With expected, and unexpected guests, dropping by this time of year how are you supposed to be prepared? Not to mention all of the running around that your doing. A well stocked freezer pantry is your best friend. Having just a few basic ingredients at your fingertips can mean the difference between becoming the takeout queen or being able to quickly whip up a snack, appetizer or delicious meal. This one, surprisingly easy to make recipe could make that difference – duxelles.
Yes, I’m that annoying friend that always has chicken, vegetable and seafood stock on hand (either in the pantry or the freezer). I’m also that person that has fresh herbs, tomato paste and egg whites around too. I’ve got these things on hand mostly because they are a by-product of the ridiculous amounts of cooking that I do (I may use the chicken meat in a dish, but then boil up the leftover bones to make stock). I haven’t always been this seemingly prepared person.
I say ‘seemingly’ because sometimes I forget that I have this stuff around and run around like a maniac and head out to the store to buy it at the last minute just like everyone else. Spending lots of time standing over steaming pots or getting older is turning my brain to mush. I haven’t figured out what’s doing this to my brain…but I’m not happy about it.
Back to the the duxelles. This may be the ultimate in mushroom recipes. It’s cheap…it’s easy…and can help you be ready for any entertaining emergencies that may arise this holiday season. Duxelles is one of those cheap and easy recipes that you should definitely keep handy. I make up a batch whenever I have extra mushrooms on hand (so they don’t go bad) then portion them out into muffin tins and freeze them. I then store the frozen pucks in a bag and add to soups, rice and meat dishes.
If you’re not familiar with duxelles, it’s a recipe that comes from French cooking that is a combination of mushrooms, onions, butter and herbs that are cooked long, low and slow and basically turned into a paste from that long cooking process. They aren’t a dish by themselves, but play the supporting roll in appetizers and main courses. Think of duxelles as a complex ingredient that can be added to many things to amp up the flavor.
To give you an idea of where you can use this “ultimate” of mushroom recipes, I thought I’d give you a few ideas.
- Smear some duxelles on top of toasted crostini with a few pieces of goat cheese on top and then heated.
- Stir them into this beef and barley soup recipe in place of the dried porcini mushrooms.
- Roll out a sheet of puff pastry and spoon the duxelles down the middle. Roll up and bake (according to package instructions) and you’ve got a quick and easy mushroom strudel.
- Or you could go all extreme chef and use your duxelles in a traditional beef wellington recipe (invite me over for some if you do that)
- Use duxelles as a sexy and seductive perfume. Before you pack away the last bits of this lusciousness, dab a bit behind each ear. He’ll eat you up when he gets home. (Trust me on this )
I realize that this is going to sound like a cop out, but after spending 2 weeks with my husband and in-laws traveling abroad my only relationship advice that I can muster today is: sometimes you just need to keep you head down.
Summary: Makes 1 1/4 Cups
- 1 1/2 Pounds Fresh Shiitake Mushrooms (roughly chopped)
- 5 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter
- 1/3 Cup Finely Chopped Shallots (approximately 3 shallots)
- 1 Tablespoon Finely Chopped Fresh Sage
- 1/4 Cup + 1 Tablespoon Sherry
- Kosher Salt
- Freshly Ground Black Pepper
- Add mushrooms to food processor and buzz until finely chopped, but not mush.
- Melt butter in a large skillet over medium high heat.
- Add shallots to the pan and cook until translucent.
- Add the chopped mushrooms to the shallots and butter and continue cooking until mushrooms turn into a paste (this takes some time and depends on how finely you chopped the mushrooms and what type of mushrooms you are using)
- Add a large pinch of kosher salt and several grinds of black pepper (to taste), the sage and sherry to the pan.
- Stir and continue cooking until all of the liquid is gone.
This recipe requires lots of stirring, so be prepared to stand by the stove. You’ll also need to watch the ingredients. If things are browning, reduce the heat.
When finished cooking, let the duxelles cool to room temperature.
Add 1/4 cup of duxelles to each muffin tin and firmly press into the tin.
Continue with remaining duxelles and place tin into freezer. Once frozen, place frozen duxelles into plastic bag and return to the freezer.
Use as needed.
You could also use button or cremini mushrooms for this recipe.
Preparation time: 15 minute(s)
Cooking time: 1 hour(s)
Diet type: Vegetarian
Diet tags: Gluten free
Number of servings (yield): 1
Culinary tradition: French
Recipe by Pamela Braun.
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