Cluck! Cluck!

chicken of the woods

The chickens are out again – and all over the woods! Look for them on dead and dying trees and stumps. “Chickens?” you ask. Not the avian variety, Chicken of the Woods is a fungus, one of the few that cannot be confused with poisonous species. They are delicious sautéed in a little butter or olive oil, so they are perfect for beginner mycophiles who want to sample this wild treat. Laetoporus sulphurus,  also called Sulphur Shelf, Chicken Mushroom, or Chicken Fungus, is an edible bracken polypore – “bracken” because its fruiting body protrudes from the surface of whatever wood it is decomposing and “polypore” because instead of gills on its undersurface it has tiny pores.

Although this is a mild fungus that almost anyone can tolerate – and many of us relish – people with sensitivities to foods should exercise caution. Start with a small amount, and be sure to cook this late summer delicacy.



  1. I ADORE this fungus. I find it plays very well with tarragon (foraged and dried, if you please) and wild fowl. Recipe as follows: 2 quail (or other small fowl), 3 tbsp dried tarragon, 3 slices stale, seedy brown bread torn into chunks, 2-3 goodly sized “chickens” slivered, 1 tbsp oil, pepper and salt. Toss bread, “chickens” and tarragon, some salt and pepper in a bowl. Stuff the birds loosely with this mixture. Rub skin with oil, salt and pepper. Bake at 325 for as long as it takes for birds to be done (sorry, intuitive chef in the room). The stuffing is mild, yet rich and the gaminess of the birds is enhanced and complimented. Serve with a wild berry chutney or herb jelly. I love this site, btw!

  2. marypriestley

    Oh my goodness — that sounds wonderful!! Thanks!

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