Here’s a great recipe most fresh mushrooms in general, it’s a classic way to preserve mushrooms, for good reason.
I wrote a little method for making a duxelle out of dried mushrooms here, and it’s a fun way to use up dried stock that you may have laying around. Even though many dried mushrooms can be reconstituted in liquid and keep a lot of flavor, that flavor dissipates into the reconstituting liquid, and even though it’s still good, it’s not exactly the same as using fresh.
Cooking them down into a duxelle is a good way to concentrate the flavor of these, but usually I need to add it in combination with other things (like mixing dried duxelles with ricotta cheese for ravioli) since dried mushrooms can have a bitter note when made into duxelles. Some mushrooms too, like hedgehogs and golden chanterelles I don’t dry, since their flavor is damaged and changed by the process, for those two species in particular, you will want to use freshly picked mushrooms to make your duxelles.
I’m writing this using fresh hedgehogs for a reason, but this could really be made with any fresh mushroom. I would rather dehydrate brittle, hollow, mushrooms like yellowfoot chanterelles and black trumpets though since they would take an enormous amount of fresh product to create a batch of duxelles, although It could be done. Hedgehogs are a bit of an underdog, lying in the shadow of the more renowned golden chanterelle, but they truly shine in a preparation like this, with their rich, meaty flavor.
Why make a duxelles?
From a preservation standpoint, one great benefit is that they can be frozen without losing quality. Blanching mushrooms in salt water and freezing is doable, but it is not my first choice for preservation. Most mushrooms react negatively to freezing, and they tend to get stringy and chewy. When made into duxelles, cooked down with fat and seasonings though, they preserve way better.
The higher quality of preservation is due to the fact that the mushrooms don’t have to hold their shape since they are minced finely, bypassing the stringy, chewy texture that some get post freezing. Also they are cooked with butter means that they get protected by an insulating layer of fat, which wards off freezer burn.
I should metion though, that immature boletes that have not yet spored may be frozen, and they preserve very well like this. Thousands of pounds of porcini are processed this way and sold to restaurants around the U.S. and Europe every year from China, usually under the label “IQF” porcini. (Individually-Quick-Frozen)
What are some ways that duxelles can be used?
- Duxelles are an instant stuffing, mix them with a touch of ricotta cheese for ravioli filling, or just all by themselves, for a very rich stuffing, such as in a type of pasta where only tiny amounts of filling are used, as with tortellini.
- Gravies and any savory sauce are a natural place to add a tablespoon or two of duxelles, they will thicken it slightly, and allow a sauce to be further thickened by adding a tbsp or two of butter.
- Spread on toast, duxelles make a fine appetizer, kind of like a mushroom tapenade.
- If you add a little bit of oil and some vinegar to taste, you have an instant, powerful mushroom vinaigrette.
- A little dollop makes a great garnish, maybe swirled in a cream of mushroom soup, or something earthy, like a soup made from potatoes or root vegetables.
- To create some mushroom dumplings, you could add 1/4 cup of duxelles to my recipe for puffball Parisienne gnocchi here, just omit the puffball powder
- Whisk duxelles into eggs for an omelet for a special breakfast
Hedgehog Mushroom Duxelles
This recipe is scaled from my 10lb batch. Makes right around 1 cup of packed duxelles, which is enough to do a whole lot with, remember this is essentially a mushroom concentrate.
There is more than one way to create a good finished product here. I have chopped the mushrooms first, then sauteed, and vice-versa, just make sure that you put some color on the duxelles to avoid bitterness.
- 1 lb fresh hedgehog mushrooms, caps and stems roughly chopped.
- 1 tbsp shallot, diced 1/4 or chopped roughly
- 1/4 tsp salt, plus a pinch of freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1/4 cup dry sherry
- 1 tsbp chopped fresh flat leaf Italian parsley
- 1 tsp chopped fresh tarragon
- Grind the mushrooms in a food processor until they’re finely choppd.
- Heat a large saute pan with the oil. Heat the pan until hot, then add the mushrooms and stir to coat with the oil.
- Next add the salt, pepper and the herbs. Continue to cook, lowering the heat to medium to prevent scorching. Cook the mixture for ten minutes, until the mushrooms have given up their water and the pan starts to look dry. Add the shallot and a little butter if the mushrooms have soaked up the oil. Continue to cook until the mixture is lightly browned, and the flavor gets nutty and rich. Deglaze the pan with the sherry, then cook off the liquid again until the pan is dry.
- Lastly, pack the duxelles into a container and freeze, or refrigerate for up to 1 week.