A fancy but easy French saute or paste traditionally made from any variety or combination of mushrooms, shallots, cream and/or wine. Named for the employer of 17th century French chef Francois Pierre La Varenne. Here in the United States we would probably call it mushroom dressing. Duxelles sounds so much nicer. It conjures up the essence of a deep dark earthy forest.
Duxelles may be used as a filling, stuffing or topping for endless dishes.
Classically, Duxulles comprise the flavorful barrier between meat and pastry in Beef Wellington. The saute is key to preventing the mushrooms giving off liquid during baking (which would lead to “soggified” Beef Wellington). The saute process reduces the liquid in the mushrooms and concentrates the flavor.
I love Duxelles in a blended burger, a combo of 1 part Duxelles to 3 parts ground chuck is my favorite. In fact, the Duxelles blended burger is so good, you’ll wonder why it even needs the beef!
A great plus with this recipe is that it doesn’t call for any dairy or meat, so it is essentially vegan and a great meat substitute all by itself. If you have meat lovers in the house, let them crumble some bacon or crispy prosciutto into it.
If you haven’t made Duxelles, try it. I guarantee it will become part of your regular kitchen repertoire.
You can even make and freeze extras. Simply let cool completely and then pack away in freezer bags or resealable freezer containers. Use within one month. When you need the Duxelles, simply transfer to the refrigerator and let thaw overnight, or thaw on low power in the microwave. Duxelles stored in the refrigerator will keep up to one week.
1 Pint of fresh mushrooms, cleaned and chopped (I use Cremini/Baby Bella, or Shitake)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup sliced scallion or spring onion, both green and white parts
1/2 cup dry red wine
1/2 cup broth or water
pinch each of salt and freshly ground black pepper or ground white pepper
Place chopped fresh mushrooms, salt, pepper, and a tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet. Cook over medium heat for 3-5 minutes. Add the red wine and broth and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 to 7 minutes. There should be just a small amount of liquid left in the mixture.
Carefully taste and add more salt or pepper as necessary.
Let cool before proceeding with recipe you wish to use them in (for filling), or serve immediately while hot as a topping for pasta, pizza, baked potatoes, mac-n-cheese, burgers or anything else you can think of!
A Note About Mushrooms:
When shopping for mushrooms to use for Duxelles, look for packages where they might actually be a little dried out. My grocer actually discounts some of the drier ones for quick sale. The drier the mushroom, the more concentrated the flavor.
Another way to boost flavor is to grind a couple of tablespoons of dried mushrooms and add it to the mixture while cooking. Try dried Shitake or Porcini mushrooms for this.
A Note About Onions:
Use whatever onion you like for this. I like scallions, or spring onions because the green part adds a little fresh herby flavor.
I used Spring Vidalia onions this time. They are my favorite and when they are available (just a couple of months in early spring each year), I will use them in EVERYTHING!
By the way, you can plant Spring Vidalias and a month or two later, have a regular onion to harvest fresh from your garden.
Keep one planted in your outdoor kitchen garden so you’ll have spring onion all year! It will bloom the next spring and give you onion flowers.
Crepes are the perfect serving vessel for Duxelles as they don’t overwhelm their earthy notes. They let the flavor of the mushrooms shine. I have an easy crepe recipe here, Cornmeal Buckwheat Crepes or you can use store-bought. Try making a savory Mushroom Crepe Lasagna for an appetizer or serve as lunch or dinner with a salad.
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