12 years ago my wife and I purchased property to build our first home. While walking the property in spring, my wife noticed a funny looking mushroom. She called her friend over to take a look and when she got there, she flipped out. “Those are morels right in your backyard!” I did a bit of research and found out about the gold that was growing on my newly purchased land. Knowing what they are and how good morels taste on top of some venison steaks, I was hooked on hunting morels.
Once we moved into our new home, we soon met some of our neighbors. When I told them about the property we bought, quite a few of the neighbors already knew about the morels that grew there. The previous landowners were absentee owners and the neighbors were pillaging all the fungus goodness every spring. In fact, the following year when I went out to look for my new batch of morels, all I found were fresh picked stumps. So, I did what any hunter would do and I hung a few trail cameras. It didn’t take long before I caught one of the neighbors red handed. Rather than ruffle the feathers of my new neighbors, I nonchalantly mentioned that I had the cameras up and wouldn’t you know it, just like that the morel thieves were gone.
Getting more involved with hunting morels, I did some online research to learn more about where they grow, how to store them, many many recipes, etc. As much as I read online, one thing I can say holds true for the past 12 years, is that there is no one spot that will always produce every year, consistently. Some spots have a few in the same area for a couple years, but nothing dependable on a year in year out basis. This spring has been by far the best year we have had and it’s on a section of our land where I have only found a couple in the past. Moist ground around freshly dying elms is the ticket. I also like to pick them as soon as I find them. The fresher the better.
Now, to cooking these delicious little jewels of the forest…
- Morels washed and cut in half length wise
- Sweet onions thinly sliced
- Blue cheese
- Pickled jalapenos
Recipe Link: Bacon Wrapped Morels
First, you obviously need to find some morels. Now, assuming you have some on hand or plan on having some in the near future, you need to give them a thorough rinse and scrub. For more on how to properly clean morels, click here.
Once you’ve cleaned them, slice them the long way down the middle. It’s never a bad idea to give them another rinse once you open them up because some bugs can be hiding in the hollow stem.
Now that you have them sliced and cleaned, it’s time to start stuffing them with goodness! Lay a couple of pieces of onion inside the morel, along with a bit of blue cheese and a few small pieces of jalapeño.
Now that the morel is stuffed with cheesy goodness, it’s time to invite some meat to the party! Oh, yeah….it’s bacon time! Cut the bacon slices into thirds and wrap around the stuffed mushroom and pin it with a toothpick. I like to wait till the bacon is room temperature before I wrap anything because it’s more pliable and easier to work with.
Next, it’s time to cook them. If you have an air fryer, you can cook about 15 of the mushroom halves for 10 minutes at 360 degrees. Using a traditional oven, cook at 350° for 15 minutes or until the bacon is done.
BOOM! You’re all done and now you have an appetizer that will send you running to the woods in search of more delicious morels! Enjoy and don’t forget to protect your secret location with a trail camera:)