Hen of the Woods Cream of Mushroom Maitake Soup

Hen of the Woods soupUpdated:  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.

maitake-mushroom-soup2

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!
Author:
Serves: 8
Ingredients
  • 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
Instructions
  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!
Notes
(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

This Post Has 17 Comments

  1. 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.

  2. 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?

    1. Hi Brad,

      Yes, I did puree it. I hope yours turns out delicious. Let me know!

  3. 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!

    1. Thank you James – if you read this comment please email back and let me know how you liked the soup.

  4. 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)

    1. 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!

    2. 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…

      1. 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! 🙂

  5. Costco had organic hen of the woods mushroom 1 lb each….. So we tried your recipe….absolutely delicious!

    1. Jackie, I am so glad you liked the recipe. I shop Costco about once every 6 weeks (about an hour from me) and so next trip I’ll look for henof the woods! Thank you and God Bless.

  6. I wanted to make this today but was unsure about the ingredient amount for the white wine? Thanks!

    1. Oops – my mistake, should read 1 cup of wine! Let us know how you like the soup!

      1. Turned out soooo delicious!!!!! The whole family loved it! Thank you for the recipe!!

        1. Thank you so much for letting us know how you liked the soup. You have my taste buds remembering how good this soup is … now to find some Hen of the Woods! Have a blessed week!

  7. 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

    1. Ohhh, this soup was so delicious! We haven’t been gifted with any hen of the woods since then — I know you will love yours!

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