This post comes courtesy of Williams-Sonoma food buyer Allyson Holt.
Among my favorite new products at Williams-Sonoma this year is the savory, rich Mushroom Gravy Base. This is a completely vegetarian mix of sautéed portabella mushrooms with roasted onions, sherry wine, herbs and spices. It’s simple to use: just combine two parts gravy with one part milk and one part water, whisk over medium heat until heated through, and it’s ready to serve.
It makes a wonderful gravy for mashed potatoes, of course, but I was also inspired last weekend to see what other delicious dishes I could create from the rich sauce. I picked up the Mushroom Gravy, along with Williams-Sonoma Mushroom Stock Concentrate, plus a selection of fresh mushrooms — button, cremini, portabella, oyster and shiitake. First up: Creamy Mushroom Soup.
In a large cast-iron Dutch oven over medium heat, I melted 2 tablespoons butter with 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil. When the pan and fat were hot but not smoking, I added about 1 cup sliced leeks (washed and drained well). I sautéed the leeks until soft and translucent, and then added about 1 ½ lb. fresh mushrooms. I also added 3 fresh thyme sprigs – this is the easiest way to add the thyme, but be sure to remove the twigs before serving, as the tiny leaves will fall off while you’re stirring.
I sautéed the mushrooms until all liquid had evaporated, and then continued to sauté until the mushrooms were golden brown. I then added about 3 tablespoons Marsala and continued to cook until the wine had evaporated. Next, I added 1 jar mushroom gravy base and 4 cups mushroom stock and brought the mixture to a boil. Then I reduced the heat and let the mixture simmer for about 30 minutes.
After removing the soup from the heat and taking out the thyme stems with a fork, I added ½ cup crème fraîche and pureed the mixture with an immersion blender. I seasoned the soup with salt and pepper and topped it off with a little more crème fraîche – a warm, earthy bowl of creamy mushroom goodness.
About the author: My passion is to share with others great foods, recipes, and culinary inspirations. Today, in my role as food buyer for Williams-Sonoma, I travel the world seeking the best foods, ingredients, and artisanal producers. I then bring these same products to our stores to share with our customers. Prior to my experience at Williams-Sonoma, my husband and I launched a gourmet retail business in Ashland, Oregon. The most satisfying aspect of my previous role was the time that I spent teaching home chefs of all levels how to use the best ingredients to create memorable meals and dishes at home. I love to cook, entertain, and most of all, enjoy time spent creating food with love for friends and family.