Don’t be confused! I’m not calling ‘chicken’ vegetarian or vegan – There’s no Chicken in this dish, instead this delicious Chicken Mushroom Hashbrowns gets it’s meaty chicken flavor and texture from one of my favorite wild edible mushrooms!
According to Wikipedia:
Laetiporus is a genus of edible mushrooms found throughout much of the world. Some species, especially Laetiporus sulphureus, are commonly known as sulphur shelf, chicken of the woods, the chicken mushroom, or the chicken fungus because many think they taste like chicken. The name “chicken of the woods” is not to be confused with the edible polypore, Maitake (Grifola frondosa) known as “hen of the woods”, or with Lyophyllum decastes, known as the “fried chicken mushroom”.
Individual “shelves” range from 5–25 cm (2″-10″ inches) across. These shelves are made up of many tiny tubular filaments (hyphae). The mushroom grows in large brackets – some have been found that weigh over 45 kg (100 pounds). It is most commonly found on wounds of trees, mostly oak, though it is also frequently found on eucalyptus, yew, sweet chestnut, and willow, as well as conifers in some species. Laetiporus species produce brown rot in the host on which they grow.
Young fruiting bodies are characterized by a moist, rubbery, sulphur-yellow to orange body sometimes with bright orange tips. Older brackets become pale and brittle almost chalk like, mildly pungent, and are often dotted with beetle or slug/woodlouse holes. Similar species include Laetiporus gilbertsonii (fluorescent pink, more amorphous) and L. coniferica (common in the western United States, especially on red fir trees). Edibility traits for the different species have not been well documented, although all are generally considered edible with caution.
The sulphur shelf mushroom sometimes comes back year after year when the weather suits its sporulation preferences. From late spring to early autumn, the sulphur shelf thrives.
Not long after the early spring Morel Mushroom and Ramps, with sufficient rain, the next mushrooms we forage for are Chicken Mushroom. I become positively giddy with excitement when we find a beautiful Chicken Mushroom simply because I love this Chicken Mushroom Hash Brown recipe so very much, infact everyone who’s tried it over the years agrees that it’s delicious! With all this recent spring rain, I anticipate finding some beauties soon!
Chicken Mushrooms are one of the best beginner mushrooms, because they are very easy to find and identify, plus there aren’t any look-a-likes that will make you sick. Oh and they taste like tender, juicy chicken breast! You only want to eat the tender parts of the mushroom, when young it will be most of the ‘leaf’ as they get older it’s just the outer edge.
Here’s some photos of the Chicken of the Woods Mushrooms (aka Chicken Mushrooms) that we’ve harvested over the years:
Many times, during ideal growing conditions, you can find more chicken mushrooms than you can eat. Whole dead trees will be covered with them.
In addition to this Chicken Mushroom Hashbrowns, we also enjoy them simply sauteed in butter or cut into chunks/strips and breaded & fried for “Chicken Mushroom Nuggets”