Strobilomyces floccopus or strobilaceus and S. confusus
“Old Man Of The Woods”
- Similar Species
- Preserving (Drying or Freezing)
- Recipe Suggestions
New pics added 9/20/2018:
Strobilomyces strobilaceus, also called Strobilomyces floccopus and commonly known as old man of the woods, is a species of fungus in the family Boletaceae. It is native to Europe and North America. Fruit bodies are characterized by very soft dark grey to black pyramidal and overlapping scales on the cap surface.
The caps of the fruit bodies are between (1.6 to 3.9 in) wide, with a convex shape and a villous, involute margin. The cap surface is covered with dark grey to black erect scales. The stipe is up to (5.5 in) long and (0.8 in) thick. It is coloured like the cap and has a woolly surface and a thick, ascending annulus. The pores on the underside of the cap are hexagonal, coloured dirty white or grey.
The flesh is thick and initially white, but will stain pink and then slate grey and black after exposure to the air.
The dark brown to black spores are 9–15 by 8–12 μm, short elliptic and are covered with a mesh-like ornament.
Strobilomyces confusus has a slightly smaller cap with smaller and stiff scales. Its spores have irregular ridges that resemble a partial mesh. The cap of Strobilomyces dryophilus is coloured a dull grey pink to pinkish tan and produces spores with a complete mesh.
Habitat and distribution
Strobilomyces strobilaceus is found solitary or in groups in deciduous as well as coniferous forests in low mountain ranges and alpine areas of Europe, North America and Asia (Iran and Taiwan). It is less common in lowlands. The fungus appears between August and October and young specimens are edible.
Best to dry these in slices, use in soups, gravies, sauces.
Old Man of the Woods Mushroom Recipe: Cajun Braised Venison with Mushrooms, and Dark Brown Gravy
Tinder braised deer meat, thick flavorful gravy, with delicious ripe Old Man of the Woods Mushrooms served over a bed of Louisiana grown white rice, and a side of sauteed green briar and bull thistle. This is a meal fit for a Cajun Caveman! All of the ingredients except for the rice, flour, seasoning and butterwere collected by this chubby little chef from the wild green yonder. Once your understanding of certain wild foods begins to grow, you can leave the house with a few staples, and make a restaurant quality meal out of what you pick along the way….Or you can go through a drive thru, and only use your foraging ability in a survival situation. Whatever makes your dingo dance.
If you don’t care for wild foods, then the ingredients listed in this recipe can easily be swapped out for a multitude of grocery store alternatives.
Ingredients for the Braised Venison & Rice and Gravy:
- 1 to 1.5 lb Venison Round Steak. You can substitute with beef, or pork.
- 2 good handfuls of Old Man of The Woods Mushrooms. You can substitute whatever your favorite store bought mushroom here (portabello mushrooms, porcini would be killer, etc.)
- 1/2 to 3/4 cup of flour
- 3/4 stick of butter
- 3/4 cup chopped wild onion bulbs. You can substitute about 1/2 of a large white store bought onion & 2 cloves of finely minced garlic.
- 1 cup of short grain white rice.
- Cajun style seasoning to taste. You can substitute for whatever goes for awesome seasoning where you come from.
- Water (or a broth of your choice).
Cooking Method for the Braised Venison & Rice and Gravy:
1. Season the Venison with your favorite seasoning (I would recommend getting a good Cajun seasoning mix). I used Larue Tactical’s dry rub, Dillo Dust…that makes this dish a tactical recipe, right? It’s what I had in my truck.
2. Brown the meat in a black iron pot/skillet with 1-2 tbsp of butter, bacon grease or oil.
3. After browning, remove the meat, and store covered (or it will dry out) in a warm location.
4. We are going to make a roux. Place about 3/4 of a stick of butter in the bottom of the skillet, and melt. Add roughly 1/2 cup of flour little bits at a time, and mixing with the butter until you get the right consistency. If too thick, you can add a small amount of butter, if too thin a small amount of flour. It will start out as a paste, then as it cooks together it will become more like a viscous liquid.
5. Cook the roux on medium to medium high heat, stirring constantly to avoid sticking to the bottom of the skillet and burning. If you get black specks in your roux, then you burned it…start over.
6. When you get your roux dark enough (look for a light chocolate color), then add your chopped onion, and cook until soft. Then add garlic and cook until the mixture is incorporated into the roux.
7. Add water or broth until you get the desired thickness, and amount of gravy. Then add your chopped Old Man of the Woods mushrooms (or whatever kind you’ve got).
8. Simmer the mushrooms in the gravy until they begin to soften, then add your meat back tot he pot.
9. Cover and cook for 1 1/2 – 2 hours, or until the meat is fork tender. Add water or broth to the gravy if necessary.
10. Serve over Louisiana short grain rice.
Ingredients for the sauteed vegetables:
- A few handfuls of freshly picked greenbriar shoots. You can substitute with asparagus spears.
- A few handfuls of chopped bull thistle leaves with the spines removed. You can substitute swiss chard.
- Wild Garlic. You can substitute about a clove of finely minced garlic.
- 1 tbsp of butter.
- Salt/Pepper or Cajun seasoning.
Cooking Method for the Braised Venison & Rice and Gravy:
1. Wash your greenbriar shoots, and bull thistle leaves. You can substitute with asparagus, and swiss chard if you wish.
2. Remove the spines from the bull thistle by cutting with a knife or using a pair of scissors.
3. Cross chop the bull thistle, and add them to a skillet with the butter, garlic, seasoning and sautee.
4. Enjoy the fruits of your labor, and nature’s gifts.