Saturday, 24 August 2013

Chicken of the woods

brack fungus, chicken of the woods

brack fungus, chicken of the woods

It is that time of the year ... the hunt is on for Chicken of the woods. The most equisitely delicious fungus. Mind you I just love all wild mushrooms with a jealous passion. Jealous because I get very territorial when I find a patch that are not quite ready and furtively hide them under leaves for the next visit ... overly excited and heart racing when I discover a new delicious one somewhere unexpected, and I am ashamed to admit that I selfishly devour the lot THEN tell everyone of my conquest. I am not proud of these traits ...
But last week while out in the car I spotted a huge chicken of the woods growing just as it should on a deciduous stump, at the side of the little lane. It was in front of a cottage which was set back off the road. I got very excited and impatient to slice and fry! I decided to go back on my way home and pick it, though I had no knife with me. But on my return journey I spied the huge ditch in front of said stump, too much for me to scale, certainly, it would not be a dignified ascent, so hatched up another plan .... I returned with my 6' 4" son Will with legs as long and strong as you could shake a stick at. It was by then dead of night. We drew up in the car, the fungus glowing in the moonlight ... (actually it was pitch dark but it sounds better), but just as Will leapt from the car, a dog starts up barking like the Hound of the Baskervilles, and so we legged it like a couple of naughty school children. DAMN!
So for plan three .... before breakfast the next morning we were up, salivating voraciously fuelled by our hunger and drove off to the stump again. THIS time there was an old man in the garden of the cottage with his back to us cutting a hedge. But we were two hungry and desperate individuals by now and Will leapt the ditch sliced off the fungus and was back, breathless in the car in seconds, fungus OURS and I sped off with the beautiful aroma filling the car, so mouthwatering we could hardly wait. And in my eagerness I took no photos for you to see. There, told you I was selfish about fungus. I think only with my stomach at times like this. But I sliced it and fried in butter with salt and pepper then made a simple sauce with full milk and flour. I can't now speak of it as there is none left, and I am jealous of myself last week!
In looking up Chicken of the woods on google I found this lovely blog post from Hunger and Sauce and yes, the taste is essence of chicken, so incredibly savoury, and exactly as one remembers chicken as a child, when for me it was a treat on a Sunday, it is denser than chicken, packed with flavour, and quite, quite delicious and worth waiting whole years to find it's golden treasure ...

The hunt is on for another ....
brack fungus, chicken of the woods
Cooking and consuming Chicken of the woods ... in the wood
 Here is a photo of a previous years bounty, (those are not my hairy arms by the way)cooked in the woods on a little Primus stove.


  1. My aunt used to go out and bring home mushrooms and when she fried them up, they tasted like fish! She called them "Dry Land Fish" and that was a long long time ago but I still remember how good they were.

  2. Hi Judy

    How fascinating, I just looked up "dry land fish" and found they are Morels, had you found this too? They have a cellular cap. I have not ever seen here in Kent, but we do have many varieties of delicious fungus around. Lovely to hear this story! xx

  3. Oh Nancy, your tale did make me smile. Good luck with the continuing hunt for more... :D