Thanksgiving Hen

Yogi Berra said, “It’s ain’t over ’til it’s over.” He could just well have been referring to mushroom season. Deep into November, I wasn’t having much luck, and then the temperatures dipped – to 17 degree lows two nights in a row. “That’s it, I thought.” Then a few days later, the afternoon before Thanksgiving Eve (Nov 25), I got a call from Dino.

I met DinHen bucketo this fall while we both delivering to Seth Simmerman at Knoxville;s Echo Bistro, and we got acquainted. Dino had heard about me, so he pulled out his cell phone and showed me a picture of a large patch of mushrooms around a stump to identify. They looked like honey mushrooms, so I said, ” Bring them in to Seth and I’ll stop by tomorrow.” He did, and sure enough they were honeys, which Seth used.

dinoA few weeks went by, and on the day in question, he sent me this picture of mushrooms in a box. He said it must have weighed 10 pounds. I did a double take and got right back to him – no doubt in my mind. I met him the next day and weighed out a13 pound Hen of the Woods (click picture to see the whole thing), plus two more small ones that went 2-3 pounds total.

Apparently the Hen had come up right before the deep freeze and survived well. Only a few tips were frostbitten, and scissors took care of that. The nice thing about it being so large was that it had a very large and solid center which let us cut what looked essentialy like mushrooms steaks.

Dino gave me 3-4 pounds as a “consultant”. On Thanksgiving, I cooked cracked-pepper encrusted pork tenderloin, accompanied by yellow potatoes roasted with duck fat. Then, 1/2 pound of Hen (Maitake) went in the pan, along with  flour and freshly home made chicken stock to make a wonderful gravy. There were other dinner items, but the feature was Hen gravy – no Turkey today. Yummyyyy.



3 thoughts on “Thanksgiving Hen

  1. I’m kicking myself after reading this entry. I assumed that colder weather was an indicator to plan for 2015 (note to self: get out and look for those next year!). Lesson learned: never assume with nature. Very nice!

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