Soups

The Grape’s mushroom soup

Mushroom soup from the Grape in Dallas | Homesick Texan

Almost 24 years ago, I was in my kitchen on the Upper West Side talking to my mom on the phone. In those days, long distance calls were made sparingly as you had to use a landline and pay for each minute. As such, people sent letters more often, and I would often received missives from relatives and friends.

I had recently moved to New York, and while it had all the adventure I sought, the food, in some respects, was lacking. To meet my needs, I had been hitting up my family for recipes for the things I missed. That day, I was craving my mom’s mushroom soup.

She told me to hang on while she got the recipe card to recite it to me over the phone, and when she returned she laughed and said it was good because of the heavy cream. I asked her where she had found the recipe and she said it was from The Grape in Dallas, an elegant yet comfortable bistro that she and my dad would visit on occasion when we had lived in Dallas in the 1970s.

As we were saying good-bye, she told me she’d put the recipe card in the mail and indeed, it arrived a few days later. I went to the store and gathered all that was required. I then returned to my apartment and began to cook, and was pleased at how effortless it was. After some chopping, you simmered the mushrooms in a healthy dose of butter, aromatics, broth, fresh herbs, and cream. A quick puree yielded a velvety soup that was warm and familiar. It reminded me of home.

A couple of weeks ago, while going through 24 years-worth of papers that I’d acquired during my time in New York, I came across the recipe card she had sent. As I had been reluctant to let go of my ties with home, over the past two decades I’d accumulated carton upon carton of letters.

Many of them, from the 1990s, were what we called “wad” mail—envelopes stuffed with newspaper and magazine clippings, the analog equivalent of texting someone a link like we do today. There was no need to cart these items to my next destination, so I was ruthlessly recycling most of it. But when I saw my mom’s recipe card for the Grape’s mushroom soup, I paused.

Mushroom soup from The Grape in Dallas | Homesick Texan

Now, most people think of my hometown as being Houston, and it’s true that I spent my grade school years from fourth grade onward there, and it’s where my mom still lives today. Houston is a beloved city that I visit often. But Dallas was where I was born and my family has lived in the area since the 1840s. Dallas has always been home, too.

That said, I hadn’t lived in Dallas since 1978 and while I would often fly into DFW or Love Field, I’d spend most of my time outside of Big D, visiting family and friends in Tarrant or Collin Counties instead. Besides my trips to Herrera’s to get my Tex-Mex fix, I seldom spent time in Dallas proper.

Over the past few years, however, I’ve been pondering a return to Texas. My friends and family across the state would always make arguments for their locale—Austin, Houston, San Antonio, and Fort Worth. Small towns were also encouraged and considered, so I looked at Lockhart, Brenham, Marfa, and Alpine. A long time ago, I fell in love with El Paso, and it also made my list. Dallas, despite my deep roots, wasn’t even in the running.

A few weeks ago, however, it occurred me that that Dallas was where I was supposed to be. At first, I resisted. For some reason, living in Dallas felt strange. While I had a strong network of friends and family there, I didn’t know much about the city at all. In fact, back in January when I began my search for a Texas home, I avoided Dallas completely and spent my time looking elsewhere.

After returning to New York without finding a place, I regretted not looking in Dallas so I came back to Texas a week later. Dallas friends told me about the different neighborhoods I should consider, and after a couple of days I walked into a place and knew that I was home.

While in many ways it was inevitable I would return to Texas as I never once called myself a New Yorker, at some point I crossed a line where I thought I would be in the city forever. But the call of Texas and all the love that’s here for me—love of family, love of friends, love of place, love of food, love of bluebonnets, love of sky, heck, even love of Southwest Airlines and Love Field—was too strong. So, I found my place and have settled in for a new adventure.

Homesick Texan kitchen

I hope you don’t mind that I’m no longer homesick. People have asked if I’ll change the name of the blog but I don’t think I will. And if you are still homesick, I know how you feel and may you get home soon, too. I hope you will still want to follow along and enjoy the recipes. While I’d always visited Texas often, being here full time now, I am excited about all that I will discover and get to create in my new kitchen.

Dallas has always been a large part of who I am, and many of the most beloved recipes on the site (and in my books) have been inspired by what this area of Texas means to me. Recipes such as chicken-fried steak, chocolate pie, crazy nachos, brisket tacos, sour cream chicken enchiladas, corny dogs, and soft cheese tacos. Now I add The Grape’s mushroom soup to that list, a Dallas classic that’s a fine welcome back home.

