The transition of the summer season to fall is done best with big pots of soup, savory meals, steamy drinks and all things cozy. As the leaves begin to fall, and the wind and rain pick up, the forest floors and trees boast mushrooms of all kinds. An easy favorite because of its familiar flavors and bright orange color is Chicken of the Woods (Laetiporus speciosus). If you haven't tried this mushroom before, you are probably wondering how it got its name. The texture and flavor when cooked, tastes like... you guessed it, chicken!
As we move into fall, a recipe that I frequent during this time has always been Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice soup. Our take on this classic is to simply replace the chicken with the mushroom.
Like most soups, this soup is forgiving when it comes to making adjustments, so if you find yourself without an ingredient, like fresh sage or thyme, feel free to add dried herbs. No coconut oil? Substitute with olive oil. You get the idea!
When you make this soup, post on Instagram and tag Forest Fresh Alaska. I can't wait to see what you think!
Chicken of the Woods spotted!
Follow Starling Birch as he summits Mt. Bassie and finds some local ingredients along the way.
Chicken of the Woods is rich in antioxidants, contains prebiotics and is low in calories. It is a fun mushroom to harvest with children since it is fairly simple to identify and picking it is easy, unless it is high in a tree! Before you harvest be sure to check for worms and millipedes. Typically this is a sign the mushroom is too far gone... and best left to the worms!
HOW TO IDENTIFY
- Bright orange on the upper side of the mushroom and creamy yellow on the underside.
- Growing on or under deciduous trees.
- Normally found late spring to early fall. (In Sitka, I normally find these in abundance towards the end of summer.)
- Underside of mushroom is covered in tiny pores.
Check out the book How to Forage for Mushrooms without dying by Frank Hyman
Foraged is an online resource and store for foragers and those wanting to purchase locally foraged ingredients.