This weekend, I experienced mushroom foraging for the very first time and completely fell in love with it!
There’s something so primitive and majestic about wandering through the game trails in the moss and fern-covered Siuslaw National Forest among the tall evergreen trees, breathing in the purest air, listening to the birds and squirrels while picking food for dinner right from the forest floor.
Although there was one pretty major hiccup. I really had no idea what I was looking for, which, when foraging for mushrooms, could be a very dangerous mistake. I am somewhat familiar with a couple different varieties but not confident enough to go at it alone. So, luckily, I had my friend, Helen Denton, the owner of Lil Swiss Farms, on speed dial the entire time.
Lil Swiss Farms is an urban farm located right here in my hometown of Waldport, and it supplies many of our local restaurants with nutrient rich micro greens. Helen also happens to have her commercial mushroom foraging license as well, so having her there to guide me every step of the way was an absolute lifesaver — maybe even literally. With the help of Helen and my neighbor, Billy, who showed me where to forage, and even donated a few mushrooms he had found on his property, I filled my bag with lots of beautiful chanterelles, shaggy manes and boletes. There were more than enough to make a spectacular stroganoff with!
Helen’s suggestion to me was to purchase a mushroom guidebook for the Pacific Northwest because there are literally hundreds of different varieties of mushrooms in our area, and that is exactly what I did.
Luckily, mushroom foraging season is still in full swing, so whether you’re in search of wild mushrooms, fresh air, peace or tranquility, nature’s got you covered.
So get out there and enjoy it. Maybe I’ll even see you out there wandering through the woods!
Beef and Wild Mushroom Stroganoff
2 pounds beef sirloin
1/2 pound (or more) wild mushrooms
2 cups beef stock
1 yellow onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 cup sour cream
Salt and Cracked black pepper to taste
Thinly slice sirloin into strips. Rinse, pat dry and slice mushrooms. In separate bowl, combine flour and salt and dredge meat in flour mixture. Heat butter in Dutch oven or stick pot, brown dredged sirloin. Add mushrooms, onions and garlic and sauté for another 5 minutes. Blend in remaining flour, then add beef stock, Worcestershire, cracked black pepper and Dijon mustard.
Place lid on Dutch oven or stock pot and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in sour cream.
Serve over pasta or rice. Enjoy!