Chicken of the Woods Pasta Sauce Recipe

The chicken of the woods mushroom is not only the perfect base for a sauce, but is also delicious fried, in stews, or ground into a spice of its own.

From "The Forager's Feast"
October 2016

  • Not overwhelmed by the other flavors, the chicken of the woods is the feature of this dish.
    Photo by Leda Meredith
  • “The Forager’s Feast: How to Identify, Gather, and Prepare Wild Edibles” by Leda Meredith.
    Photo courtesy The Countryman Press

Yield: 4 servings

Inexpensive, fun, and yielding delicious results, foraging for local, natural plants is gaining popularity across the nation. Experienced foraging guide Leda Meredith has written The Forager’s Feast (The Countryman Press, 2016) to break down everything you might need to know about the sensation. Learn to identify edible plants in the wild, how to harvest them without harming the growing plant, and try some original recipes while you’re at it!

You can purchase this book from the MOTHER EARTH NEWS store: The Forager’s Feast.

This is a deliberately simple recipe because when I find a really choice, tender chicken mushroom I want to feature it, not overwhelm it with other flavors. You could, of course, use other mushrooms in this sauce, but the chicken mushroom is what turns simple into extraordinary here.

For more about this mushroom, see: Foraging Chicken of the Woods Mushrooms.


• 4 tablespoons butter (or vegetable oil), divided
• 1-1/2 pounds young chicken of the woods mushrooms, cleaned and finely chopped
• 1 shallot, peeled and finely chopped
• 1/4 cup dry white wine or sherry
• 1-1/2 cups milk (vegans can leave this out and double the amount of stock)
• 1-1/2 cups mushroom or vegetable stock
• 3 tablespoons flour
• Several sprigs fresh or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
• Salt
• Pepper


1. Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in a skillet over low heat. Add the mushrooms and shallot and cook, stirring often, until they have first released any liquid and then reabsorbed it, about 10 minutes. Add the wine and cook for another 5 to 10 minutes.

2. Combine the milk and stock in a small pot and heat to a simmer.

3. In a separate medium-size pot, melt the remaining 3 tablespoons of the butter over low heat. Stir in the flour and cook, stirring often, for 4 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in the hot milk/stock mixture a little at a time. (If you dump it all in at once, it will clump.)

4. Add the thyme, and return to the stove and simmer over medium-high heat for 5 to 10 minutes, stirring vigorously and often, until it starts to thicken. Add the mushrooms along with salt and pepper to taste.

5. Serve over any cooked pasta, but fettucine is especially good here. Go lightly with the grated cheese, if any.

More from The Forager's Feast:

Foraging Wild Henbit
Henbit Noodles with Mushroom Sauce Recipe
Foraging Morel Mushrooms
Stuffed Morel Mushrooms Recipe

Reprinted with permission from The Forager’s Feast: How to Identify, Gather, and Prepare Wild Edibles by Leda Meredith, published by The Countryman Press, a division of W.W. Norton & Company, 2016. Buy this book from our store: The Forager’s Feast.

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