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Sunday, November 13, 2016

Cream of Mushroom, Duxelle with Foie Gras Shavings

I had this wonderful soup as an entrée recently when we had the chance to return to Paris (aka happiness) for a few days. The combination of the flavours was really good and I thought that the way it was presented was interesting. The soup was very light and foamy with texture coming from the duxelle (finely chopped mushrooms and shallots) and sautéed whole mushrooms.  The addition of some foie gras added creaminess and a touch of decadence to the dish.

We discovered this fabulous little neighbourhood restaurant called l'Escient just before we left Paris. Whenever we  return, we always try to go for dinner.  It is like coming home. It's a family affair with the father and daughter as chefs and the mother runs the front restaurant. The food is always excellent with lots of interesting Asian influences and beautiful presentations. The best thing about it is the price. It's a tiny place, so reservations are recommended.

I have missed this wonderful city and was thrilled (and grateful) that I had the chance to go back for a visit. It remains one of my favourite place and I truly share Ernest Hemingway's view:

''If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast.'' 

To compliment the foie gras and add a little sweetness and acidity, I decided to add a little ice wine (or late harvest wine) to the mushroom duxelle.  

This recipe is not too complicated and most of it can be prepared ahead of time - a definite plus when entertaining.  The only thing to cook at the last minute would be the sautéed whole mushrooms (you can use your choice of small whole mushrooms).  As an afterthough, I thought that adding some crisp croutons (or toasts) made with brioche would be very good.  I will try it next time.

You will need:   For 4 servings 
  • 1 cup or mixed dried mushrooms covered in warm water for 30 minutes to rehydrate
  • 1 small container of cremini or white mushrooms (250g), cleaned, bottom of stem removed and coarsley chopped
  • 1 small leek, cut in half and sliced
  • 1 medium shallot (30g), peeled and finely diced
  • 1 tbsp of olive oil
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 Tablespoon (15ml) of flour
  • 2 cups (500ml) of vegetable or chicken stock
  • small piece of duck foie gras (torchon style) - this type is usually found in a tube shape
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) of heavy cream
  • 3 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • your choice of small whole mushrooms, cleaned (about 12), to be sautéed just before serving (see below)
  • mushroom duxelle (see below for recipe)

  1. In a large pan, sauté the diced shallot (1 medium) and leek (1 small) in 1 tbsp of olive oil for 5 minutes to soften (no color);
  2. Add chopped mushrooms(250g - about 2 cups) with pinch of salt over medium heat for 5 minutes (mushrooms cooked over medium heat - rather than high heat - will render more water and add more mushroom flavor to the soup);
  3. Add flour (1Tablespoon) and cook, stirring continuously, for 1 minute to cook off the raw flour taste;
  4. Add stock (2 cups - 500ml), the rehydrated dried mushroom (1cup - 250ml) with their soaking liquid and fresh thyme (3 sprigs).  Simmer for 20 minutes;
  5. Remove the thyme and blend until smooth;
  6. Return to heat and add cream (1/4 cup - 60ml).  Simmer 10 minutes to reduce;
  7. Season with salt and pepper to taste;
  8. Just before serving, use a plunging mixer (or return to blender) to create a foam;
Laccaria mushrroms

Mushroom Duxelle:  4 portions of garnish for potage
  • 1 small package (250g) of cremini or white mushrooms, cleaned and coarsely chopped using food processor (pulse to get the desired consistency)
  • 1 medium shallot (30g), finely diced
  • large pinch of salt
  • 1 tbsp (15ml) of olive oil
  • 2 tbsp (30ml) of ice wine or late harvest wine
  • salt and pepper to taste

  1. Sauté the diced shallot (1 medium) in olive oil (1 tbsp) to soften (no color);
  2. Add chopped mushrooms and pinch of salt and cook over medium heat until mushrooms have rendered their water and it has completely evaporated;
  3. Add ice wine (2tbsp - 30ml) and cook until dry;
  4. Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Reserve until ready to serve;
  5. Sauté small whole mushrooms in 1 tbsp (15ml) of olive oil and 1 tbsp of butter over medium high heat until golden; reserve until ready to serve;
  6. Place a generous portion of mushroom duxelle in the center of a deep dish.  Ladle foam potage around the duxelle and place a few whole mushrooms as garnish.  Add shavings of foie gras;
  7. The flavours will be more pronounced if the soup is served warm and not too hot.