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Vegetable Geeks: Chicken (of the woods) Noodle Soup


Chicken of the Woods! I found a 7-10 pounder at Squire Point while hiking with my guy. My faith in the woods has been restored. Morel season left me empty handed and with writer’s block, but now my inspiration has returned.

After our discovery, I researched the sulfur shelf (aka chicken of the woods) to be on the safe side. I am happy to report that this fungus does not have an evil twin. It is one of the safest and easiest mushrooms to hunt for. It is an unmistakable fluorescent orange shelf mushroom with a yellow underbelly and it lacks gills.

*As with many unfamiliar foods, I would recommend cooking up a small amount to make sure it sits well with your body.

I sauteed a few pieces in garlic and oil and was amazed at how much it simulated chicken. It has a mild flavor and has a similar consistency to chicken, hence the name. The mushroom is very versatile and can substitute for chicken in any recipe. Beware, some people who drink alcohol while consuming this mushroom have experienced stomach aches so I would advise skipping the booze while trying out this healthy ‘shroom.

Nutritionally speaking, the chicken of the woods mushroom is a great source of protein, fiber, B vitamins and other minerals. Avoid this mushroom if it grows on an eucalyptus tree which should be easy considering that that type of tree doesn’t grow around these parts.

The chicken of the woods mushroom plays a vital part in the health and cycle of life in our forests. The fungus causes heart rot in trees. It literally hollows out the center of a tree which destabilizes it and then the tree is eventually knocked over by the wind. Be careful when removing the fungus from the tree. Leave a portion of it behind and you will be able to harvest the mushroom each year for years to come.

If you are hiking around the woods this summer and fall, keep your eyes peeled open for this bright orange treat.

An historical side note: The chicken of the woods mushroom was a common plague to the wooden boats of the British naval fleet. Now you know!

Chicken (of the Woods) Noodle Soup
(Makes 8 servings)

2-3 C chicken of the woods mushroom, sliced
3-4 carrots, sliced
3-4 celery stalks, sliced
1 small onion, diced
8-10 C water
3 garlic cloves, roughly minced
2 bay leaves
1/4 tsp poultry seasoning
1/4 tsp thyme
salt and black pepper to taste
olive oil
1/2 bag of pasta, I used Penne Rigate

    1. Find or stumble upon the chicken of the woods mushroom.
    2. Heat up enough oil to thinly cover the bottom of your stock pot.
    3. Saute the onions and garlic until the onion is translucent and tender.
    4. Stir in the rest of the vegetables and mushrooms and saute them for roughly 5 minutes.
    5. Add the water and spices and cook over med-high heat for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
    6. Cover, turn up the heat, and bring to a boil.
    7. Add pasta, stir immediately and cook until pasta is al dente.
    8. Serve with a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Yum.

*My disclaimer: Always know your mushrooms. Research, people.

I would love to hear from you! Please leave a comment if you have ever found the chicken of the woods mushrooms and how you prepared it.


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