Monday, December 19, 2011


If you’ve never made mushrooms “Duxelles,” you’re in for a treat! There are many recipes for Duxelles, but the basic ingredients are mushrooms sautéed with shallots, onions, garlic, tarragon, and sometimes parsley. Unless you grow fresh tarragon in your garden, it’s quite expensive. I’ve used fresh tarragon to make Duxelles in the past, but believe dried tarragon is every bit as good: My peasant’s palate can’t tell the difference! In the absence of shallots, I sometimes use very finely minced green (“spring”) onions and an extra clove of garlic, also finely minced. 
I love good food, but I’m not a food snob. I’ve made Duxelles with a costly mixture of mixed wild mushrooms, and - by the time everything was chopped, seasoned, and reduced in volume - I felt I’d wasted my money. Unless you’re fortunate enough to live in an area in which you can harvest wild mushrooms (see my May 9, 2011 post: René’s Mmmm! Morel Mushrooms), ordinary white or brown mushrooms will do just fine.
2 tbsp. butter (no substitutes)
2 tsp. oil
2 tbsp. finely minced shallots
1 garlic clove, crushed
½ tsp. dry leaf tarragon (or 2 tsp. freshly chopped tarragon)
1 tbsp. finely minced parsley (optional)
1 c. very finely chopped mushrooms, divided (4 large white ones)
½ c. heavy cream, optional (I sometimes use beef stock)
Salt and pepper, to taste
Have all ingredients prepared and ready. Turn your element to “high” (or very close to it). Add butter and oil to your skillet, swirling them just above the stove element so they don’t burn as they melt. The fat should be very hot when you add the shallots, garlic, and tarragon and/or parsley. Sauté about 1 min. Add the mushrooms, sautéing 2 min. longer, until the mushroom mixture is tender. Reduce this mixture to a paste, stirring constantly. If desired, add heavy cream 1 tbsp. at a time, stirring well after each addition. Season to taste with salt and finely ground pepper. Refrigerate until needed for use in my posts for Beef WellingtonPhyllo-Wrapped Chicken and Duxelles, and other recipes.

Chop mushrooms as required.
Add mushrooms to onion, shallots, garlic, and tarragon.
Sauté until mushrooms are tender.
Add stock or cream, seasoning to taste.
Mushrooms Duxelles reduction.

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