During morel season, sometimes you come home empty-handed. But, better than that, one could come home with a few dryads saddles i.e. pheasant backs. If really lucky, one could find a huge lions mane mushroom. Well, I was lucky to find all the above. It was a great year for morels… and I never have problems finding the saddles. This year, I found my first lions mane mushrooms… three in fact. It took me two weeks creating various recipes to use them up and it was easy. Both saddles and lions manes are thick and fleshy and can be easily marinated and cooked like chicken.
It made sense to take it a notch further. What about jerky? If I’m marinating it before searing, what about marinating it before drying? So, I mixed up a jerky marinade and tried drying them out. It was a raging success and it’s something I can’t wait to do again. To be clear, I didn’t invent it, but I remember seeing someone do it with saddles in the past and it’s been on the list to do ever since.
The base of my marinade is comprised on whatever Mexican chili peppers I have on hand. This time, it was a pasilla, two guajillos an ancho and a chipotle. Now, I was calling it vegan… but I cheated (I’m not vegan after all). I put Worcestershire sauce in it (it’s fermented with anchovies)… but vegans can just hold that if they like. Soy sauce, or a nutritional yeast can give it a umami profile.
It was about a total of 1 pound of saddles + lions manes, the peppers, and to the marinade, I added eye-balled amounts of salt, pepper, soy, worchestershire, lemon juice and curry powder. Obviously, you can get creative and even use an entirely different recipe. Use your favorite jerky marinade. I just knew I wanted something thick so that it stuck to the shrooms even after it was dry. The chili’s turned to a paste that was even a little sticky once it was dry. It really could pass for a meat jerky.
See the captions on the photos for detailed info, and if you try it, post below and let me now how it turned out!