Duxelles Mushroom Paste.

Duxelle [or Duxelles] is a paste that can be used as a sauce in its own right, as a binder in casseroles, or as an enhancer for soups and stews. It lends itself well to freezing, so it is sensible to prepare more than you need and then freeze the rest. To do that, you first allow the paste to cool then pat it into an oblong like a chocolate bar, wrap in cling-film and place in the freezer. Cut off slices as required. According to culinary legend, duxelles was first created in the 17th century by the chef to French General and Diplomat Nicholas Chalon du Blé, Monsieur le Marquis d’Uxelles et Maréchal de France, and named after his master.

Ingredients:

500g mushrooms very finely chopped.

75g unsalted butter

1 medium, peeled and very finely chopped.

White parts of 4 spring onions, very finely chopped.

Salt and black pepper  to taste.

2 tblsp cream.

1 tblsp finely chopped origanum.

Method.

Dice the mushrooms and place in cheese cloth. Wring out to extract as much water as possible and set aside. Melt the butter in a small pan over a moderate flame, add the onions and spring onions and cook gently, stirring frequently, until the onions turn a light golden colour but do not allow them to become brown. Add the mushrooms, salt and pepper, allow to begin to bubble then reduce heat to low and cook, stirring frequently for 15 minutes.

Stir in the cream and the herbs and pour into a small bowl. Using a fork or a kitchen wand, beat the mixture to an even paste. Cover and set in a cool place for one hour before use to allow the flavours to mature.

Yields: About 1 ½ cups.

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