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Mushroom soup from the Grape in Dallas | Homesick Texan
Print

The Grape's mushroom soup

Servings 8
Author Very slightly adapted from The Grape by Lisa Fain

Ingredients

  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 pounds button mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 quarts beef or chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons sherry (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme (leaves from 4 sprigs)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Instructions

  1. In a large pot, melt the butter on medium-low heat. Add the onions and while occasionally stirring, cook until just beginning to brown. Stir in the garlic and cook for 30 more seconds.
  2. Add the mushrooms to the pot, and while occasionally stirring, cook until reduced and tender, about 5-7 minutes.
  3. Stir in the flour until well combined with the vegetables, then cook for about 30 seconds or until fragrant and beginning to brown. Add to the pot the broth, sherry, thyme, bay leaf, salt, and pepper. Turn the heat to high, bring to a boil, then turn the heat down to low and simmer for 20 minutes.
  4. Taste the soup and add more salt and pepper if needed. Add the heavy cream and nutmeg, then turn off the heat. Remove 1/4 cup of the sliced mushrooms for garnishing, then when the soup is no longer steaming (about 10 minutes), puree in batches in a blender. (Alternatively, you can puree in the pot with a stick blender.)

  5. Serve warm garnished with sliced mushrooms.

Recipe Notes

A few changes I've made from The Grape's version: I cut the recipe in half, and I added more thyme and garlic. I also reduced the amount of flour, and while I haven't made it without, I think it would still be fine if you care not to include flour. The original recipe also didn't call for a sliced-mushroom garnish, though I think it's prettier that way.



  1. Welcome home. To quote John Steinbeck in “Travels with Charlie”:

    “Texas is a state of mind. Texas is an obsession. Above all, Texas is a nation in every sense of the word. And there’s an opening convey of generalities. A Texan outside of Texas is a foreigner…”

    • Lisa Fain

      Mike–That is the best quote and so, so true! Thank you for sharing it!

    • Debbie Courtney

      I absolutely LOVE that and Lisa, Welcome Back!!!! Once a TEXAN, always a TEXAN!!!!

      • Lisa Fain

        Debbie–That is the TRUTH! My drivers license may have been from New York but I always loved that my passport identified me as a Texan.

  2. I’m excited you’re back!

  3. Welcome home to Texas, lady! 🙂

  4. Debra Pearson

    Welcome home! 🙂

  5. Oh, The Grape – I’m still friends with one of the waiters from when I was a regular there… so many years ago!

    • Lisa Fain

      Erin–I love that the staff is also longstanding. That certainly adds to the restaurant’s charm.

  6. I’m so excited for you to be back in Texas. Now you’ll be right in the thick of all the very best food!

    I’m from St. Louis but I’ve been living in Maine for the past 19 years–Maine is wonderful but it’s like a rural foreign country where 99.9 percent of us are caucasian. It’s so different from St. Louis where there are so many ethnicities and associated foods and restaurants.

  7. Cornelius James

    So glad you are back in Texas,although you really never left.Wishing you well for the future.

    • Lisa Fain

      Cornelius James–Thank you! It’s true I never completely left.

  8. Please come over to Fort Worth and take a look-see. It’s grown, of course, but still retains its western flair and hasn’t lost its friendliness.

    • Lisa Fain

      Anne–I love Fort Worth! I have some dear friends that live there and it’s always a pleasure to visit. What are some of your favorite places to eat?

  9. Nancy Burnett

    I’ve lived in NJ for 34 years now and when asked where I’m from, I still, and always will, say Texas with great pride. Lucky you!

  10. I have loved your blog and books for years. They brought great comfort to me, a fellow “homesick Texan” living in NYC for over a decade. The hardest and best thing I ever did was leave the city and come home to Dallas back in 2015. Best of luck during this transition! Dallas is an amazing place and has changed so much since I left. There are some serious culinary shortcomings here – specifically readily available ethnic foods you can find in NYC. I’d love to see you tackle some of that along with your regular Texan offerings! I look forward to following your journey!

    • Lisa Fain

      Robin–Dallas is truly amazing and I’m having a blast exploring.

  11. Welcome home. When we were young adults in Dallas, the Grape was “the” place for us young moms to go for lunch when we could afford a baby sitter. . Always the mushroom soup. Thank you for reminding me And dewberries abundantly blooming in Colorado County. Come in May. Always dewberry cobbler on Morhers Day.

