The Delicious & Shaggy Parasol Mushroom

The Shaggy Parasol mushroom (Lepiota rachodes(*) also known as Chlorphyllum rachodes or Chlorophyllum brunneum) is one of the best of all edible mushrooms. It is sporadically common in our area, but I find it most often in sandy soil near Cypress or around rich rotting organic matter during mild moist weather. It is one of the few edible mushrooms that can be found in any month of the year in the Bay Area.

Although Lepiota rachodes is easy to recognize by its coarsely scaly cap, free white gills, prominent ring, bulbous base, and red staining flesh, it does have a poisonous lookalike. Chlorophyllum molybdites can cause severe gastrointestinal upset in some individuals. It differs from Lepiota rachodes by its green rather than white spores (if in doubt, take a spore print!) and lack of staining reaction in the flesh. Fortunately Chlorophyllum molybdites is very rare in our area, preferring the warmer weather of Southern California where it is common on lawns.

The Shaggy Parasol mushroom has a delicious nutty-meaty flavor that needs robust flavors as an accompaniment. It generally goes very well with a variety of hearty meat dishes. Since there are known "allergic" reactions to this mushroom, be sure to try it in moderation the first time you eat Lepiota rachodes.

Gulyás with Shaggy Parasol

(Gulyás is the Hungarian word for the beef stew that we usually call Goulash. I am sure the Hungarians would make this stew with the "shaggy parasol" if these delicious fungi were available to them.)

Brown the cubes of beef in small amount of oil. This will take 3-4 pan fulls. When browned, place the meat in the pot in which the stew will be prepared and pour any juice from the meat out of the skillet into the pot.

Chop the bacon and brown it in the skillet. Remove the bacon from the fat and place it in the pot with the meat. Add the chopped onion and garlic and the caraway seeds and sauté until the onion just begins to brown. Add the flour and cook for one minute or until the flour begins to brown. Add one and one-half cup of the stock and stir well to prevent lumps as the sauce thickens. Pour the onion mixture over the meat, add the mushrooms, the remaining stock, the red wine, the paprika, and hot paprika. Simmer for 1 1/2 to 2 hours until the meat is tender. During the cooking. season the dish to taste with salt and pepper.

About ten minutes before the stew is done you may add the chopped peppers.

Serve with egg noodles, potatoes, or freshly made Hungarian pinched noodles.

(*) The currently accpeted name for "Lepiota rachodes" is Chlorophyllym rachodes. Our common local (central California) Shaggy Parasol is a different species, Chlorophyllum brunneum. Chlorophyllym rachodes also occurs locally, but it is not common. Both are delicious edibles.