Bulgur and Duxelles (Mushroom Pilaf)

I first learned about duxelles at James Beard’s cooking school over twenty- five years ago and placed it at once into that special category of culinary jewels that work magic to enhance other ingredients. This enrichment of finely minced mushrooms, slowly sautéed in butter until almost black, is wonderful to have on hand in the freezer for any number of dishes. In preprocessor days, it was necessary to use the largest chef s knife available for the laborious task of mincing the mushrooms. Now the task is reduced to a matter of seconds.

Duxelles does wondrous things to the wheatiness of bulgur. This dish is an excellent accompaniment to lamb, poultry or game.

volume ounces grams
fresh mushrooms 4 lightly packed cups (after mincing) 12 ounces 340 grams
unsalted butter 4 tablespoons 2 ounces 57 grams
1 medium clove garlic, lightly smashed 5 grams
fine bulgur 1 cup 5.5 ounces 156 grams
salt 1 teaspoon 0.25 ounce 6.7 grams
sugar ¼ teaspoon
pepper, freshly ground ¼ teaspoon
boiling water liquid cups
parsley, preferably flat-leafed, minced 1 tablespoon


Clean the mushrooms by brushing off any dirt with a damp paper towel and cutting off the tough stem ends. If you are using a food processor, cut any large mushrooms in quarters. Process the mushrooms until finely minced, or finely chop using a large chef’s knife.

In a large skillet over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the mushrooms and garlic and cook, covered, over low heat for 5 minutes. The mushrooms will release a lot of water. Uncover and continue cooking for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms have turned dark brown and all the liquid has evaporated.

Add the bulgur to the skillet and sauté, stirring often, for 2 to 3 minutes. Reduce the heat to low. Sprinkle with the salt, sugar and pepper, add the boiling water and simmer, tightly covered, for 15 minutes. Fluff the mixture with a fork and allow it to stand, covered, for 5 minutes.

Sprinkle with the parsley before serving.