Rate this recipe

Preparation info

  • Makes

    2½ to 3 cups

    • Difficulty


Appears in

A Canon of Vegetables

A Canon of Vegetables

By Raymond Sokolov

Published 2007

  • About

In a simple time before chemists had concocted synthetic flavorings, chefs made their own natural ones from real ingredients. Duxelles, a classic such chef-made food additive, or appareil, is an intense, dehydrated source of mushroom essence. It was most probably invented by Henri IV’s great chef, Francois-Pierre de la Varenne, author of Le Cuisinier François (1651), when he was working for the Marquis d’Uxelles.


  • 1 pound mushrooms, trimmed, rinsed, and finely chopped
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 4 medium onions, about ¾ pound, peeled and finely chopped
  • 10 shallots, peeled and finely chopped
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg


  1. Wrap the mushrooms in a dishtowel. Twist from both ends over a mixing bowl to extract as much liquid as possible. Scrape the mushrooms from the towel into a bowl and set aside. Reserve the extracted mushroom liquid for a soup.
  2. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When the foam subsides, stir in the chopped onions and shallots. Sauté until they turn straw-gold in color, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon .
  3. Add the mushrooms, along with the seasonings. Stir over high heat, while the mushroom particles cook and then give up their liquid. Continue cooking until the liquid boils away. The sign of this is a sudden sizzling sound, the sound of butter rising in temperature in the absence of water. Remove from the heat and scrape into a storage container. Duxelles will keep in the refrigerator for several weeks. For longer storage, freeze.

Part of