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Sautéed Chicken of the Woods

This Chicken of the Woods recipe is a simple way to prepare a delicious wild mushroom that has the texture and flavor similar to (as you may have guessed) chicken!

Image of Sautéed Chicken of the Woods mushrooms on a white plate against a wooden background.

Throughout summer and early fall, this tasty and abundant fungus can be found in forests throughout most of the country.

For me, but there is nothing quite as satisfying as chowing down on something that I stumbled upon during a walkabout in nature.

But literal chicken from the woods? It seems almost too good to be true.

Does This Mushroom Really Taste Like Chicken?

“Tastes like chicken” is a cliche phrase often voiced to make unusal dishes more palatable to the consumer (opossum, squirrel, alligator, etc.).

However, in the case of this mushroom, I think the phrase actually applies.

Even more than the flavor, I think the meaty, stringy texture does do justice to the mushroom’s common name.

No, it’s not really chicken…but it is really tasty.

How To Identify Chicken of the Woods

Thanks to some unique characteristics, Chicken of the Woods is a relatively easy wild mushroom to identify.

The fungus is usually very easy to spot from a distance. Look for a large, bright orange mass growing on the trunk or at the base of dying hardwood trees or on large fallen logs.

Image of Chicken of the Woods growing on an oak tree in a forest.

The mushroom grows in large shelves that turn from bright orange or yellow at the base to pale yellow or white at the outer edge.

Close up of a Chicken of the Wood mushroom growing at the base of an oak tree.

The underside of the mushroom is lined with tiny pores, making it a polypore. This means that its spores are released from tiny tubes instead of gills. Neat!

Close up of the underside of a Chicken of the Woods mushroom.

Important Notes

  • Never eat Chicken of the Woods raw. Like all wild mushrooms, always cook it well before consuming.
  • Chicken of the Woods can make some people sick. If eaten in large quantities, it can give some people some gastrointestinal distress. If you’ve never eaten it before, sample just a little and wait 48 hours to see how it sits with you.
  • Avoid harvesting Chicken of the Woods that is growing on conifer or eucalyptus trees. There are reports that the mushrooms absorbs toxins from these tree.

As with any foraged food, never eat anything that you can’t 100% positively identify!

How to Clean Chicken of the Woods

Start by separating the shelves of the mushrooms so you can access all the nooks and crannies.

Image of mushrooms on a cutting board with a paper towel.

Then use a mushroom brush to attack any large dirt particles. Afterward, wipe the mushroom totally clean with a damp cloth or paper towel.

If the mushroom is particularly dirty, I will first dunk it in a sink or large bowl full of water to get any nastiness (or creepy crawlies) off of it. Avoid soaking the mushroom for too long however, because it can easily get waterlogged.

How to Make Sautéed Chicken of the Woods

Once you have a thoroughly cleaned and dried mushroom, slice or tear it into roughly 1 inch wide pieces.

Sliced pieces of Chicken of the Woods on a cutting board with a knife.

Heat two tablespoons of olive oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium heat and add the mushroom pieces in a single layer.

Pieces of chicken of the woods in a cast iron skillet with olive oil.

Cook the mushrooms for about 5 minutes until they start to turn a golden brown.

Next, stir in some sliced shallot and garlic and season everything with a pinch of sea salt and black pepper.

Sliced shallot, garlic and chicken of the woods pieces in a cast iron skillet.

Cook for another 5 minutes until the shallots are tender, then pour in about 1/2 cup of dry white wine.

Image or pouring white wine into a skillet.

Simmer until most of the wine has been absorbed into the mushrooms.

Image of sautéed Chicken of the Woods mushrooms in a cast iron skillet with fresh parsley.

Finally, stir in show fresh lemon juice and chopped parsley. Enjoy!

Print Pin
4.69 from 19 votes

Sautéed Chicken of the Woods

Course Main Course
Keyword mushrooms
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 2

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound tender Chicken of the Woods cleaned and sliced into 1/2' strips
  • 2 shallots sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley chopped

Instructions

  • Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.
  • Spread the mushrooms out in an even layer in the skillet. Cook until the mushrooms start to slightly brown, about 5 minutes.
  • Stir in the shallots and garlic and season with salt and pepper. Cook until the shallot is tender, about 4-5 minutes.
  • Pour in the white wine into the skillet and stir. Cook until most of the wine has been absorbed by the mushrooms, about 4-5 minutes.
  • Stir in the lemon juice and parsley and enjoy!
Tried this recipe?Mention @sophisticatedcaveman or tag #sophisticatedcaveman on Instagram!

Equipment

12″ Cast Iron Skillet
Mushroom Brush

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Recipe Rating




Courtinay

Monday 30th of August 2021

Hoping I can get my mushroom hating life 0artner to like this! I'm slowly getting him into them but the texture and strong flavors is what gets him. I 2ouod love to try this recipe. 8t looks delicious. If he does like it, would you recommend trying to make it teriyaki style or no?

Doug

Sunday 29th of August 2021

Hi Brian, Given chicken of the woods mushrooms generally tend to be “big” when you find them, have you any ideas to share about storing them for some time - I.e. pickle, dry, freeze, etc?

The Sophisticated Caveman

Wednesday 1st of September 2021

Hi Doug! Chicken freezes pretty well after it's been cooked, so you can just sauté up a bunch of it and pop it in the freezer. I personally haven't tried pickling it yet, but I'm sure it would also be tasty.

Greg Crawford

Wednesday 25th of August 2021

Tried these for the first time ever and really enjoyed them! I should have read the comment first, though, because I had the same issue with them soaking up the oil. I added more but didn’t want to go overboard. The wine an lemon juice added a really nice flavor.

The Sophisticated Caveman

Wednesday 1st of September 2021

Thanks Greg! Chicken will really soak up oil, so it is good to find that balance without making it oil-logged. Glad you enjoyed it!

Carmen Lainé

Tuesday 10th of August 2021

This recipe is easy and delicious. And as others said, I used a little more oil. It was also helpful that the mushroom was so young and tender; Wonder if there is a difference if the chicken grows on the forest floor or the bark of a tree. My first chicken of the woods was collected from tree bark and it was hard and had a woody flavour. Thank you for the recipe!

The Sophisticated Caveman

Tuesday 17th of August 2021

Glad you enjoyed it, Carmen! I think you are definitely on to something--I've also found that the cincinnatus species of chicken that tends to grow on the ground (off roots) generally seems to have a better texture.

Walter Gutshall

Sunday 25th of October 2020

Recipe looks great and similar to what I make. This is the first year I attempted to try chicken 🐔 of the woods and it was really good. Great site. Looking forward for more info.