Have you heard of pheasant back mushrooms? They are one of the most underappreciated mushrooms, even though they are edible and delicious.
These mushrooms are large with feathery scales that look vaguely like the backs of pheasants. They have white, webbed pores inside. Their flesh is white, and they have a wonderful fruity aroma reminiscent of melon rind and cucumber. Their flavor is pleasant and mild, neither too mushroom-like nor too earthy.
When and Where to Find Pheasant Back Mushrooms
Pheasant back mushrooms grow on different types of dead hardwood, but they tend to favor elm and maple. You will find them most often in May and June, but they can be found right through the summer.
Pheasant back mushrooms favor dead trees, so when looking for them, focus on logs that are lying on the ground.
if you find some, be sure that they are young and that their pore layer is thin. Basically, your knife should be able to slide through them easily.
The most tender part of this mushroom is the outer edge, and this is the part that is best to saute.
The harder parts of this mushroom are best added to soups.
For more details on foraging for pheasant back mushrooms, see our article Foraging for Pheasant Back Mushrooms — 5 Pro Tips.
5 Delectable Pheasant Back Mushroom Recipes to Try
1. Sauteed Pheasant Back Mushrooms
- 1 or 2 medium-sized pheasant back mushrooms
- Olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- Chopped garlic (optional)
- White wine (optional)
- Clean and peel the mushrooms well.
- Heat olive oil in a sautéing pan over medium heat, along with some butter to coat the surface.
- Add the peeled mushrooms and cook until they begin to sizzle.
- You can add garlic, salt, and pepper at this stage. Continue to sauté the mushrooms until they turn brown.
- Once done, drain them on paper towels.
- You can add a splash of white wine if you prefer at any time while the mushrooms are being cooked, as wine, garlic, and mushrooms complement each other.
- You may further consider pairing your sauteed mushrooms with pizza, spring rolls, or even stir-fries.
Click here to get more information about this recipe: Sauteed Pheasant Back Mushrooms.
2. Pheasant Back Ramen
- 2 lbs. meat scraps, like pork
- 1 lb. matured pheasant back mushrooms
- 2 cups chopped carrot
- 2 cups chopped celery
- 2 cups chopped yellow onion
- 2 tablespoons cooking oil (flavorless)
- 1 gallon water
- 4 ounces tender pheasant back mushrooms
- 12 oz dried ramen noodles
- 12 oz mixed spring vegetables
- 3 oz young tender wild greens
- Poached eggs (optional)
- 1 thinly sliced jalapeno (optional)
- 2-4 tbsp. soy sauce, or to taste
- Virgin sunflower oil or any other flavorful oil (like sesame)
- Fresh chopped mint or cilantro (optional)
- 2 cloves of fresh garlic, lightly crushed
- 1 dried or 2 fresh bay leaves
- 5 black peppercorns
- 5 sprigs of fresh thyme
- Preheat the oven at 350 degrees F and roast the meat scraps until they turn golden. Once done, allow them to cool down.
- Chop the pheasant back mushrooms roughly and then grind them finely using a food processor.
- Pour oil into a stockpot and add the vegetables as well as the ground mushrooms.
- Now, add the tempering ingredients and roasted meat and let the mixture simmer for a while. Continue cooking for around 1.5 to 2 hours or until the liquid is reduced by half.
- Next, strain everything, cool the mixture, and place it aside. You can even season the broth with a little soy sauce to enhance the taste.
- Blanch your preferred green vegetables in boiling salted water. Chill by washing in ice and then drain and set them aside.
- Clean and wash the tender wild greens and chop them into pieces.
- Remove the pores from the bottom of the pheasant back mushrooms and thinly slice them using a sharp cutting knife.
- Heat the meat stock you put aside in a large stockpot and add the noodles. Once the noodles are boiled, strain and place them aside.
- Again, heat the reserved stock and add sliced young mushrooms. Cook them until they become soft.
- Take soup bowls and plate the dish by adding noodles, vegetables, and broth.
- Garnish the soup with reserved greens, fresh mint, poached eggs, and sliced jalapenos and serve immediately.
See the detailed recipe here: Pheasant Back Ramen.
3. Pheasant Back Mushroom Burgers
- 12-16 oz pheasant back mushrooms (mostly tender with some denser middle parts)
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1 bell pepper, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tbsp. mayo
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup breadcrumbs
- 2 tbsp. butter
- Splash of white wine
- Heat a small amount of canola oil in a pan on a medium-high flame. Add mushrooms to it and season them lightly with salt. Stir frequently so that the mushrooms get cooked evenly. When the mushrooms are half cooked, or after around 3 minutes, add in butter and continue cooking for another 3 minutes. Add a few splashes of wine and give a good stir. Transfer the mushrooms to the mixing bowl and refrigerate.
- In the same pan, toss the onion, garlic, and pepper over medium heat. Continue to cook until fragrant and soft (around 5 minutes). Add this mixture to the mushrooms and allow them to cool in the refrigerator.
- Once the mixture has cooled down completely, blend them in a blender or food processor until crumbling. It’s recommended to use the “pulse” setting here, as you just want to break the content into smaller pieces and not liquefy the mixture.
- Pour the mixture into a mixing bowl and add mayonnaise, eggs, and breadcrumbs. Mix well. Adjust the seasoning if required. Now, form the patties as you would for beef burger patties.
- Brown one side of the patty on a medium-high flame using oil. Flip and repeat the process. Serve with your preferred burger accompaniments.
Get the pictorial representation of this recipe here: Pheasant Back Burger.
4. Tempura Fried Pheasant Back Mushrooms
- Pheasant back mushrooms (clean and sliced into thick pieces – avoid taking woody part)
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- ¾ cup corn starch
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- ½ tsp. salt
- ½ tsp. pepper
- ½ cup soda water
- For tempura batter, add all the dry ingredients except mushrooms. Next, add egg and slowly begin whisking the batter while adding soda water.
- Take a deep sautéing pan and heat oil over a medium flame. Dip the mushroom slices in the batter and drop them one by one in batches into the hot oil. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes until they turn golden brown and crispy on both sides.
- Remove them and place on a paper towel to drain the excess oil.
Tip: Use the batter immediately or the carbonation will fade. Keep it chilled.
Get the full recipe here: Tempura Fried Pheasant Back Mushrooms.
5. Pheasant Back Mushroom Relish
- 2 lbs. small and tender pheasant back mushrooms (clean – mince them finely)
- ¼ cup shallot, finely diced
- ¼ cup flavorless oil
- ¼ cup champagne vinegar
- ½ cup water
- Kosher salt to taste
- In a wide pan, heat the oil and cook the shallot until translucent.
- Add mushrooms and cook them on medium heat until they start to dry. Add water if necessary and continue to cook for the next few minutes. Once the mushrooms are hot and soft, add the vinegar and season it with salt.
- Continue cooking until most of the liquid is dried up. However, you should keep them juicy, with around ¼ cup of liquid.
- Adjust the seasoning if required and let them cool down. Serve immediately, or if you’d like you can also refrigerate them and use them later.
Check out this article for some ideas on how to use the relish: Pheasant Back Mushroom Relish.
We hope you enjoy these pheasant back mushroom recipes. For a more detailed overview of cooking mushrooms, see our article The Essential Guide to Cooking Mushrooms.
And take a look at our mushroom recipe page for some other great mushroom recipe ideas.
And lastly, check out our article on cooking chestnut mushrooms for another fall favorite.