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andiesenji

Duxelles, a photo essay

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Explanation.

Yesterday I made a batch of duxelles and took photos of the process. I neglected to upload the photos to my computer yesterday and since last evening, I am at the home of an acquaintence, babysitting a basenji bitch who is ready to whelp at any moment and the owners are away from home, the wife at the dog shows in Palm Springs and the husband, an L.A. County firefighter, on duty because of the storms.

I brought my camera along to take photos in case the pups are born on my watch. Unfortunately I needed to clear the memory card to make room so had to upload the photos so put them into image gullet.

With not much else to do, I have edited the photos and uploaded them to my album. Fortunately they also have a Mac, and since I had already posted the recipe to my notepad in eG, I have decided to post this now.

First the recipe:

Duxelles

Mushroom paste, a condiment/sauce.

1 1/2 pound Crimini mushrooms or Italian brown mushrooms.

Minced finely in food processor or by hand.

6 ounces of butter

2/3 cup finely minced shallots (You can substitute an equal amount of mild onions with a large clove of garlic if shallots are unavailable.)

2 teaspoons Herbes de Provence

1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt - use less if you have regular table salt.

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

2/3 cup Port, ruby or tawny are okay, Sherry can be substituted if Port is not available.

1/2 cup heavy cream

Mince the mushrooms fairly fine in a food processor - do a small batch at a time so as to avoid over-processing.

Line a colander with muslin (or a thin cotton dishtowel) and squeeze the mushrooms to extract as much liquid as possible. Squeeze liquid into a bowl and save for later..

In a large, heavy-bottomed, skillet or sauté pan melt the butter until it just begins to brown.

Add the finely minced shallots, sauté, then reduce heat to a low simmer and cook until shallots are translucent and just beginning to show a light tan color.

Add the Herbes de Provence and continue cooking for one minute, stirring constantly.

Bring the heat up to medium and add the mushrooms.

Stir constantly to mix the mushrooms thoroughly with the shallots and until the mushroom began to express some liquid.

Reduce heat to low simmer.

Continue cooking, stirring well every 5 minutes for 30 minutes.

Add the salt and pepper, stir well.

Bring the heat up to low medium.

Sprinkle the flour evenly over the top of the mushrooms and stir well to mix thoroughly.

Continue cooking and stirring constantly for at least one minute so the flour is completely incorporated and browned.

Add the liquid squeezed from the mushrooms to the mixture.

Add the Port and stir well.

Continue stirring often for 2 to 3 minutes, the mixture should be bubbling well.

Reduce heat to low simmer.

Blend in the cream.

Taste and add additional salt and pepper if needed to balance flavor.

Continue cooking at a low simmer, stirring at 5 to 10 minute intervals for 30 to 40 minutes, until the mixture has the consistency of a thin paste. It should hold its shape for several moments when scraped into a mound.

Cool and transfer to a container and store in the refrigerator. Use within a week.

The mixture can be frozen in small amounts in airtight containers for up to 3 months, vacuum sealing is best.

This recipe is my own interpretation of several recipes tried over the years and significantly altered from the originals.

This condiment can be used as a sauce for meats, spread on toast or crackers. A dollop can be added to hard-boiled or deviled eggs. It can be spread on crepes and rolled up with other fillings. It can be added to meat mixtures for savory tarts.

And, when combined with onion confit, is a wonderful complement to just about anything savory.

Scalloped potatoes, with alternating layers of potatoes, onion confit and duxelles, is a wonderful side dish for a cold, rainy day.

And, you could always use it in the traditional way, in Beef Wellington.

And now, the picutres:

gallery_17399_60_1105207041.jpg

First the mushrooms, brown Italian or Crimini are the best to use.

