Over the seasons I’ve tried different ways to enjoy Laetiporus sulphureus, the sulfur shelf mushroom, aka chicken of the woods. “Fries” roasted in garlic and Parmesan cheese always came out tasty but dry. Sautéed chunks were edible but oily and didn’t mix well with other stir-fried ingredients. However, smothering the firm mushroom in gravy and topping it with biscuits proved delightful.
I present to you my ultimate chicken of the woods and dumplings recipe. It is a combination of my mother’s tuna casserole recipe and a campfire Dutch oven dumplings recipe from my epic float trip days. Please enjoy.
Hi Friends! It’s very important that you identify mushrooms correctly. Some mushrooms are toxic or deadly. Don’t use this blog post for identification purposes. Two of my favorite books on edible mushrooms are, Missouri’s Wild Mushrooms by Maxine Stone and Edible Wild Mushrooms of Illinois and Surrounding States by Gregory Mueller.
- ~2 cups sulfur shelf mushroom chopped or broken apart into chunks
- 1-2 cans of ready to serve (not condensed) cream of mushroom soup.
- 1 onion
- 1 clove of garlic
- ¾ cup frozen peas
- 2 carrots
- butter or oil
- 1 cup cooked or 4.5 oz. canned chicken
- 1 tsp thyme, ½ tsp fine chopped rosemary, salt & pepper
- biscuit mix & ingredients of can of biscuits
Step 1: Decide if your mushroom is OK to harvest.
- If it’s super moist and disintegrating, full of worms, or last month’s fossil, do! not! pick! it! You’ll ruin your whole dish with an old and stinky mushroom. Only use the freshest specimens.
- Cut away the shelf from the “stem”. The flesh close to the stem is often very fibrous and not good to eat. (If you end up with a lot of tough bits put them to use in soup stock.)
Step 2: Clean and inspect the mushroom. For sulfur shelf I use the higher pressure water from my faucet’s spray attachment to blast away dirt. Cut out any chunks of tree that remain and look for inhabited insect larvae burrows and remove the invaders if necessary (a reality every mushroom hunter must face).
Step 3: Chop up or tear apart the sulfur shelf into bite sized chunks. I prefer to tear mine apart since the rough edges impart a chicken-like texture in the dish.
Step 4: Sauté the mushroom chunks in butter or oil for several minutes until they start to brown. You’ll need a decent amount fat as the mushroom will soak up a lot in the cooking process. Set aside.
Step 5: Chop and sauté 1 onion and 1 clove of garlic in butter or oil for several minutes until they brown. Set aside.
Step 6: Defrost ¾ cups of peas draining excess water and chop 2 carrots. Set aside.
Step 7: In a large bowl combine sautéed mushrooms, sautéed onions and garlic, chopped carrots, defrosted peas, 1 tsp thyme, ½ tsp finely chopped rosemary, optional 1 cup cooked or can of chicken, and a dash of salt & pepper.
Step 8: Add the mushroom soup to the mixture. Depending on how much gravy you want add 1, 1 ½ or 2 cans of soup. The size of your casserole dish will also affect the amount of added soup. You’ll need to leave at least ½ inch of room at the top for the biscuits at the end.
Step 9: Pour your mixture into your casserole dish and cover. Pre-heat and cook the dish at 350 degrees for 35-45 minutes. Cooking times will vary depending on your oven type and settings. You’ll know the first bake is done when the mixture has been bubbling for a few minutes. Tip: Place the casserole on a cookie sheet in case it bubbles over in the oven.
Step 10: While your concoction is cooking, make the biscuit dough. Or prepare to crack open your can of biscuits from the fridge.
Step 11: Carefully remove the hot casserole from the oven. Uncover and drop biscuits on top, covering the entire surface leaving a little room between them for rising.
Step 12: Reset the oven temperature to match the baking temperature of your biscuits and put the casserole back in, uncovered. Watch your biscuits, they may need less or more time to cook than recommended on the biscuit package. Take the casserole out of the oven when the biscuits are fluffy and golden brown.