Wild Mushroom Duxelles
Duxelles is a simple, scrumptious mixture of finely chopped mushrooms, onions, and herbs. Serve it on bread as a quick snack, make it into a no-fuss appetizer à la bruschetta with some goat cheese, or use it as a filling for ravioli.
Fresh Wild Mushrooms
Mushroom season in the Czech Republic in the summer of 2021 was especially good, so I would end up with loads of mushrooms I couldn't use right away. There was also a great variety to be found: from different types of chanterelles and boletes to the delicious blushers and milkcaps.
Duxelles are best made with fresh mushrooms, which makes Duxelles the perfect recipe to use all the mushrooms you can't eat right away. And I had that problem a lot this summer. After using selected mushrooms to make some of my favorite meals right away (like yellowfoot chanterelles for Yellowfoot Chanterelle Goulash or black trumpets for Black Trumpet Pasta), I was still left with a mix of mushrooms. So I decided to try something new and found Duxelles. In all of my life, I have never made this classic recipe!
In the past, I would always preserve mushrooms either by drying them, sautéing large chunks in fat and canning them, or pickling them in vinegar. Each mushroom is usually better suited for one or the other ways of preserving. Older mushrooms with tougher flesh (and sometimes with a few tiny holes from worms in it—don't judge!) like king boletes, red-dotted stem boletes, bay boletes, or Leccinum species are good for drying. Smaller mushrooms with tough flesh that would be too much work to slice thinly for drying, chanterelles or softer mushrooms like parasol mushrooms I would cut up into larger chunks and sauteé in fat and then preserve in jars. And finally, sometimes, my mom and I would pickle some. For pickling, you always want to pick young mushrooms with tough flesh—tiny porcini buttons are the best! While some people preserve mushrooms by freezing after boiling them in salt water, it is not the best way to conserve your hard-earned forest treasure, because mushrooms tend to get chewy in the freezer—unless you sauté them in fat first. Also, softer mushrooms like blushers are not suited for boiling. So this year, I wanted to try something different.
Duxelles, as I found out, is one of the easiest ways to preserve mushrooms, especially if you've filled your pantry with dried ones or already preserved them in those other ways mentioned above. It's very similar to the sautéing, but the mushrooms are chopped very finely and cooked with some additional ingredients like wine and herbs to enhance flavor.
For the first time I made Duxelles, I used a wide variety of mushrooms, which you can see in the above photo (somewhat from top left):
- porcini / king boletes (Boletus edulis)
- golden chanterelles (Cantharellus cibarius)
- voluminous latex milky (Lactifluus volemus)
- amethyst deceivers (Laccaria amethystina)
- parasol mushrooms (Macrolepiota procera)
- chocolate milkcaps (Lactarius lygniotus)
- black trumpets (Craterellus cornucopioides)
- red-dotted stem boletes (Neoboletus luridiformis)
- blushers (Amanita rubescens)
Each time I made Duxelles, they tasted a bit different, depending on the mix of mushrooms I had. Chanterelles and blushers added meaty flavors, while king and red-dotted stem boletes added texture. You can of course make Duxelles with store-bought mushrooms as well. If you do, pick up a variety like cremini, portobello and white buttons, even though they are all the same mushroom (Agaricus bisporus), just grown differently. Add some shiitake and oyster mushrooms and you've got yourself a nice store-bought mix.
Wild Mushroom Duxelles
Named after the 17th-century French Marquis d'Uxelles, Duxelles is versatile ingredient that can be enjoyed on its own or added to a variety of dishes such as pastries, stuffings, sauces or soups. It is a principal ingredient in beef Wellington and makes for a great filling for ravioli or puff pastry. It also makes a classic appetizer with toasted bread and goat cheese. Or you can use it to add extra flavor for mushroom-based sauces or soups. The possibilities are endless!
Duxelles will last in the fridge for about 2-3 days or you can preserve them by freezing in a flattened plastic bag or as ice cubes, which is super useful when you just need a little bit. You can also preserve them by canning in glass jars like I did.
Please be extremely careful cooking and eating foraged mushrooms. Never eat a mushroom that you are not 100% sure of its ID. The best way to learn how to identify and forage for edible mushrooms in your area is to join a local mushroom club or go with a trusted mushroom identifier or a mycologist. Then, even if you are 100% sure of its ID and know it's an edible mushroom, always try small quantities of a new mushroom first before eating a large batch to make sure it sits with you well.
- 1 lb (450 g) fresh wild mushrooms, cleaned
- ½ cup diced onions
- 1 tsp salt
- ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tbsp canola or grapeseed oil
- ¼ cup dry white wine
- ¼ teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped
- 1 tsp fresh parsley, chopped
- 4-6 glass small jars for preserving (optional)
The key to delicious Duxelles is to finely chop the mushrooms. The best is to do it by hand, but if you have tougher mushrooms like porcini or milkcaps or chanterelles, you can pulse them in a processor as well. Then sauté, adding wine and herbs.
To add extra flavor, I borrowed a tip from Forager Chef Alan Bergo and roasted them in the oven after sautéing. Then I filled glass jars and canned the finished Duxelles to preserve them.
Make the Duxelles
- Finely chop the mushrooms. If you have soft ones like blushers, do it by hand. If you have tougher ones like porcini, chanterelles, black trumpets, or milkcaps, you can carefully pulse the mushrooms in a food processor, making sure you don't over-process them.
- In a large skillet over high heat, heat 2 tbsp oil. Add onions and sauté for 1-2 minutes until translucent. Add mushrooms and season with salt and pepper. Add thyme and parsley and lower the heat to medium. Cook until the mushrooms release their liquid and continue to cook until the liquid evaporates and the mushrooms appear dry and begin to brown, about 5-10 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Add wine and cook until absorbed, stirring frequently. At this point, taste the Duxelles and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. If you like the taste, you can be done: use them right away, refrigerate for a few days, freeze them, or preserve them in small jars. Or, like I did, you can use a tip from Forager Chef Alan Bergo, and roast them to enhance the flavor.
Roasting to enhance the flavor
- Spread the Duxelles onto a baking sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes at 400°F (205°C), stirring half way through to reveal the bottom layer of the not-yet-roasted mushrooms.
Preserving duxelles in glass jars
- Fill the cleaned, small glass jars with the still hot, steaming Duxelles. Close, making sure the lid is tight, flip over so they are lid down, and leave overnight on the counter.
- In the morning, place a kitchen towel at the bottom of a large pot and fill with water. Place the glass jars with Duxelles, lids up, into the pot. They don't have to be fully submerged. Bring to a boil over medium heat and boil for 30 minutes to preserve. You can take the hot jars out of the pot or leave them to cool inside. If you want to be extra sure the duxelles are preserved right, repeat this step one more time.
- Store in a dark place like a pantry. Duxelles preserved like this last for up to 2 years.
Let me know what you think in the comments! I'd love to hear from you. Head to my Instagram account @fungiwoman for daily posts about my mushroom adventures. Also, check out my shop for some mushroom-inspired products and sign up for the newsletter to get updates.
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