Mince in small batches in food processor.

gallery_17399_60_1105207064.jpg

they should look like this.

gallery_17399_60_1105207088.jpg

Now mince the shallots

gallery_17399_60_1105207116.jpg

The liquid has to be squeezed out of the mushrooms.

gallery_17399_60_1105207140.jpg

It should look like this - save the liquid.

gallery_17399_60_1105207162.jpg

The mushrooms don't have to be completely dry.

gallery_17399_60_1105207183.jpg

Now melt the butter over medium heat in a heavy-bottomed saute pan:

gallery_17399_60_1105207205.jpg

Add the shallots:

gallery_17399_60_1105207226.jpg

and the mushrooms after the shallots have been cooked:

gallery_17399_60_1105207246.jpg

Watch for the mushrooms to release liquid:

gallery_17399_60_1105207269.jpg

Reduce heat - now begins the first reduction -

2/3rds of the way there:

gallery_17399_60_1105207291.jpg

First reduction is done and the flour has been stirred in:

gallery_17399_60_1105207337.jpg

Now the Port has been added:

gallery_17399_60_1105207469.jpg

Now the cream has been blended in:

gallery_17399_60_1105207514.jpg

Now begins the final reduction,

half way there:

gallery_17399_60_1105207535.jpg

Finished! We have achieved duxelles.....

gallery_17399_60_1105207562.jpg


Edited by andiesenji (log)

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Oh my goodness. Thank you so much. This has answered many questions I have had. The pictures are particularly helpful and well chosen. (Be careful . . . Very careful . . . You may get drafted for an eGCI course. :biggrin: )

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Very nice post. Do you or anyone else know the literal meaning of duxelles?

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Very nice post. Do you or anyone else know the literal meaning of duxelles?

According to the Larousse Gastronomique, and I quote:

"The derivation of the word is disputed: some claim that duxelles was created at Uzel, a small town in the Côtes-du-Nord, while others attribute it to La Varenne, chef of the Marquis d'Uxelles."

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Frankly, I have never considered the meaning, literal or otherwise.

I learned to make it 30-some years ago when I took a gourmet cooking class from a French chef in Encino, Calif. His opinion was that the "quick-cooked" method was an abomination and the only way to do it correctly was to cook it for a prolonged period at low temperature.

This is the way I have done it and I like it this way.

What is the literal translation?

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iirc, duxelle is simply finely chopped shallots and mushrooms cooked in butter..a sec..very dry. a basic duxelle can be turned into a pate/filling/sauce etc...

i think those lovely pictures illustrate a duxelles or champignons sauce(even though the fond(stock base) is absent)

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Duxelles is simply a mushroom/shallot paste that is used to flavor all kinds of foods that are complimented by mushrooms.

There are numerous recipes which involve much less effort and cooking time than my version.

Whole Foods market has their own version as well as some uses for it.

This food glossary link has several sites with various recipes.

Here is yet another recipe.

If you like mushrooms, you will like this. It has an intense mushroom flavor that lends itself to all type of meats and vegetables and even cheese.

One of my friends prepares a brie en croute with a layer of duxelles under and over the cheese before closing the pastry.

It is an exceptional combination of flavors. Sublime!

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You said to "save the liquid" from the squeezed out mushrooms. You never mention adding this liquid back to the duxelles. What do you use it for?

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You said to "save the liquid" from the squeezed out mushrooms. You never mention adding this liquid back to the duxelles. What do you use it for?

It is in the instructions just before "add Port to the mixture"

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mmmm, mushrooms. :biggrin:

I tried chopping mushrooms in my food processor and it was a unmitigated disaster. Besides limiting the quantity you place in the workbowl, what other suggestions can you offer?

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mmmm, mushrooms. :biggrin:

I tried chopping mushrooms in my food processor and it was a unmitigated disaster.  Besides limiting the quantity you place in the workbowl, what other suggestions can you offer?

Use a knife

A quick duxell can be made and is very tasty. The addition of port is a departure from regular duxell as is crimini. You can use what you like...white wine gives acidity without all the sugar. Duxell is a good way to use your stems if you are making a bunch of stuffed mushrooms(if the stems are not too woody). It can also be the starting point for your stuffing for said mushrooms. You can make it wetter/drier, chunkier/smoother, depending on application. For a stuffing for chicken roulade I make mine a little chunkier drier. For a black porter sauce I use portabellos and make it finer and wetter. For a crustini I use varieties and make it chunky and add leeks a gruyier. Looks pretty good. Would make a good vegitarian bisquits and gravy. Damm....I better not see that showing up on menus.

