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Dec 22, 2010 08:54 AM

Wellington - Duxelle issue

I made the Duxelle last night that will go in the wellingtons this weekend.

I've never made this before so I'm not sure what it supposed to look like. I was told that is okay to chop then puree the s'rooms in the F/P, then saute slowly with a generous pat of butter, and finish it off with some maderia/cognac.

The mushrooms are chopped very fine and almost like a dark black paste. i cooked it between my stainless pan and another big cast iron pan, it has a lot of liquid, so i dumped everything on a fine mesh sieve and drained it for a few hours- Back in the pan on the burner- after rendering out most of the liquid and it tastes kind of bitter (i don't think it is burnt or anything). Is it supposed to be like this? did i do something wrong?

i've only used button whites and criminis

should i start over with another method or is this they way it is supposed to be?

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  1. The words that jumped out at me were "generous pat of butter" because butter is about 20% water and combining that with the water in the mushrooms risks preparing a very wet Duxelle. I usually rely on olive oil. Just speculation, but the bitterness may come from the the contact between your mushrooms and the bottom the pan you used to compress the ingredients. The bottom of pans is not intended for contact with the food.
    From what you describe I don't believe there's anything you can do to salvage what you have. I suggest starting again from scratch. Not knowing where you got the recipe you're using, allow me to suggest trying this one.

    2 Replies
    1. re: todao

      i was worried that the cast iron would somehow alter the taste of this, because this is wet and i don't usually do too much wet food on my cast iron.. humm... but it smells nice though.

      do you chop by hand then? how fine does it need to be? is 1/8 dice okay?

      sound like a costco run today..

      1. re: jeniyo

        Yes, I would chop them by hand, and 1/8 inch pieces (perhaps just a little larger) should be fine. I hand chop because I prefer mushroom pieces that are somewhere close to uniform in size and using a food processor makes (IMO) an ugly mess.

    2. If your duxelle taste bitter, it probably got burned or you used too much alcohol. I would start all over again. Using butter is not a problem. If you have a dark paste, chop the mushrooms a little coarser. I just use a food processor and pulse (not puree, 1/8 to 1/4 inch rough is fine). It should not be a paste which has a danger of burning on the bottom of the pan. Also if your saute pan is too big, too much bare spot can cause burning. Mushrooms will shrink and cook down. Cast iron is not good for this.
      Over medium high flame, heat the butter until it is light brown and foaming. Add the chopped mushrooms, saute, stirring often, until it is almost dry. The mushrooms will first give off it's juice, but continue cooking and the mixture will dry out. Do not strain as you will lose all the flavor. Season with salt and pepper. Add your madeira/cognac (not too much) and cook, stirring, until almost dry.

      1 Reply
      1. re: PBSF

        Thanks. i'm glad i asked. Sounds simple enough, i don't know why i keep messing up.

        I'm tired...

      2. I would start again as well. Likewise, duxelle takes time, similar to caramelizing onions.

        Step one is to remove the liquid. A little olive oil, and some salt to draw out the liquid. There should almost be a pool of mushroom liquid at one point. Do NOT place in a strainer, you are throwing away toms of flavor. Just slowly evaporate the liquid over med-low heat.. Once that is accomplished you need to lower the heat so they do not burn and stip fairly frequently.

        Once it reaches that stage where your eyes and nose are happy, remove from the pan and into a bowl to stop the cooking. They should be very succulent and rich in flavor.

        1. This is the recipe I've used for years and the result is always perfect. Note the amount of butter used. btw, it usually takes about 3-4 hours.

          Duxelles (From the book Delights and Prejudices by James Beard)

          This is the answer to an all-purpose seasoning agent. Its flavor is irresistible. You will want to add it to everything you make. A little of this preparation added to eggs is delicious. It is an integral part of many sauces and may be used for a quick toasted sandwich or for hors d’oeuvre.

          1.Chop 3 pounds mushrooms fairly fine. They do not have to be of the very top quality. You can use little ones and mixed sizes.
          2.Melt ½ pound butter in a very heavy skillet and add the mushrooms. Stir them to blend with the butter and cook them over low heat, stirring occasionally until the mushrooms have thrown off all their liquid and have turned a very dark brown, almost black. It may be necessary to add additional butter, and care must be taken that they do not get crisp. They must remain soft.
          3.Add salt and pepper to taste and spoon them into a jar or bowl for keeping.

          1. Thanks guys! i went ahead and remade it last night. I like the hand chopped texture more than the pureed version.

            I figured out why everything tasted bitter. I had some pine nuts a few days ago, and i've been getting a strange bitter after taste every time i eat/drink something. apparently this is a indigestion that cause me to perceive taste differently. i hope it goes away before Christmas!!