Mushroom Duxelles on Walnut Rye Bread

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Mushrooms have an intense, earthy flavour which will lift the blandest of foods to a new level.

Wild mushrooms are excellent if you can forage them, and the classic French recipe for Duxelles is a wonderful way to harness their potential.

Duxelles is a mushroom spread which can be applied to many delicious recipes. Its intense flavour lends itself as the base for a pasta sauce, a rich creamy soup, stuffings for pastry or simply spread on crostini.

I like to make a batch and freeze manageable portions to use later. It will keep for a couple of months in the freezer.

Use whichever type of mushroom you prefer or even a mix of different ones. This batch was made with wild chanterelles.

Ingredients

  • 450g/1lb fresh mushrooms
  • 3 or 4 shallots or 1 large onion
  • 5 or 6 garlic cloves
  • 3 tbs. vegetable oil or butter
  • 100ml white wine or dry sherry (optional)
  • 100ml vegetable stock (if needed)
  • ½ tsp. ground caraway seeds
  • ½ tsp. sea salt
  • ½ tsp. ground black pepper
  • 2 tbsp. fresh thyme or parsley, finely chopped
  • Rye and Walnut Bread to serve

Method

  1. Prepare the mushrooms by wiping them with a clean cloth or small brush to remove any grit.
  2. Trim and chop them (stalks included) and set aside.
  3. Finely chop the onion or shallots and the garlic.*
  4. Heat the oil or butter in a large, wide skillet or pan. Sauté the onions for few minutes on a medium heat until they begin to soften.
  5. Increase the heat and add the mushrooms, garlic and seasonings. The mushrooms will release their natural juices as you continue to cook them while stirring.
    When most of the liquid has evaporated (this can take 5 or 10 minutes) add the wine or sherry to deglaze the pan (use vegetable stock if you prefer).
  6. Towards the end of cooking, when the juices have reduced to a thick creamy consistency, add the herbs and cook for another few minutes. There should be a rich aroma of mushrooms.
  7. Allow to cool before using as a spread on some delicious rye and walnut bread, or refrigerate for later use.

*Some recipes for duxelles suggest mincing everything in a processor before cooking. I prefer to chop with a knife but it can be blended when cooked if you want a smoother texture.

Nutrition

Chanterelle mushrooms are a wonderful mushroom to add to your diet should you come across some in the wild, on the shelf or at your local market.
Not only are they fantastic in cooking, offering a somewhat mild peppery flavor and fruity aroma (often compared to apricots), they are also packed full of nutrients, including B vitamins, vitamin D, riboflavin, niacin, thiamine and minerals such as potassium, copper, zinc and selenium.

They can also be a great substitute for meat due to their firm texture, making them a fantastic option for a multitude of vegetarian and vegan dishes.

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