Hen of the Woods Cream of Mushroom Maitake Soup

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hen of the woods soup

Updated:  September 24, 2018, Since writing this blog post it has generated several comments from folks who know more about mushrooms than I.  The good news is that this Hen of the Woods soup recipe tastes great with either mushroom!  Pictures have also been updated.

Hen of the Woods (22603413193)

Recently friends gave us some beautiful Maitake mushrooms.  Maitake mushrooms (Grifola frondosa) – also known as “Hen of the Woods” – are succulent and delicious.  In the U.S.,  they can be found in Asian grocery stores.  The mushroom is known by its Japanese name “Maitake”, which means “dancing mushroom.”

chicken of the woods mushroom
After reading some comments, these are likely Chicken of the Wood mushrooms.

Our friends had special ordered them.  The seeds arrived in a block of sawdust type material.  They allowed the seeds to mature in the bag, then unwrapped and watered 2–3 times a day. Clusters of Maitake mushrooms sprung forth, and we were the lucky recipients of some of the fruits of their labors.

Now, what to do with them?  I began searching for just the right soup recipe.  I am still making winter soups each week and so when I found a Maitake Mushroom Soup recipe I need not look any further. It was now time to make Hen of the Woods soup!

Hen of the Woods soup preperation

This recipe begins with a saute’ of onions and garlic in olive oil and a little butter.  I added chopped mushrooms, carrots, potatoes.  This mixture began filling the house with the most wonderful fragrances.  After this, I added chicken bouillon, although some Hen of the Woods soup recipes call for vegetable broth.  Either one works.

After cooking and cooling, I blended to a nice purée.  At this point, the soup could be refrigerated for later use, which is what I did.  The next day, I warmed up the purée, added some white wine and a bit of heavy cream and the end results were undoubtedly the best Hen of the Woods soup I had ever eaten.

My two culinary consultants agreed as we licked the bowls clean! I think this Hen of the Woods soup recipe would work well with just about any of your favorite mushrooms, and especially a shiitake mushroom.  The recipe called for a pound of mushrooms, I didn’t have that much but what I had worked perfectly for half a recipe.


Bon Appetit!

Cream of Maitake Mushroom Soup
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
This delicious edible mushroom is known by its Japanese name "Maitake", which means "dancing mushroom". This rich, creamy full bodied soup is a complete meal in itself!
Serves: 8
  • 2 lb Hen of the Woods (Maitake) Mushroom
  • 6 cup Vegetable or chicken broth
  • 1 lb Potatoes, chopped
  • 1 lb Carrots, chopped
  • 1 Onion, chopped
  • 8 clove Garlic, minced
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • 1 teaspoon Thyme, minced
  • 1 teaspoon Sage, minced
  • 1 cup White Wine
  • 1 cup Heavy Cream **
  • 2 tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 2 tablespoon Butter
  • 2 tablespoon Lemon Juice
  • 1½ teaspoon Salt
  • ½ teaspoon Cracked Pepper
  1. Thoroughly clean the mushrooms. Dry and then break apart into small pieces.
  2. Place a heavy soup pot over a medium-high heat, then add the olive oil and butter. Once the butter has melted, add the garlic and onion. Saute' for about three to five minutes, and then add the hen of the woods to the pot, as well as the salt and pepper. Stir and cook over a medium to high heat for about 10 minutes. Add the carrots and potatoes and saute' for another five minutes or so, stirring often.
  3. Add the stock, bay leaves, thyme, and sage to the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 25 to 30 minutes.
  4. Remove the bay leaves and cool down the soup slightly. Add to blender in small batches and puree until smooth. Add back into the soup pot, add the wine and lemon juice and simmer for another five minutes. At this point the soup can be refrigerated and warmed for later use. Or, if you plan to serve immediately stir in the cream and salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with your favorite herbs, and serve hot!
(1) Eight ounces of tofu blended in a little bit of the broth can be substituted for the heavy cream. The taste and texture will not suffer at all!
(2) If you don't have 2 lbs of mushrooms, use whatever you have and the soup will still be great.
(3) Ingredients can be cut in half with no problem.
maitake soup recipe

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26 thoughts on “Hen of the Woods Cream of Mushroom Maitake Soup”

  1. Stumbled across this recipe while looking for things to make with the copious amount of hen-of-the-wood mushrooms my husband was given by his brother. Oh my gosh, it is so delicious! The only change I made was to reserve some of the mushroom pieces, which I added after blending the rest of the soup. I like to find little surprises when I’m eating I guess.

