excess liquid off before arranging on  dehydrator trays. If drying in the oven, use wire racks placed on a sheet pan. Arrange the marinated mushroom on the trays and dehydrate at 140° for 6-12 hours, until dried and leathery. The time will vary based on the thickness and sizes of the pieces, so check it often.
5. Store in an airtight jar or vacuum pack.

We often have more mushroom pieces than the dehydrator can handle at once, so we use the marinade again to flavor several batches, one after another, until we use up all the hen. Check out these photos to see how much a very thick frond will shrink up, the top picture is raw, then the center picture is after boiling, and the third picture is after marination and dehydration.


Anonymous said...

In the recipe, is the apple cider or apple cider vinegar? I have never seen a jerky recipe without vinegar.
Of course, I have never seen one for mushroom jerky either. :-)

The 3 Foragers said...

We used sweet apple cider from the local orchard. I have no idea how to make meat jerky, we are mostly vegetarians.

Dinah said...

I just made a batch of this following the recipe exactly. OMG. It is incredibly good. It came out perfectly and the flavor is so great and so well-balanced. Thanks, Karen, for this awesome new way to handle maitakes! This is going to become a standard for me.

Obat Urat Syaraf Kejepit said...

Thank's for your information and i like yoe post ^___^

shanna said...

Have you posted the vegetarian mushroom sausage technique anywhere? I've been looking but cannot find it. :) THANKS for all the great ideas.

Lisa Pedersen said...

which third of you guys is a veggie?
just wondering...

The 3 Foragers said...

Robert and Gillian are lacto-ovo vegetarians, but they will eat fish when we vacation on a tropical island. I am an omnivore. I believe all of our recipes are lacto-ovo vegetarian at least, with a few vegan ones thrown in.

Anonymous said...

I just ran across this recipe and was curious as to if you want the "jerky" slightly pliable or totally dehydrated where it breaks upon bending. We were lucky enough to find several pounds of hens, and really want to give this recipe a try.

The 3 Foragers said...

We dry it but it is still slightly pliable.

Anne S said...

Trying this recipe for the first time with my hen. I didn't have cider so I used cider vinegar diluted a bit. We will see how it works out:)

The 3 Foragers said...

I would not recommend using cider vinegar at all, otherwise the jerky will taste like vinegar. Just use some apple juice in place of the cider.