Wild Mushroom Sauté with Bacon, Herbs and Cous Cous – Foraging in Telluride


Wild mushrooms with bacon and herbs by Marla MeridithLast summer my awesome pal Chris proposed a wild mushroom hunt up in Lizard Head just outside Telluride. Since I never venture off piste the grand forage never happened. It was on my mind all year to get out there and do it. The day after we arrived this trip we made it happen. Mushroom hunting is a blast! Have you ever done it? It is amazing to hunt for your own food.

Great news….I will be regularly contributing to the Marcus Samuelsson blog. Please check out my Lemonade Cucumber Spa Popsicles over there.

Hiking in Telluride Summer 2011

Lizard Head is very pretty and has views of Wilson Peak. That mountain is pictured in Coors Beer graphics. This is a great location to pick lots of mushrooms. If you end up there leave some for me OK?

Marla Meridith Wild Mushrooms in Colorado

The weather leading up to our hunt had been just right….gloomy, rainy and very damp. The perfect conditions for mushrooms to grow.

Wild mushroom hunt in Lizard Head Telluride, CO

Chris taught us what mushrooms were safe to eat. Chanterelles and King Boletes were the ones to look out for. *yum*

He also taught us which ones were not safe…..*run away*

Mushroom Hunt in Lizard Head Telluride, CO

By the way isn’t Chris cute? We met each other a few years ago at the local Telluride Elks Lodge at the Spaghetti Sauce Pasta Cook-Off. He is the inventor of this awesome workout called Playground Pump.

He loves great food and fitness like me.

Mushroom forage in Lizard Head near Telluride

Did you know that Telluride has a Mushroom Festival? Yup. All kinds of mushrooms are celebrated here….all kinds. It’s called the shroomfest in case you are wondering. It’s in it’s 31st year. Can you imagine the celebrations that took place back in the 70’s? Do you think they remember those shroom fests?!

Chanterelles and King Boletes mushrooms

It was so fun being in the back country. When not chatting all I could hear was the pitter patter of the raindrops, the crunch of leaves and a gentle breeze. Heavenly.

Wild mushrooms with bacon and herbs by Marla Meridith

During the entire hunt I could not stop thinking about what I would cook up with these gems. The Chanterelles are such a beautiful shade of yellow and they have a distinct sweet smell like apricots….can you believe that?! The King Boletes are large dense mushrooms that have a stronger flavor. Both are wonderful and pair well together.

Telluride Summer in Lizard Head CO. Mushroom hunt.

With such wonderful, fresh ingredients you don’t need much. A little olive oil or butter (in this case both) and a pinch of salt creates complete perfection. Bacon and fresh herbs make them even better. I plated this with a gluten free brown rice cous cous.

Wild mushrooms with bacon and herbs by Marla Meridith

Have you ever hunted for wild mushrooms? What are your favorite mushroom recipes?


Wild Mushroom Sauté with Bacon, Herbs and Cous Cous

Makes 4 servings


  • Feel free to use quinoa, rice or pasta with this dish.
  • Pull any fresh herbs from your garden & experiment with flavors.
  • It can be very expensive to purchase wild mushrooms at the store. This would taste great with white mushrooms or a mix of what you find easily & affordably.
  • I like to cook my cous cous in vegetable and chicken broth. It adds lots of flavor.


  • 1 cup Brown Rice Cous Cous, cook according package directions
  • 4 strips Turkey Bacon, you can also use Vegan or Pork, cook and break into small pieces
  • 1o ounces Wild Mushrooms, cleaned and trimmed into bite pieces
  • 4 cloves minced Garlic
  • 1 tablespoon Butter
  • 1 tablespoon Olive Oil
  • a bunch of fresh Herbs, I like Rosemary and Thyme


  • shaved Parmesan or Romano Cheese
  • crumbles of Feta
  • a dash of Smoked Paprika


In a medium sauté pan heat butter and olive oil over medium high heat, lightly brown garlic in pan. Add mushrooms and cook for 3-4 minutes until soft. Mix in some herbs and chopped bacon. Plate with cous cous, fresh herbs and cheese if desired.


Mushroom Recipe Links disclosure: If you ever go mushroom hunting be sure to completely understand what you pick and take home to eat. Please consult your local mycologist (mushroom expert) to know which shrooms are edible and which are not. The wrong mushrooms can be toxic or deadly.


~ Marla Meridith

Join the Conversation

73 thoughts on “Wild Mushroom Sauté with Bacon, Herbs and Cous Cous – Foraging in Telluride

  1. You have no idea how much I love this post! I’m a mushroom FA-REAK. I’ve hunted for morels a few times, but have never had good luck. I see a leaf and I’m all, OMG YOU GUYS WE’RE RICH! Oh wait, that’s a dead leaf.

