Mushroom Duxelles

This is quite an old school recipe (17th Century according to Wikipedia) but a very multipurpose one. I have spent most of my life hating mushrooms as the things people keep adding unnecessarily to other food I like (risotto, steak, pasta) but have suddenly become converted and addicted to them. This has been happening a lot lately, and it is disconcerting to discover how quickly strongly held beliefs can melt away, and I fear this is a slippery slope towards becoming a regular viewer of reality TV, or a religious fundamentalist (not that the two are connected in some way).

Anyway, back to mushrooms. This is easy, and once the initial sherry investment has been made, cheap. I like to use chestnut mushrooms, but pretty much whatever mushrooms you have/prefer will do. In a similar vein, technically you should use shallot, but I have used plain old 1kg for £1 Tesco onions and red onions to similar effect. I eat this with grilled chicken, but it equally works with steak. It can also be a topping for crostini, or the base for a pate. Mix it with some cream or cream cheese and you have a pasta sauce, cook it down with stock to create a rich mushroom sauce for meat, or use it to stuff Beef Wellingtons (I’m told, they have so far been too fiddly sounding for me to bother trying).

When I’m making this, also, I usually use olive oil for the initial frying, and just add the butter at the end, to try and cut down on butter content, but it does taste a bit better with the full butter hit. You can use any herbs you have, thyme or tarragon work particularly well, or not. This makes about enough to greedily accompany two chicken breasts. It keeps pretty well in the fridge and you can scale up or down accordingly.


  • 120g of mushrooms
  • 2-3 shallots (approximately 90g)
  • 60g unsalted butter
  • 2-3 tablespoons sherry, or Noilly Prat, or white wine if you have some leftover and knocking about
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh herbs (optional)


  • Finely chop the mushroom and onion.
  • Melt 1/3 of the butter in a saucepan and cook the mushroom and onion until most of the liquid has evapourated and they’re both soft and almost mushy (about 5 minutes).
  • Add the remaining butter, and sherry and cook for another 2-3 minutes.
  • Season, and add chopped herbs if using.
  • Serve immediately.


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