My family went camping with a group this weekend, and we were very lucky to find a HUGE laetiporus mushroom fruiting from a stump at one of the camp sites! This is a fairly common edible mushroom. Most people know it casually as “chicken of the woods,” or “the chicken mushroom.” It is different than “hen of the woods,” which is a common name for the maitake mushroom. Chicken of the woods is aptly named, because this delicious fungus tastes exactly like chicken! Now I know that phrase is a catch-all for vaguely familiar tastes. But this mushroom is the real deal. If you are a plant-based eater craving the perfect meat substitute, I tell you I have never had anything more similar to chicken. The texture is firm, dense, and meaty.
Now if you’re looking to wild harvest some mushrooms, you will have to consult other websites or books other than this one! It is important to correctly identify mushrooms before eating them, obviously. My husband and I are familiar with this one though, so we were thrilled to harvest a full bag of chicken of the woods! To prepare the mushroom for cooking, I trim the really tough, woody parts closest to the stem. I also trim the newest growth of the mushroom, the soft edges far from the stump. These get a little too soft for my taste when cooked. What you’re looking for is that nice middle part that is very firm, but not woody. I sliced the mushroom down to several 4 inch wide strips, then sliced these into “chicken strips.” Give these a rinse and you’re ready to cook!
Pineapple Teriyaki “Chicken”
1 Large bunch laetiporus “chicken of the woods” mushroom, trimmed, rinsed, and sliced
1 Carrot, thinly sliced into rounds
1 Red bell pepper, 1 green bell pepper, and 1 orange bell pepper, sliced thin
1 Fresh pineapple, peeled, cored, and sliced into one inch chunks (or use canned pineapple, drained and sliced)
2 Large cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1/2 Cup bottled teriyaki sauce
Place the mushroom slices, carrot, and bell peppers in a large pot over medium high heat. Add up to 1/4 cup water to prevent sticking. Cover and cook for 6-8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the carrot slices are just tender. Add the pineapple slices, garlic, and teriyaki sauce and cook for 2-3 minutes more, until heated through. Serve over rice.