Judy and I were talking about the glories of the classic rice with cream of mushroom soup combo our moms used to make. I had a head of broccoli, mushrooms, and other stuff laying around. I didn’t feel like making rice but I had some orzo. Close enough.
The Ouzo in the “duxelles” started as an accident. While sipping Sambuca making this the dog did something that made me cough and simultaneously go into bad dog discipline mode. In doing so I accidently spit a mouthful of Sambuca into the duxelles. It became a perfect match. Also, no worries about having a black licorice flavored concoction here - it tones done the earthiness a bit while adding some sweet.
Also, these “duxelles” are my quick and simple take on traditional duxelles. I would not sub these duxelles for ones you’d use in a beef wellington. Plus, with the spit and all….
8oz your favorite mushrooms, stems removed
½ medium yellow onion, coarsely chopped
3 cloves of garlic, peeled
1 head of broccoli florettes
¾ cup uncooked orzo
½ cup of heavy cream or half and half
1 TBS minced parsley
Ouzo, Sambuca, Pastis, Raki or some other anise flavored liquor (saliva optional)
Extra virgin olive oil
In a large pot of salted boiling water, add the broccoli florettes and blanch for about 2 minutes. Drain, run under cold water until cooled, and set aside.
At the same time cook the orzo according to the package directions minus two minutes. Drain, run under cold water, dump into cold water and set aside.
Making the “duxelles.” In a food processor add the mushrooms, onion, garlic, and 1 TBS of olive oil. Puree until the paste appears like refried beans with absolutely no chunks, about 1.5 minutes or longer. You may have to stop the processor at times to push down the sides.
Place the puree in a non stick pan, add 4 cranks of a pepper grinder, two pinches of kosher salt, and set over medium-low heat for about 8 – 10 minutes, stirring every 2 minutes or so with a rubber spatula. [The point here is to get rid of the excess liquid in the duxelles, not cook them. If the duxelles begin to change color your heat is too high.]
When you’re able to move your spatula across the bottom of the pan and the duxelles stay separated, add 2 TBS (the equivalent of a mouthful) of Ouzo. Mix well and place the duxelles into a small bowl. Set aside.
In a large pan add 2 TBS of butter over medium high heat and drain the orzo well, running your fingers through it to encourage more water to come out. When better begins to bubble add the orzo. Sauté until orzo begins to lightly brown then add the broccoli. Sauté an additional 4 – 5 minutes. Add cream, mix well, then add duxelles and stir to mix for about 2 - 3 more minutes. Serve immediately.