Are we getting all fancy on you? Nope. It turns out that duxelles is just a great way to use up mushrooms that might go to waste otherwise. Nearly every week, we pick up a box of mushrooms at the store because we use them in so many meals to add a bit more flavor. This past week, we noticed a large box, well, a pound, of mushrooms that had been marked down as a manager’s special. Now, we know what that means: they’re mushrooms that are past their prime.
This particular box looked fine, but we figured that we’d want to use them within a day or two, so what dish uses up a lot of mushrooms all at once? You got it, and we got today’s post.
Duxelles, even though they sound fancy — think about some of those fancy-sounding dishes that include the words aux duxelles — it turns out that they’re nothing more than minced fried mushrooms. Well, how about that? Let’s scratch some up!
For this, we looked at both The Joy of Cooking, by Irma S Rombauer and Marion Rombauer Becker, and The Way to Cook, by Julia Child. Both versions were essentially the same. Julia Child’s version had the option of adding sherry (which we didn’t have), and The Joy of Cooking included nutmeg, which we did have, so, we went with that version.
So, what do you use duxelles for once you’ve made them? Well, practically anything. Think of them as sort of like a concentrated mushroom paste that you can use to add flavor to soups, gravies, sauces, or, as we did, as a spread on bread for a light dinner.
Use unsalted butter so you can control how salty your duxelles are. If you don’t have olive oil, feel free to substitute canola or other neutral-flavored oil. Any kind of mushrooms will work, so feel free to be creative.
Procedure in detail:
Chop. Mince the onion and chop the mushrooms. We like the onion finely minced, while the mushrooms can be in slightly bigger pieces. We thought about quickly chopping both in the food processor, but didn’t want to clean it, so we broke out the chef’s knife.
Melt butter and cook onions. Place the butter and oil in a medium skillet over low heat and allow the butter to melt. Once melted, add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until they’re golden, about 5 to 10 minutes.
Add mushrooms and nutmeg. Stir in the mushrooms and nutmeg, sprinkle with a bit of salt, increase the heat to medium-high, and let the mushrooms cook, stirring only once or twice, until the liquid released by the mushrooms is evaporated, about 15 to 20 minutes.
Store. If you’re not using the duxelles immediately, place them in an airtight jar and use them within a few days.
Use. We used ours for a light dinner that consisted of small toasts with duxelles, topped with a chive goat cheese spread (fresh goat cheese, a bit of heavy cream, and some minced chives), and finished with a drop of balsamic vinegar reduction. Basically, we sliced off small squares of bread (we had made some small loaves earlier in the week), placed them on a baking sheet, spread with duxelles, topped with a spoonful of goat cheese spread, baked at 400°F for 8 to 10 minutes, and drizzled with balsamic reduction. We could call it petit pain rôtie aux duxelles et chèvre, but we won’t Easily a five-star snack.