My maternal unit was born & raised on ranches in rural Oregon (Pendleton-Hermiston area, to be exact). She was always a very “fruit of the earth”, moderately hippie type of woman. The goal was to grow, raise, hunt/fish, or forage most of our food when possible. Morel foraging was one of my favorite ways to source food (as opposed to butchering our “pet” rabbits). Morel foraging meant a road trip up into the mountains and hiking, two things I love. Every late spring we would head towards McCall, ID to hike and forage, spending the entire day surrounded by pine trees, cool mountain air, wild huckleberries (an added treat), and solitude.
When hunting morels, it’s wise to look for fallen, decaying trees, preferably in areas where there was some sort of recent-ish forest fires. Once you find something that resembles a tiny, brown-ish grey pine cone you’ve likely found a morel… or a poisonous mushroom. Really, it’s best to know exactly what you’re looking for. Or, better yet, purchase your morels from a knowledgeable local produce grocer. If you want to forage your own, definitely educate yourself about what to look for (and what not to look for) or take a guided hike with an experienced mushroom hunter. They can also teach you how to avoid poison oak/ ivy (a lesson I learned the hard way).
I foraged these morels at a fantastic produce stand in Boise’s NorthEnd neighborhood (the best hood in Boise, if you ask me). Morels can be a bit spendy, which is why it’s great that you don’t need a lot of them in this recipe to get the great taste. Morels also have a limited season, so you can always use dried morels (can be found at most gourmet, organic, or health food grocers). Just soak the dried morels in hot water (or veg broth) until they are softened through — don’t toss the soaking water, use it in another recipe or freeze in ice cubes & store in a freezer ziploc for use later!