Quick Bites from Pender

Wild Mushroom Duxelles on Focaccia

In Lessons From Cooking School, Recipes on February 7, 2010 at 2:14 pm

wild-mushroom-duxelles-foccacia

Remember when I made 75 veggie sliders in 3 days?  Remember how the 25 I made on day 3 went to waste Howard because the only snow we’ve had all winter came 45 minutes before the start of our Book Club’s December Potluck, making our little island’s roads impassable?  NO?

Well do you at least remember that I vowed to make something simple (like mashed potatoes) when the Book Club Potluck was rescheduled?  NO?

Well, that’s alright then.  Because if you don’t remember, then you won’t stare at me open mouthed and incredulous when I inform you of my decision to nix the mashed potatoes in favour of homemade puff pastry.

vol-au-vents

It’s not that crazy an idea when you think of it — I did just take a weekend course on Laminated Doughs at Northwest Culinary of Vancouver, where, with my baking partner Carmine, I successfully made croissants, pain au chocolat, bearclaws, pinwheels, sugar buns and more.  Heck, thanks to Chef Tim, I can now roll a pretty mean croissant.

So, armed with my new knowledge of puff-like pastries and brimming with confidence, I spent the afternoon combining, encasing and folding my way to 245 layers of dough and 244 layers of butter, eventually finishing with a tray full of perfect little vol-au-vents chilling in the fridge.

“But, the title says foccacia…” I know that’s what you’re all thinking.  This is true, but you’ll have to wait until the end to see what happens…

mushrooms

wild-mushroom-bath

Epic pastry requires monumental filling.  Something creamy, earthy and full of flavour — Wild Mushroom Duxelles.

Duxelles are a classic culinary method combining mushrooms and shallots into an intensely flavoured mixture that can be used as a stuffing, sauce base, spread, pizza topping, pasta filling, etc.

shallots-minced

Mushroom Duxelles

Yield:  Approx 2 cups

Dried Wild Mushrooms (morels, lobster, shiitakes, porcini, etc.) 1 oz 28 g
Mushrooms, Brown or White, finely chopped 1 lb 454 g
Shallot, minced ½  C 90 g
Butter 4 T 100 g
Dried Thyme ¾ t 4 g
Garlic, minced 1 clove
White Wine ¼ C 60 g
Whipping Cream ½ C 120 g
Salt + Pepper TT

C=cup     oz= ounce      T=tablespoon      t=teaspoon
g=grams      TT=to taste

Rehydrate the dried mushrooms by placing them in a bowl with enough boiling water to cover.  Allow to sit for 15-20 minutes.  Strain, reserving ½ cup of the liquid.  Give the mushrooms a light squeeze to get rid of all the water.  Chop finely.

Over medium heat, sweat the shallots in butter until translucent; reduce the heat to med-low and mix in the fresh and dried mushrooms, dried thyme and 1 teaspoon salt.  Allow the mixture to cook, undisturbed until the mushrooms begin to release their water (5  minutes).  Increase the heat to med-high and cook, stirring constantly, until the water has completely evaporated and the mixture is just beginning to colour (5 minutes).

Deglaze with white wine, and cook until almost dry.  Repeat with reserved mushroom liquid.  Pour in the cream, reduce the heat to medium, and simmer rapidly until the mixture reduces enough to coat the back of a spoon (5-7 minutes).  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Use immediately, or remove the mixture to a plate or shallow bowl and spread to an even layer to cool rapidly.  The mushrooms will absorb the cream as it cools, leaving you with a spread like consistency.  Keeps in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Tips:

  • If you have the cheesecloth and the inclination, strain the mushroom liquid through the cloth to remove the sand that is always there when you soak dried mushrooms.
  • You can make a great mushroom cream sauce for pasta with this method – increase the cream to make it more saucy and finish with Parmesan.
  • I substituted Sherry for the white wine, because that’s what I had.  Vermouth would also work in a pinch.
  • Although I didn’t include it in the recipe, I finished the duxelles with about 2 T of glace de viande for extra richness.  If, for some reason, you have some leftover glace de viande or demi glace, toss it in!
  • wild-mushroom-duxelle-cream

If you’ve stuck with me to the end, it’s because you want to know why the mushrooms are on foccacia in the main photo, and not the puff I slaved over for 3 hours?  Well, they say a picture is worth a thousand words:

puff-pastry-failure

They would have been towers…TOWERS…I say! (If I hadn’t absentmindedly turned off the oven immediately after putting my babies in there — seriously.)

I swear that I didn’t scream or cry when I looked through the oven door.  I think I kind of shook my head and laughed once I had looked up to find the power light off.  I KNOW I poured myself a JD, and salvaged the butter off the pan for later use. (I may be air headed occasionally, but I’m not stupid — that’s $6 worth of butter.)

After that, I cut up the day-old foccacia, spread it with some goat’s cheese to dress it up, and topped it with my mushroom gold.

ushroom Duxelles

Yield:  Approx 2 cups

Dried Mushrooms (morels, lobster, shiitakes, porcini, etc.)

1 oz

28 g

Mushrooms, Brown or White, finely chopped

1 lb

454 g

Shallot, minced

½  C

90 g

Butter

4 T

100 g

Dried Thyme

¾ t

4 g

Garlic, minced

1 clove

White Wine

¼ C

60 g

Whipping Cream

½ C

120 g

Salt + Pepper

TT

C=cup     oz= ounce      T=tablespoon      t=teaspoon

g=grams      TT=to taste

Rehydrate the dried mushrooms by placing them in a bowl with enough boiling water to cover.  Allow to sit for 15-20 minutes.  Strain, reserving ½ cup of the liquid.  Give the mushrooms a light squeeze to get rid of more water.  Chop the mushrooms finely.

Over medium heat, sweat the shallots in butter until translucent; reduce the heat to med-low and mix in the fresh and dried mushrooms, dried thyme and 1 teaspoon salt.  Allow the mixture to cook, undisturbed until the mushrooms begin to release their water (5  minutes).  Increase the heat to med-high and cook, stirring constantly until the water has completely evaporated and the mixture is just beginning to colour (5 minutes).

Deglaze with white wine, and cook until almost dry.  Repeat with reserved mushroom liquid.  Pour in the cream, reduce the heat to medium, and simmer rapidly until the mixture reduces enough to coat the back of a spoon (5-7 minutes).  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Use immediately, or remove the mixture to a plate or shallow bowl and spread to an even layer to cool rapidly.  Keeps in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Tips:

· If you have the cheesecloth and the inclination, strain the mushroom liquid through the cloth to remove the sand that is always there when you soak dried mushrooms.  If not, then avoid pouring the dregs of the soaking liquid back into the pan.

· You can make a great mushroom cream sauce for pasta with this method – increase the cream to make it more saucy and finish with parmesan.

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  1. Looks so sophisticated and beautiful!

  2. Oh No! Next time, just give them a pseudo french name, smile, and serve!

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