    This looks so fantastic – I can just TASTE the mushrooms.

    why. can’t. i. be. there. right. now.

    1. Bev, I did not see any Morels but really want some of those too. My hubs and Chris were the best hunters. I really just talked the whole time and dug when they said dig.

    1. Georgia, they are crazy expensive and tricky to clean. Gotta have lots of time and consider it a sort of meditation. Thanks for your sweet compliments. I would love to get out there with you some day for the BIG hunt 😉

  2. I’ve never foraged for mushrooms but it’s on my “must-try” list. Looks like you had a blast. And the shroomfest? I want to go to that someday!

    The recipe and photos look amazing. Well done. 🙂

    1. Thanks Molly. I had loads to edit and choose from. Glad you like the one I put at the top the best…..guess that was my favorite too 🙂

  3. Holy mushrooms! That looks like such an amazing trip and a perfect food foraging adventure. Especially for you, outdoors woman! I’m totes jeli. Guess you’ll just have to bring me along next time!

  4. I don’t trust myself hunting mushrooms but since I live next to the mushroom capital of the world, Kennett Square PA, I don’t have to! Although I should go with someone sometime that knows what they are doing, this is a great area for it.

    Funny we also had a simple Saute of mushrooms (shitakes, mitakes, oyster, and cimini) with goat cheese on flat bread. Earthy and delicious. My son begs for anything mushroom and since it was just us last night how could I say no!

    Lovely post.

    1. Laura, “mushroom capital of the world?!” I love that. Yes, do be sure if you go out foraging that you go with someone who can guide you to pick safe mushrooms. You don’t want to mess with those scares, but you could have a blast with the safe ones. Love the idea of your flat bread 🙂

  5. This looks like the most comforting bowl of food 🙂 I love wild mushrooms and wish more grew around here.

    Morels are probably my favorite, but I’ve never been able to go foraging for them. How fun!

  6. You are so lucky to have an expert help you forage for chanterelles! They are super expensive in the store. I saw some wild mushrooms growing around the house we stayed at on vacation and was tempted to try them, but since I didn’t know if they were poisonous or not, left them alone. They looked like giant portobello mushrooms.

    I’ve made warm mushroom salad with some local mushrooms I found at the farmer’s market, so good, you don’t know to do much to them to enjoy, just a simple saute like you did.

    1. Maris, I would have thought the same thing over a decade ago when I lived in NYC. This kind of thing would have not interested me at all. Now I live to be outdoors digging in the dirt or climbing a mountain 😉 Amazing how things have changed.

    1. Sommer, a truffle fest sounds like a blast. In the OC we don’t have these kind of things. Another reason why I need to move out here 😉

    1. Hi Sophia. I know, the good mushrooms are so expensive. Especially on a college students budget. After doing this kind of forage to buy these things in the store seems pointless, irritating and irrational.

  7. I never used to like mushrooms. Same as I never used to like beets. The problem was that I wasnt exposed to them…and the ones I was exposed to were cooked…horribly!

    Now, I love them and these look like gems!

    “By the way isn’t Chris cute?” – I was thinking that 🙂

    As well as thinking how CRAZY the shroomfests of the 70s and early 80s must have been. Oh to be a fly on the wall at one. What I would have given 🙂

    And congrats on your Marcus S. gig! I am a contributing editor there, too. Except I havent contributed in like…3 mos. Whoops! Need to get on that.

    And congrats on your quinoa accept on FG. Saw your gorg photo over there!

    1. Hey you! I know the MS thing is a bit of a commitment but super fun! Glad you agree that Chris is cute 😉 Badly cooked mushrooms could turn anyone off. Cooked right they are one of my favorite foods ever! Oh yes, I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall in the 70’s and early 80’s at the shroom fest. A sober fly on the wall 😉

  8. I love that you hunted for mushrooms!! that is awesome! I can’t say that I have ever “hunted” for food before, but I think it would be an awesome challenge! 🙂
    This looks so fresh and yummy!

    1. Ari, you gotta try “hunting” for your own food some time. One of the best experiences I have ever had. The mushrooms are pretty dried up right now, but I would love to do this again before I head back to the OC. It is truly amazing to see where your food comes from. You really feel at one with it.

  9. I think it’s so cool that you foraged your own mushrooms! And then turned them into this fabulous saute…good stuff! Off to go check out your marcus post!

