If you found these morels dotting the woods and fields, you wouldn’t tell a soul where you were. You’d keep this hidden stash to yourself – and with good reason. You could score $40 worth of mushrooms in the course of a half-hour walk.
Mushrooms are wily creatures, and usually appear about 3 days after a rain. I’ve found morels in my back yard, a few feet away from a pine tree. “They” say you can find morels a year after a forest fire near the burn. Or perhaps by new growth that sprouts from fallen trees. Sometimes they hide under dead leaves, others are in plain sight.
In Colorado, where the morel season is just winding down, foragers will hide any evidence they are searching for mushrooms, lest you discover their secret spot and take them. My Aspen friends kindly took me along on an expedition because they knew I could keep a secret.
For that dinner, we sautéed morels and served them with roast salmon and creamy polenta. The next night, we grilled pizzas and topped them with morels and mozzarella. But the highlight were the morels we stuffed with truffled chicken mousse.
You'll need large morels for this recipe.16 large morel mushrooms
1 boneless, skinless chicken breast, about 8 oz.
3/4 cup cream
1 tbs. truffle carpaccio or oil
1 tbs. fresh tarragon
1 tbs. fresh chives
1 tbs. butter
1 small shallot, peeled and diced
1/4 cup madeira or dry sherry
1 cup chicken stock
salt and black pepper
- Cube chicken meat and put in food processor with egg, cream and truffle carpaccio. Blend until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Add tarragon and chives, and pulse until just combined.
- Trim the very ends of morels. Inspect the inside to make sure there are no bugs.
- Fill a pastry bag fitted with a small tip with the chicken mousse. Pipe the mousse into the mushrooms.
- Heat a large skillet over medium heat-high heat. Add the butter. When melted, add the morels and the shallots. Cook for about 3 minutes, turning occasionally.
- Add the madeira and chicken stock. Cover the pan and cook for 10 minutes more. Finish with a squeeze of lemon.
- Serve with roast chicken or grilled steak.