Recipes Gone Wild: Drunken Chicken of the Woods

Illustration by Libby VanderPloeg

Brooklyn’s been squawking a lot about chickens lately, but you hear more about the trend of raising backyard birds than you do about foraging for the fungal variety.  Chicken of the Woods, also known by its less tantalizing name Laetiporus sulphureus (or Sulphur Shelf…yum!), is also worth clucking about, as it’s in season now in your local forest, park, or maybe even your own backyard. And if you find a good one, young and tender (they get more brittle as they age), throw it into your knapsack and take it back to your kitchen. When I first saw this mushroom I assumed the name came from its appearance, with feathery edges reminiscent of the tawny-colored Buff Orpington poultry breed. But after trying a bite of the cooked mushroom, I was blown away by how much it tasted like chicken!  Earthy, faintly-lemony flavor and meaty, almost muscle-y, texture make this a great meat alternative in a main course or simply an interesting seasonal side dish.

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Foodis Operandi: Chicken For Singles

Single People: I know, recipes are biased towards family-sized portions and cooking just doesn’t always make financial sense for one person, but take-out is expensive, too and will eventually make you broke and overweight. So here’s one solution. Buy one of those family-sized packages of chicken breasts and make this package of meat your bitch for the next three or four meals, all for about $20. First we’ll BBQ, then we’ll make a sandwich, then we’ll make salad and finally a simple soup.   

First, wash your chicken. Run it under the faucet for 15 seconds and wet the entire surface and dry with paper towels. It makes for safer and better tasting chicken. Rub a little olive oil and a lot of salt & pepper on both sides and under the skin. Grill (or fry on a nonstick pan) on medium to high heat for about 6-8 minutes per side. Brush on BBQ sauce on top of one of the chicken breasts right towards the end of the grilling. Flip it a third time just for a minute, brush the sauce on the other side. Remove from grill and eat one of them with rice and some steamed veggies.  Continue reading

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