  2. I’d add my vote to the comment above which stopped after the puree step, before adding the wine and lemon juice. This smelled heavenly while cooking, and a taste test (before pureeing) was really nice. Although I only added the two Tbsp of lemon juice as directed, I found that it changed the taste quite a bit, and not for the better, in my opinion.

    I DO plan to make this again, but I will likely omit both the wine, and the lemon juice. I’ll probably still add a splash of cream. I definitely will also cut down on the amount of carrots – instead of a POUND, I used just three large carrots, and once I pureed, it seemed like too much. My “hen” mushrooms were very pale (grew in deep shade, so light grey/beige, not brown) and after pureeing, the amount of carrots made the soup orange. The taste was strongly carrot, as well. But, all that said, I was glad to find a starting point to use my foraged Maitake.

  3. I don’t know if anyone’s checking these comments as it’s been a while since the recipe was posted.
    It’s wonderful soup! I followed the directions but didn’t measure things exactly to the ounce and it turned out fantastically.
    The Shaws grocery chain here in New England carries Hen of the Woods mushrooms at a reasonable price and so I put in a good, healthy 2 pounds worth.
    I left it kind of thick purée and will freeze a quart as it made about 3 1/2 quarts. I used creme fraiche instead of cream and it was nice.
    Definitely a soup to put into the soup rotation. Wonderful!

    • Yes, we still check them and love hearing from people who have enjoyed our recipes! Thanks for your kind words, and we’re glad you liked it!

  4. When I first made this soup, my intent was to stop after the puree step and freeze as we were overrun with maitake. Had the husband taste and it was so good as it was, I never added the lemon, wine, or cream. I have also made it with foraged oyster mushrooms, again only to the puree step, and it is equally as good. Don’t know if we will ever taste it with the other ingredients. Why mess with a good thing? Thanks for a great recipe.
    On another note, back to the type of mushroom….. Definitely not a maitake and unless your friends are advanced mychologists, not a chicken of the woods, aka laetiporus sulphureus, either as they are not usually cultivated, and if they are, it’s very difficult. The first picture looks to be a Berkleys polypore; the second, I would hesitate to guess. It matters not I suppose as the soup is delicious.

  5. A good friend of mine gave me a big chunk of hen of the woods he found yesterday. I am looking forward to making this soup tonight.
    The only question I have is, Do you have to puree it?

  6. Love your spirit. I was searching for a good Hen soup recipe and came across your page. I’ll be trying it out tonight on fresh harvest hens. If you need more Hens and are in the midwest, this is the time to get out. The season has just begun. Any woods with lots of oaks should yield plenty of these shrooms and sometime much too many for a single family. They grow from the base of oak trees so walk the woods and look around every oak you spot(easy to spot). Mosts hens of decent size can be spotted from a distance. Sure the recipe will be great. God Bless!

  7. I realize this was 3 years ago…but your ‘Hen of the Woods’ in the photo is definitely not. Griffola frondosa grows like a flower bloom without individual mushroom caps. Not sure what you have there. The recipe looked good all the same. :o)

    • Dear Carla, Thank you for taking time to write about the Hen of the Woods. I appreciate your expertise and will definitely take a look at the picture in that post. One thing I do know – that soup is delicious! God Bless!

    • I think the photo is a “Chicken of the Wood” mushroom… hen of the wood is definitely a “cluster” of chiffon-like rippled mushroom flesh which is grey and white in color whereas chicken of the wood is a smooth orange colored mushroom with a very bright yellow underside without gills… this picture is definitely not a maitake mushroom which is commonly called the “hen” of the wood…

      • Hi Gordon, thank you for this information. As you can see from the comments, this photo, which I took, has created some conversation. I am confused only because the friends who gave us these mushrooms had ordered “Hen of the Woods” seeds and grown them. Because I am no expert on mushrooms – I am going to re-write the post including your information! Thank you for taking time to share this. The recipe is just too delicious to throw it all out! 🙂

  8. Can’t wait to try this I just received a gift hen of the woods about three pounds….this will be the perfect way to share it

    • This looks like a great recipe, I am looking forward to making it with some wild forraged maitake! I’m sorry to say, but the mushrooms on the glass platter are neither hen nor chicken of the woods.. They appear to have a distinct stem and cap, which neither of those have. Going through the list in my head of commonly sold mushroom “grow kits”, and based on limited visual cues I’m guessing they might be Namekos? Either way, looks delicious, thanks for sharing!

      • Yes, I believe I had a different mushroom for the platter picture. I’m actually updating the photos very soon to show in more detail. Fall is approaching, and I plan on remaking it again this year. 🙂


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