Duxelles: Mushroom Magic

I first made duxelles back in 2010, when I was cooking my way through The Fundamental Techniques of Classic Cuisine, and I remember thinking how amazing it was that mushrooms, shallots, herbs and butter could be so delicious. Now, I make a batch whenever I can. When a recent organic produce box included local mushrooms, I was inspired.

My basic recipe for duxelles goes as follows:

Gourmess Duxelles
2 TBS unsalted butter
1 garlic clove, minced
3-4 TBS finely chopped shallot
1 lb mushrooms, including stems, finely diced
1 TBS brandy
Fresh tarragon (or fresh parsley/thyme)

Note: You can leave out the brandy, but if you do so, please imagine me frowning and giving you the side eye. I use tarragon instead of the more traditional parsley or thyme because I love tarragon with mushrooms. I also sometimes don't chop the shallot as finely as I should -- and it still turns out divine, so don't worry too much about that.

Minimal MESS/ingredients/clean-up: Category 

To Do:
  • Lightly rinse your mushrooms and gently get rid of any grit, dirt, etc. Then dry with a paper towel before chopping. If your mushrooms are wet, they will become soggy and gross. DO NOT soak them in water under any circumstances. Pretty please.
  • Melt the butter in a shallow pan over medium heat, then add in the minced garlic and shallot, and cook until translucent, about 3-4 minutes.
  • Add the mushrooms and a pinch or two of salt. Cook until the liquid is released from the mushrooms, about 5-7 minutes. Stir in some chopped fresh tarragon (or parsley).
  • Add the brandy and raise the heat to medium-high. Cook for another 3-5 minutes, or until the liquid is gone. You'll notice that the mushrooms have become darker in color and the mixture is almost paste-like.
  • Remove from the heat. Stir in a bit more tarragon (or parsley) and season to taste with salt/pepper. Let cool to room temperature before eating. Voilà!

As I tried to not eat the entire pan's worth of duxelles, I started thinking of how I could use the lovely mixture. The traditional use is in omelets or as stuffing for vegetables and fish, but I was thinking of spreading it on little toasts with ricotta or goat cheese, or topping a pizza with greens and bacon. The tasty little mushrooms would also be great tossed in pasta with some cream and herbs, or maybe in some homemade ravioli? Or mini mushroom pies? Yum.

In the end, I just put them in a pretty bowl and devoured them with a glass of red wine.

To each her own.