Duxelles, pronounced dük-ˈsel are an intensely flavored mixture of finely chopped mushrooms and shallots. Named after the 17th French Marquis d’Uxelles, Duxelles are easy to prepare. They will take a whole host of dishes to the next level of deliciousness.
I’ve been making Duxelles for years. Often times, the Duxelles are a way to use up mushrooms that are past their prime. What’s even better, the Duxelles freeze beautifully!
Ingredients for Duxelles
I used the following simple ingredients for the Duxelles: Button mushrooms, shallot, unsalted butter, Kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper and Madeira. For a less rich taste, you could omit the Madeira. You could also use Port or Dry Marsala in place of Madeira.
Cutting the Mushrooms
Mushrooms are the star of the show for Duxelles. I started by quickly rinsing the mushrooms to remove any residual dirt and drying them. Then, I cut the mushrooms into small pieces. I happen to like my Duxelles a bit chunky. However, if you prefer a finer consistency, then you could pulse process the mushrooms several times in a food processor fitted with a steel blade.
To Squeeze or not to Squeeze – That Is the Question
Mushrooms after all do have a lot of liquid content.
One camp recommends squeezing the mushrooms to remove as much liquid as possible prior to cooking. Another camp suggests that squeezing is unnecessary because the liquid will evaporate during the cooking.
I tend to favor the squeezing of mushrooms. One reason is that it takes longer to cook the mushrooms if they have a lot of liquid. This could lead to overcooked mushrooms that tend to be tough. Another reason is that older mushrooms have a lot of liquid that frankly is unappealing to me.
Therefore, once the I had chopped all of the mushrooms, I placed them in several doubled paper towels. Then, I squeezed them. In my experience, the first squeezing of the mushrooms doesn’t result in a lot of liquid being released. However, if the mushrooms have an opportunity to sit for several minutes after the first squeezing, significantly more liquid is released in subsequent squeezings.
Cooking the Duxelles
I started by melting the butter in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat. It’s important to use a large diameter pan for making Duxelles. The reason is that the mushrooms would tend to steam in a smaller diameter pan.
Once the butter was melted, I added the shallots. I cooked the shallots for about 4 minutes until they softened. Next, I added the mushrooms and increased the heat to medium high. Then, I added the salt and pepper and cooked the mushrooms for several minutes until all of the remaining liquid had evaporated. Finally, I added the Madeira and continued cooking the mixture for several additional minutes until the liquid had evaporated.
I ended up with about 1 3/4 cups of absolutely delicious Duxelles. The Master Taste Tester specifically requested the Duxelles to accompany his poached eggs. I’ve also used them in mushroom risotto, onion and mushroom tart, mushroom cream sauce and as stuffing for pork tenderloin. If made into a finer paste, the Duxelles make excellent bruschetta, crostini and stuffed mushrooms.
However you use them, you are certain to find that Duxelles will take the dish to a higher level. Yum!
- 16 ounces button mushrooms, quickly rinsed and dried (See Tip 1)
- 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 shallot, peeled and minced, about 2 Tablespoons (See Tip 2)
- 1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
- Pinch of freshly grated black pepper
- 2 Tablespoons Madeira (See Tip 3)
- Finely chop the mushrooms in 1/4 to 1/8-inch pieces. (See Tip 4)
- Divide chopped mushrooms into thirds; transfer mushrooms to doubled paper towels. Squeeze to remove liquid; let rest for several minutes and squeeze again. Set aside. (See Tip 5)
- Heat butter in a 12-inch nonstick pan over medium heat. When butter has melted, add shallots and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, or until softened. Do not allow shallots to brown. (See Tip 6)
- Increase heat to medium high and add mushrooms, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently until liquid has evaporated, about 2 minutes.
- Add 2 Tablespoons Madeira; continue cooking over medium high heat until liquid has evaporated, about 2 minutes. Correct seasonings.
- Yield: About 1 3/4 cups. (See Tip 7)
Chula's Expert Tips
- You may have seen that you should never rinse mushrooms because they will absorb water. In my experience, if you quickly rinse and quickly dry the mushrooms, they will absorb little or no water.
- If you don't have a shallot, you can use 2 Tablespoons of finely minced onions instead.
- Madeira adds a richness to the Duxelles. However, you can omit the Madeira or use Port or Dry Marsala in place of the Madeira.
- You can use a food processor to chop the mushrooms. First, roughly chop the mushrooms. Then pulse process several times in food processor fitted with a steel blade to desired size. For some uses such as Beef Wellington, you want the mushrooms to be very finely chopped.
- When you first try to squeeze the mushrooms, very little liquid is released. However, if you let the mushrooms rest for several minutes and squeeze again, much more liquid will be released. Also, the older the mushrooms, the more liquid will be released.
- You should use a large diameter skillet for making the Duxelles. The reason is that a smaller diameter pan would result in the mushrooms steaming as opposed to browning.
- Duxelles freeze beautifully when stored in an airtight container.