Enjoy the savory taste and texture of chicken without the chicken! Kansas-grown maitake mushrooms taste like chicken and can be eaten raw, but they’re best sauteed or fried. Find some yourself! You can also purchase them on Etsy and other places.
Mushrooms can be grown, but this is not a hobby I have embraced. I’d probably buy some if you’re interested in trying this recipe.
We found ours at the base of an oak, on the north side. Obviously, use caution when hunting wild mushrooms and if you decide to harvest them try a little and make sure they agree with you. There are some toxic fungi, and contaminants like animal waste or insect material can be harmful.
But no one got sick and there were no psychadelic experiences. Time to prepare!
I discovered that preparation is the worst part of the whole experience, spending 30-45 minutes soaking, rinsing and removing unwanted dirt and moss with a toothbrush. At the end the maitake look just like cooked chicken, and raw they have a very slightly bitter but mostly bland taste.
Heat a pan and fry some sliced garlic until it starts to give off that delicious garlic aroma, and drop in your mushrooms! The fungi contain quite a bit of water so they’ll hiss and sizzle, but just kick ’em around the pan and incorporate your garlic.
You can use butter or olive oil, we chose grape seed as it gets hotter and cooks the garlic more efficiently.
Once the mushrooms start to brown, open and drain a can of beans. We used Great Northern, though I imagine Pintos would be good also.
Season to taste. I took inspiration from one of my favorite meals, Thanksgiving! So a sprinkle of rosemary, thyme, Himalayan pink salt and freshly cracked black and green peppercorns. We also added artichoke hearts we had in the pantry, just because. It was great without the artichoke, but that did bring a little bit of tang into a very savory dish.
I’ve seen recipes for Hen o’ the Woods breaded chicken fingers, chicken nuggets and I’d love to try them! Today I wanted something simpler, and this was the result:
This delicious fungus is native to Kansas and Oklahoma, particular wooded areas that receive a lot of spring rain. But of course you can grow it yourself or even purchase some. There’s just something about finding it in the wild.
Most people who object to the taste of mushrooms have probably not tried the more eclectic varieties like Oysters, Chanterelle and Morel. Everyone’s heard of Truffles, and they’re famously featured at fancy dinners with Fioe Gras for $100 a plate. But trust me! Our native mushrooms are delicious and are far closer to the farm than the pinky-up pomp of the Royal Family.
A patient gifted me a gallon bag of Oysters and that was one of my favorite meals ever. They grew right here in Sedan!