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mmmm, mushrooms. :biggrin:

I tried chopping mushrooms in my food processor and it was a unmitigated disaster.  Besides limiting the quantity you place in the workbowl, what other suggestions can you offer?

I pulse them 5 or 6 times, perhaps a couple of more pulses if there are big chunks hanging about.

I have been doing them that way for years, never had a problem.

If they are larger than the ones shown in the photos I cut them into halves or quarters. They should all be about the same size to start.

I wish I was home now so that I could have some on toast under a poached egg.

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...(Be careful . . . Very careful . . . You may get drafted for an eGCI course. :biggrin: )

I second that suggestion! I was hoping that when eGCI was back up and running that andiesenji would do a condiments class.

andiesenji, thanks for taking the time to document and post this!

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Thanks for a beautiful look at your process.

I have been making a much less elaborate preparation for the last 20 years or so and including it with herbed bread cubes for Thanksgivng stuffing. That portion of my family which makes up the passionate mushroom-lovers thinks it's great. I think I will practice now so that I can treat them to your version next year. The equally vociferous mushroom-haters will just have to manage.

Amy

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That looks like pure mushroom love. Andie, one picture had a bottle of everclear next to the basin...I know you can't do alcohol, so I was just nosing about what you used it with--I assumed not the mushrooms, or it'd be in the description.

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The Everclear is for flavorings. The higher alcohol content extracts more flavor from herbs, spices, fruits and etc., than lower concentrations.

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No, not in the duxelles. It just happened to be there because I also had some fruit and peel in the steam juice extractor on the stove and the everclear was added to that as soon as the juice was drained out of the pot, while it was still hot, this insures that the concentrated juice is protected from any unwanted organisms that might be floating around in the air.

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Oh, that's cool, I thought maybe for a minute you were gonna use one of those totally proper "Southern Church Lady" moments and leave out a necessary step. Sorry. I know you wouldn't but there's recipes in Texas that are still not complete. I know of one lady in Millsap, Tx, who went to her reward with the secret of her hummingbird cake.

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Very cool. but i would skip the step of squeezing the mushrooms dry. That is good flavor that will be absorbed in the first reduction. try it and see.

i think duxelles are one of those things like bechamel that have been wrongly tossed aside in the quest for "modernity". they're wonderful stuffed under the skin of chicken that's going to be roasted (and i second RETRVR's suggestion of using a dry white wine instead of the port ... unless that's the way you like it ... with port, it would be nice to use with beef or pork in some way).

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We have some lovely suggestions here on how to use this. I am wondering how I would get that far. My visual image is one of eating it out of the pot with a spoon.

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I just made some and the taste is sensational.

Chopping mushrooms by hand was a major PITA, next time, machine all the way. I used onions because I had no shallots and used a mixture of a full bodied red wine and some dry sherry instead of the port. I also didn't use cream as I was concerned if the dairy would hasten it going off.

A small amount was put in a glass jar to be kept in the fridge while the rest is in an ice-cube tray under plastic wrap.

I thought the amount of flour in the recipe was a bit excessive, I wasn't a fan of the excessively gummy texture. I guess I'm treating it more as an ingredient rather than a condiment. A condiment has to be edible pretty much as it is without further manipulation whereas with an ingredient, you want maximum flexibility.

Have you tried adding beef demi-glace to it? It seems it would complement the flavour well and add a bit more body requiring less flour.

I'm planning to use some on a roast chicken tomorrow and I think it would also serve as an interesting garnish for some of Bourdain's mushroom soup which is also in the near future.

Eating some plain on a piece of toast, these are the things I think it would naturally pair with:

Onion Confit

Liver Pate

Roasted bell peppers

full bodied cheese

rare roast beef

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