Mushroom kitchen - Mushroom details

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Hen of the Woods Mushroom Turnovers
2 cups flour
teaspoon salt
cup shortening
5 tablespoons water

1 pound Hen of the Woods mushrooms
2 tablespoons butter
cup finely chopped onion
pound bacon, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
Salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon flour
1 egg yolk beaten with 1 tablespoon water


Make the pastry first. Combine the flour and salt in a bowl, cut in the shortening, and form into a ball by adding the water. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

Wipe the mushrooms with a damp cloth and chop them finely. Heat the butter in a skillet, add the onions and bacon, and sauté over medium heat until the onions are tender. Add the mushrooms, thyme, salt, and pepper, and cook over low heat for about 5 minutes or until the mushrooms are soft. Blend in the flour and allow the mixture to thicken slightly, then put to one side.

Roll out the pastry to 1/8 -inch thickness and cut into rounds with a 2-inch cookie cutter. Place a teaspoon of the mushroom mixture on one side of a round, fold over, and seal the edge by pressing it down with a fork. When all the turnovers are made, place them on an ungreased baking sheet and brush the tops with the egg yolk and water mixture. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes in a preheated 400F oven.

These delicious little turnovers were made by our friend Sue Kibby and eaten in large quantities by me.

Because Hen of the Woods can grow to an extraordinary size, mycophagists get very excited when they find this delicious edible mushroom, but it also means hard work if it is not to be wasted. Once, Martha Hacker collected twenty pounds of Grifola and spent hours preparing it for the freezer. Her method is to sauté it lightly in butter for 2 to 3 minutes and freeze it in meal-sized portions for use throughout the winter.

Gerry Miller and Selena Whitefeather wrote this account of their find for the "Mycophagist's Corner" of the New Jersey Mycological Association's Newsletter, February 1980: "It was a bitter cold day last fall after an NJMA foray where we found a few pounds of Polyporus frondosus. We were driving back home by way of N.Y.C. where Selena had a meeting ... when suddenly a pheasant hit the windshield of the car in front of us and fell, intact but dead, to the side of the road. We pulled right over, examined its body and retrieved the pheasant.... It was way too cold at this point to field-dress the bird outside and also Selena had to get to her meeting so we continued to N.Y.C.. . . Selena went to the meeting and I phoned friends and said, `Can I use your kitchen to clean and pluck a pheasant?' They said, `Sure, come on up!' While feathers were flying, they opened some wine and played `Stereo Chickens,' a Jerry Jeff Walker song. Later back at home we stuffed the pheasant with a mixture of Polyporus frondosus, onions, currants, wild rice a friend had given us, sage, rosemary, butter and wine.... WOW! ... WOW! ... WOW! . . ."

Author: Sue Kibby

Alternative mushrooms
Grifola frondosa

Hen of the Woods Mushroom Turnovers.jpg

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