    • Lisa Fain

      Leah–Love the tradition of dewberry cobbler on Mother’s Day. Can’t wait to go berry picking!

  12. Ah, Texas, how I long for you. What exciting news that you are back home, Homesick Texan. The first time I visited The Grape was memorable. My husband and our best friends had dinner there one fine evening. It was a night planned by our husbands, which was a first. They had a lot of fun with it. We were told to dress up for a dinner out. My girlfriend and I wore heels and dressed in our finest that evening. We all drove together to our secret destination. It was The Grape. Dinner was delicious as always. Afterward, the husbands handed us ear plugs and carted us off to the next secret destination…the Monster Truck Jam at Reunion Arena. We walked at least a 1/2 mile through the pot-holed parking lot in heels to get to the show. We were definitely the nicest dressed people there. Now, that’s about as Dallas as it gets. Welcome home to you! One day, we will be back.

    • Lisa Fain

      Amy–What a terrific story. I don’t think I’ve heard the words “Monster Truck Jam” in years!

  13. I’m a Texas Transplant (from New Orleans, Louisiana to the Houston area two years ago) and I’ve read and loved your blog/books for years. It’s taken me 22 months to dull the homesickness for Louisiana, but I’m finally starting to feel some allegiance to our new state. (But I’ll never get used to the spelling of boudin as boudain and I’ll always wrinkle my nose at most Texans’ attempt at gumbo or (gasp) a full-on Texas Cajun restaurant. 😛)

    Welcome home and may the queso flow! And if you’re looking for live music and a great brunch in DFW, might I recommend The Rustic? It’s a fave when we’re in town.

    • Lisa Fain

      Kacie–The Rustic is a stone’s throw from where I live and I look forward to visiting!

  14. Chef Paul

    Bless your heart! I wish I was there, too. Dallas was where I started my F&B career, where I learned 99% of my craft, where I met people that would shape my life forever, and where I left a huge chunk of my heart. In reveries, I see myself watching a blue norther coming in, knowing that the kitchen would be warm and we’d be making people happy with great food.
    “All hail the mighty state!”

    • Lisa Fain

      Chef Paul–What a lovely memory. And may you get back soon!

    • Dear, dear Lisa, I am so very happy for you. I cannot wait to continue reading about your adventures and cooking your fabulous recipes. I’m still a homesick Texan, but you have truly made it a little easier to be away from home. (And weren’t the bluebonnets wonderful this year??) Blessings! j

      • Lisa Fain

        J–I just saw my first bluebonnet yesterday as they arrive in North Texas last, and it was truly stunning. I can’t wait to see more!

  15. As a native of Dallas that is up north, I wish you the best getting home and know that I will continue to be homesick and make my chicken fried steaks in my cast iron skillet.

    • Lisa Fain

      Scott–Indeed, that is the only place to make a chicken-fried steak. Hope you get home soon!

  16. Welcome home!!! OK, this got me in the feels: “But the call of Texas and all the love that’s here for me—love of family, love of friends, love of place, love of food, love of bluebonnets, love of sky, heck, even love of Southwest Airlines and Love Field—was too strong.” I grew up in Cedar Hill; add love of cedar trees to that list (though I know many an allergy sufferer who would protest). I’ve only been away for 3½ years, but am so ready to go back!

    • Lisa Fain

      Rebecca–Cedars are indeed wonderful until they make you sneeze! Ha! May you get home soon.

  17. baltisraul

    Since the late 70’s I have only made one type of mushroom soup, that from Vincent Price’s book, Treasury of Great Recipes. After reading your recipe and the comments, I’m going to try yours. It just sounded so delicious! Who knows, maybe I will have 2 wonderful mushroom soups to choose from. I sure hope so!
    It’s great to go home unless you are from Ohio like I am. Those of us that have moved away from there refer to it as the Grey State.
    Baltisraul and family from the Florida Pandhandle

    • Lisa Fain

      Baltisraul–You can never have too many wonderful soups! And I’ve heard nothing but wonderful things about that Vincent Price book–I definitely need to check it out soon.

      • baltisraul

        If you get Mr Price’s book you won’t ever regret it. I would suggest you get a used copy as the 50th year edition just came out for about $180.00. haha

  18. Welcome Home is the best thing I heard and I hope you have also. I have loved your Homesick Texan all through our Army Life years moving all around. When we moved home to retire to TX 6 years ago hearing “Welcome Home” and saying “We were glad to be back” would almost bring me to tears. I still follow you even though we are home. Dallas was were I grew up but my hubby is a Houston boy so we came back to Aggieland. I hope you have a wonderful time in Dallas and look forward to your articles and books still to come.

