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Earth Eats: Real Food, Green Living

Southern-Fried Chicken Mushroom Sandwich

Bright orange chicken mushrooms are all over Midwestern woods and farmers markets these days.

Look at this beauty. We stack two double-battered chicken mushroom patties on a bun with coleslaw and sweet pepper relish.

Ryan Johnson grew up foraging for morels in rural Monroe County, Indiana, but he didn’t learn about chicken mushrooms until he started working as a sous chef at FARMBloomington. “They’re not what you would think of when you think of mushrooms,” he says. “They have a really meaty texture. They’re almost exactly like chicken.”

Johnson is going all out on his southern-fried chicken mushrooms with a double-dredge — twice the breading and extra crispy. But if you want the bright orange color of the mushrooms to peek through, stick with a single dredge. Want to make this vegan? Scratch the buttermilk brine and soak the mushrooms in pickle juice instead.

Like many sandwiches, the extra toppings really make it spectacular. A healthy spoonful of Sweet Pepper Relish balances out the Horseradish Slaw. Make the slaw to your taste with mayonnaise, apple cider vinegar, some fresh horseradish and a dollop of your favorite stone ground mustard. Add that sauce to some shredded Napa and red cabbage, onions and cilantro.

Southern-Fried Chicken Mushrooms


  • 1 pound chicken mushrooms
  • 3 cups buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 cups flour, seasoned with salt and pepper
  • cooking oil


  1. Rinse the mushrooms and remove any woody bits. Heat one inch of oil in a cast iron pan.
  2. Make the brine by combining buttermilk, salt, pepper, paprika and cayenne pepper. Soak mushrooms in the brine. Remove mushrooms from brine and dredge them in the seasoned flour. To double-bread the mushrooms, repeat the brine-to-flour process.
  3. Drop mushrooms in the hot oil. Allow them to fry for 2-3 minutes or until golden brown and crispy on both sides. Before serving, let the mushrooms rest on a bed of paper towels to pull out any excess oil.

Earth Eats Staff

Earth Eats Staff is a weekly podcast, public radio program and blog bringing you the freshest news and recipes inspired by local food and sustainable agriculture.

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