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How to cook puffballs recipe


Photo: The memorial for Mrs Boss

Photo: The memorial for Mrs Boss

“I want Mrs Boss to have a memorial. She deserves it.”
Danny was warming his hands over the wood burning stove. He had just finished burying her in the garden. It was March 2009.
“They have some nice Willowstone chickens at the garden centre. I’ll get one. I know that they are well under £20.”

But when I visited the garden centre there were no chickens on display. In fact it has taken me all this time to discover that the stone garden ornaments had been moved to a different area. Last week I chose the chicken that looked most like Mrs Boss and returned home in triumph.

It may seem a bit weird that we loved a chicken. Mrs B was no ordinary hen. Scruffy and independent, she had a strong personality and taught us a lot about chicken keeping over her long life. Somehow she crept into our hearts and we still miss her.

We decided to set the sleeping hen beside the back door. As Mrs Boss was buried in a border, the stone chicken would be lost amongst the flowers.

Imagine my horror when I came downstairs and saw this on the table. I reckoned that Danny had kicked the statue (by mistake) and broken of the head. When I lifted it up tenderly it was strangely light. Then I suddenly twigged – it was a puffball.

Photo: A puffball

Photo: A puffball

But where had it come from? Danny explained that someone had given it to him in the village shop.
“How do we eat it?”
“Apparently we fry slices in oil and butter, with salt and pepper, until golden brown. Some say that it tastes like steak.”
It was delicious. 15 minutes each side on a very low heat (like 1.5 out of 9 on our halogen cooker ring dial). Not really at all like steak but good and meaty with a very delicate flavour. More like chicken than beef steak.

If you live in an area where horses are kept you are most likely to find a puff ball in a paddock. Until yesterday I had never seen one but I will keep my eyes peeled from now on.

Meanwhile, the Mrs Boss memorial happily sleeps beside the back door. It needs to weathered a bit to be like Mrs Boss – who never had dust baths marked as a high priority.

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  1. we used to find them in the woods as kids! would love to find some now!

  2. I’ve always wanted to try a puffball. Had a huge brain puffball growing in the yard after a period of sustained rain, but the bugs got to it before I was able to. Apparently they like puffball as well, and the whole thing was just riddled with little worm channels.

  3. Peel the outer layer off from the puffball before you prepare it. Look for these after a good fall rain. These are great sliced up, dipped in egg and patted in cracker crumbs or Italian bread crumbs. Add a little seasoning salt and fry them in bacon grease. Oh so tasty!!

  4. I’m sure Mrs Boss would approve of her sleeping reminder and what a very elegant choice. I always go for a far more traditional reminder for our animals at a web site pets at rest ( all one word) they have supplied us with beautiful plaques which i spent many a smiling moment cleaning and remembering each of our little friends who have left us, so I don’t think you’re silly at all for wanting to recall a chicken and her wonderful ways.

  5. Magic Cochin

    Hee hee! wearing my specs now… and I’ve just spotted that’s the hen memorial not the puffball at the top…


  6. I think it’s lovely to have a memorial for Mrs B. I don’t think you’re weird — I was upset when Mrs B died and I didn’t even know her except via your blog!

    Interesting fact: puffballs are called “wolf’s farts” in Basque.

  7. Magic Cochin

    Cliff found a puffball while out on a walk a couple of weeks ago – they’re such an exciting find and delicious too!

    We used it over 3 days – with bacon bits over a green salad with a lightly fried egg on top; in a pasta sauce; and gently cooked with cheese and beetroot in a pitta bread for lunch.

    We usually find them in early October (special secret location) but this year the fungi seem to be fruiting(?) earlier.


  8. I used to have a bantam hen who was a particularly special character. Her name was Percy (when she hatched we didn’t know she was a she!), and she used to snuggle up with the dogs in their bed, or settle down, croodling gently, on my tummy if I was sunbathing. She loved to be carried, perched on your wrist like a hawk. We lost her when she fell in the pond and drowned; I was astonished how upset I was – and stil am, 15 years on.

  9. Michelle from Oregon

    I fitting memorial for a plucky chicken….no pun intended!).

  10. Hugh f-Whittingstall featured a huge one in one of the river cottage progs, he sliced off the top, hollowed it out, and mixed the insides with mince onion and tatties etc, wrapped it in foil and slowly cooked it in the oven.
    Inspired,I tried a similar version with one i found,and it was super! – now i cant find any! I think they may be extinct in this area.

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