Foraging for Supper

photo 1Everyone needs a break sometimes. I have taken to my mountain bike a lot lately as running has been hampered by a calf injury. Riding through the forest there are mushrooms everywhere! Lucky for us many happen to be lobster mushrooms. These orange beauties are easily recognizable and nothing else looks remotely similar. They grow under the ponderosa pines and it is easy to spot a bright orange beacon pushing up through the pine needles. Sometimes they take a bit of cleaning but it is worth it! We are usually able to collect these from late summer through early fall. Cooked up with eggs, or simply sauteed, they have a marvelous flavor. It is so easy to bring along an empty backpack and stop for a few minutes and bring home a full load. After work a few weeks ago I did just that and cooked them up for a vegetarian taco filling that we brought to a potluck to celebrate Rob’sphoto 4 Leadville win. They were so delicious I opted to cook them up the same way but this time combine them with another flagstaff late summer/early fall treat, green chiles. I used the chiles to make a sauce with tomatillos to pour over some lobster mushroom enchiladas. You could easily substitute any combination of mushrooms that you can find – portobello or shitake would both work nicely.



  • 1-2 lbs mushrooms
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1-2 chipotle peppers minced with about 1 teaspoon adobo sauce from the can
  • Juice and zest of 1 lime
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  1. photo 1Slice mushrooms into bite size pieces
  2. Heat 2-3 tablespoons of oil in a large skillet  over medium heat- you can also substitute butter or use a combination of the two
  3. Add the paprika and cook until very fragrant about 1 minute
  4. Raise the heat and add the mushrooms to the pan and spread them out to brown – cook until very brown stirring 2-3 times about 15 minutes depending on the type of mushroom used
  5. Remove from heat and stir in the last three ingredients
  6. Set aside until ready to use


  • 5-6  medium sized tomatillos
  • photo 32 roasted green chiles – skins removed** and chopped
  • stems of 1 bunch of cilantro plus 1/4 cup leaves
  • 1 teaspoon toasted cumin seeds
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Remove skins from tomatillos and place in a small saucepan, add water just to cover
  2. Bring to a boil and simmer about 15 minutes until very soft
  3. Meanwhile toast cumin seeds in a small dry skillet until very fragrant 2-3 minutes over medium heat
  4. Pour the tomatillos and the water into a blender or food processor, add the remaining ingredients and blend well
  5. Place the sauce back in the pan and cook until thickened over medium heat – about 15 minutes

Other Ingredients

  • 9-10 burrito size flour tortillas
  • 1 package cotija cheese crumbled (reserve 1/4 cup to melt on top)


To assemble and bake the enchiladas:

  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. Warm the tortillas in a towel in the microwave, on a pan in the oven or a skillet
  3. Pour about 1/4 cup sauce to coat the bottom of a baking pan that is about 11×13
  4. Lay out a tortilla on a flat surface, place about 1/4 cup of mushrooms down the center, add 1-2 tablespoons of cheese, roll tightly and place fold side down in the pan
  5. Repeat until the pan is full ( you may have some filling ingredients leftover)
  6. Pour remaining sauce over the enchiladas and top with cheese
  7. Cover tightly with foil and place in oven until the sauce is bubbling, about 20 minutes
  8. Remove the cover and brown the top if desired
  9. Serve with additional toppings like avocado or shredded lettuce if desired


photo 4

** We can buy chiles roasted fresh here in Flagstaff – if that is not available in your area you can char the pepper under the broiler on high for a few minutes (watch carefully!), directly over the flame on a gas range, or on the grill.  With any method turn the pepper until well charred on all sides.  Then place the hot pepper in a paper bag or a bowl covered with plastic wrap.  This will soften the skin and make it easy to remove.  When cool enough to touch, slip off the skin.


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