An incredibly versatile paste or stuffing (think: Beef Wellington)!
How does that saying go? "Good things come to those who wait"?
That could be applied to most everything in cooking. Sure, there’s plenty of stuff that’s really easy to do in no time at all, and you don’t really need to wait for them – fresh salads, a quick fired steak, seared scallops - all sorts of delectable items.
But a good stew or a hearty sauce, a slow baked meringue or a balsamic reduction – these are things that need time and patience to perfect.
Mushroom duxelle is one of those items that should be filed in the ‘Worth the Wait’ category of your recipe book. I’ve always liked it for the sheer depth of utility – concentrated mushroom flavor, ready to go, without having to take up a ton of space in a recipe.
Some things don’t reduce down well, their flavors don’t hold up to the prolonged heat: berries, herbs, fruits – those are things designed for low prep, their flavors immediate and fresh. Mushrooms, on the other hand, do great. The flavor mellows a bit, smoothes out and becomes uniform.
Here, at The Cliff House, we make these mushroom en croutes on the dining room menu, with marinated portabella mushrooms, feta cheese mixed with duxelle, all wrapped in a puff pastry crust. The duxelle lets me add super-intense mushroom flavor into the filling, without having to make it watery or taking up too much space for the feta. You can do the same thing with salmon or beef tenderloin, wrapping it in puff pastry, with a thin layer of that duxelle inside giving a new angle of flavor.
Of course, you have to wait for that – you can’t rush a duxelle. It takes time, a watchful eye, low heat, and ... did I mention time? If you cook it on too high a heat, you’ll scorch it and make it bitter. Too low and… nothing will happen, not very surprising there. Pull it off too soon and you won’t have cooked it enough, and it will be too wet; anything you add it to will be soggy. So, in true Goldilocks fashion, you’ve got to wait and make it… just right.
- Chef Savage
3 pounds Crimini, Portobello or Button mushrooms
2 ounces butter or vegetable oil
3 tablespoons chopped shallots
1 teaspoon chopped garlic
salt and pepper, to taste
Finely chop mushrooms with a knife. Heat butter in large skillet, add shallots and garlic, sauté till translucent. Add chopped mushrooms. Stirring regularly cook over low heat until all moister cooks out of mushrooms and mixture becomes dry. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
You may also add fresh herbs and white truffle oil to the finished product.
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