I was dreaming up recipes to highlight ways of cooking chicken of the woods the other day and I had an idea: “chicken fried chicken mushrooms!”
Your classic chicken fried steak is typically not made with chicken, but beef. It’s a Southern, rich, stick to your ribs food.
Since chicken of the woods definitely have a texture when cooked similar to chicken, they’re a shoe-in substitute for meat. You can saute them naked in a pan, especially if they are young, but make sure to keep a bit of wine or stock nearby in case the pan dries out.
Encasing the mushrooms in a little breading lets them steam themselves, keeping them moist and juicy. At it’s heart, this is a simple recipe for breading chicken of the woods, you can switch the accompaniments up however you like depending on whats in season.
Chicken Fried Chicken of the Woods
Like your typical chicken fried steak, these would be fine with some red-eye gravy, or just a few lemon slices and a green salad for a lighter touch.
Serves 4 people as a main course
- 8 2oz pieces of young, chicken of the woods, the size of a small fist- this should weigh about 1lb
- All purpose flour as needed for breading
- A nice pinch of cayenne pepper and paprika
- 3 eggs, for breading
- A few sprigs of fresh thyme
- Lemon wedges for serving, optional
- Take your pieces of chicken mushrooms and trim off the tough part where the stem starts to attach to the tree. Wash and dry the mushrooms.
- Season the flour lightly with salt, pepper, paprika and cayenne to taste. Toss the mushrooms first in flour, then in egg, then in flour again. If your chickens have been in the fridge for a day or two they might be a bit dry, and could have trouble allowing the coating to adhere. If this happens: don’t worry, just repeat the breading process until the are coated nicely, sometimes I have to coat mine twice: flour/egg/flour/egg/flour.
- Heat a pan with 1/4 cup cooking oil, as well as 2 tbsp unsalted butter. Add your breaded chicken mushrooms, the crushed clove of garlic, and the thyme. Cook the chicken of the woods until they are golden brown on each side, about 4-5 minutes, adding extra oil if the pan gets dry, then blot the mushrooms on a paper towel quickly to weep excess oil, sprinkle with a little salt and serve immediately.