    1. Joanne, I can only imagine the amazing creation you would cook up with all those wild mushrooms. Your recipes never cease to amaze me 🙂

  10. How great to have someone hunt mushrooms with you that knows what’s safe and what is definitely not okay to eat. If you know what you are doing, it is certainly cheaper and more fun than a trip to Whole Foods. 😉 Thank you for the link to my Baked Farro recipe! Hope to see you again sometime soon.

  11. Marla… your pictures are just gorgeous!!! I am blown away. I say thing because I do not like mushrooms, but you have made them so beautiful I think I would even try one!!

  12. Never been mushroom hunting, but I want to so bad right now! For the good or bad ones, lol. I am so afraid I’d pick up the wrong one, would have to have an expert with me like you.

    1. Kathryn, you are so right. Food tastes so much better when you pick it yourself. The whole interactive experience is rewarding in so many ways!

  13. Oh I’ve always wanted to go foraging for mushrooms! This looks like an awesome way to spend an afternoon – AND you get to eat the results. Bonus 🙂 Chanterelles are some of my favourites. Mmmmm!

  14. Wow, this looks and sounds delish! Wish I were in CO right now….so brutally hot in Texas. I found your blog via Teresa at Blooming on Bainbridge. I look forward to more recipes!


  15. Yummy! Love mushrooms. They look strange but are tasty little morsels! I love a grilled portabello mushroom. Great for vegetarians. You would swear you are eating a burger! Love all the pictures! Hunting for your own food is fun and free, not to mention organic and as fresh as it can get!
    Telluride is so incredibly beautiful. Enjoy! We miss you!

  16. looks so yummy! i love mushrooms too. we used to get fresh chanterelles in big sur in the san fran days. xo, andrea

  17. I’m a regular hobbit when it comes to mushrooms. I could eat them all day…and someday…I’ve decided I’m go to Europe and some wizened old woman will take me on a wild mushroom hunt! (I do dream well) 🙂

  18. This is such a fun post, Marla! Shroomfest sounds incredible…all those fresh mushrooms, yum!

    Stunning photos, too…I feel like you really captured the essence of the mushrooms and the dish so well!

  19. THE Marc Samuelson?!? That is awesome! CONGRATS!

    I haven’t been mushroom hunting in ages…we used to do it a lot when I was younger. Chanterelles were my my fave. 🙂

    1. Greg, that is so cool that you can gather those wild herbs and greens by your house. Where we live in CA….nothing. Hence another reason for my family to move to beautiful Telluride 🙂

  20. I’ve been cooking with chanterelle’s obsessively since last year. Plus I get them and dehydrate them for cooking when they’re out of season. So easy and so worth it given how expensive they are at the store.

    1. Pamela, that is a great idea to dehydrate the Chanterelles for recipes as you need them. Something comforting about having a stash of something this wonderful tucked away……

  21. I love mushrooms hunt too! 🙂

    We are doing it every year since I was little. It’s a tradition my mom brought from Russia, every year in the autumn and spring, when the weather is rainy… we are out in the forest for mushrooms. Sometimes there are so much of them, that we fill the whole trunk with them 🙂 We have a special marinating recipe and eat wild mushrooms all year round. My favorites are the portobello ones.

    1. Nadia that is amazing! To spend such special moments with your mom & get a trunk load of wild mushrooms too….where do you live? I have never heard of someone scoring so many around here. I wonder how long the mushroom season is in these parts. Not sure if they go out in the fall to forage too. Your marinating recipe sounds great. Have you posted it on your blog?

      1. I’m in Europe, Bulgaria 🙂
        The marinating recipe is not on the blog, I will publish it this autumn, when the hunting starts again 🙂

  22. Mushroom hunting sounds amazing; you had me rolling of laughter when questioning the shroom fest of the 70’s! My man is not a mushroom lover… but he is out of town and I have a good feeling this will be my solo dinner date tonight! Thanks for the beautiful inspiration!

  23. marla, this is wonderful. my apologies for not getting back to you this past summer. we had a great Shroomfest31 (it was a GREAT mushroom year for chanterelles, although the boletes were sparse) and now we’re planning for Shroomfest32, Aug. 16-19, 2012.
    we have wonderful forays into the mountains led by mycologist and amateur experts, classes on identification, workshops on cultivation, lectures and films and all kinds of presentations on all aspects of the mushroom world. and some culinary adventures — maybe we can rope you into doing something for us? let’s talk… 970.327.4767

    1. Wonderful information Art. We will be in Telluride at that time so we will certainly need to connect. I will be sure to contact you as ‘Shroomfest32 gets closer. I would love to go on a mushroom foray with one of the experts. There is so much amazing stuff to learn.
      In the mean time I can’t wait to swish down those ski slopes 😉 Thanks for stopping by.