  19. Melanie Stolle

    Hi Lisa!
    Long time fan and cookbooks owner, native Houstonian. Been in the north Dallas area for almost 20 years and now in mckinney. If you get a chance to pop over to 3700 M, my daughter is in management there and it would make her year if she met you. (Morgan)
    Ps – the central market there lovers lane flys in fresh never frozen gulf coast shrimp. They’re
    Wonderful! Call first- I believe 3 times a week. Melanie

    • Lisa Fain

      Melanie–That’s a great tip–I love Central Market and will hopefully be there in the next couple of days!

  20. Dona England

    Did you ever eat Mushroom Soup at Gershwin’s in Dallas? That was my favorite and I’ve looked for the recipe for years. I’ll be making your recipe soon.
    I’m in Fort Worth, glad you’re back!
    Dona England

    • Lisa Fain

      Dona–I’m afraid I didn’t ever have the Gershwin’s version. I’ll ask my family if they know of anything.

  21. Lisa Brownlee Spriggs

    Welcome Home! I hope you enjoy Dallas, just don’t forget us over here on the West side of Fort Worth!! You’re home just in time for the end of the Blue Bonnets! A lovely time to be returning home!

    Lisa in Fort Worth

    • Lisa Fain

      Lisa–I love Fort Worth and hope to visit soon and often! And yes, I saw some bluebonnets at my grandma’s place in McKinney this afternoon and they were stunning.

      • Lisa Brownlee Spriggs

        Visit the west side with us! Come by Central Market on Hulen, we can go to Trader Joe’s, then hit the down lows of bbq and taco trucks in the parking lot of Fiesta. Stop by my little bungalow for a swim with my hubbie and you can see your queso book I tested recipes on my cookbook shelf. My kids loved that I was in a cookbook thank you for letting me test recipes!! Can not wait to meet you in person!! My son lives in Pottsboro, so many neat places to eat !! McKinney is on the way! You would love it!!

        • Lisa Fain

          Lisa–Thank you for all the Fort Worth tips! I look forward to meeting you in person!

  22. Welcome back! Your blog and cookbook got me through a rough few years as a homesick Texan in Germany- thank you! I’m looking forward to reading about your new adventures and recommendations in Dallas. 🙂

    • Lisa Fain

      Gwen–Thank you! I’m looking forward to many new Dallas adventure, too!

  23. Julie Delio

    Your “wad” mail sounds like what my mother would send me. I still find recipes from The Chronicle that she cut and mailed to me, often with notes in Sharpie scrawled in her bold handwriting when I search for a recipe. Welcome home. I was exiled in Pennsylvania for 20 years a while ago and I’m still eating Tex-Mex and barbecue at every opportunity to make up for lost time.

    • Lisa Fain

      Julie–In some of my cookbooks, I’ll sometimes find clippings from the Chronicle recipes that were sent to me. I like that she marked on it for you!

  24. Welcome home! Btw Preston Road Pharmacy carries your book(s) most of the time. Love The Grape mushroom soup it’s a classic. xxoo

    • Lisa Fain

      Pam–I did not know that! Thanks for letting me know. I’m not too far from it so I will stop by and say hello.

  25. So happy for you! We just spent a weekend in Dallas with friends who moved there from Pittsburgh. I hadn’t been in Dallas for over 20 years. But they have already found the farmers market and the arboretum and the cheesemaker and the butcher and the great little Tex-Mex and Dominican places – they are very happy and I can see why!

    • Lisa Fain

      Texan in exile–I haven’t been to the farmers market yet but am looking forward to it, especially now that it’s spring. And yes to no more snow! I’m sure someone after a winter like y’all have had in Wisconsin, you must be completely over it!

  26. Cynthia G.

    I’m a born and raised Texas gal (Dallas), but I lived in Southern California for two years. Those two years away really made me appreciate all things Texas that I took for granted. From the food, to the people, and let’s not forget The great State Fair of Texas! LOL And yes, definitely check out the Rustic for brunch! My favorite Sunday hangout. I’ve followed your blog for years and have your cook books! So happy to be able to say, welcome home!!!

    • Lisa Fain

      Cynthia–I think lots of people take their home for granted and it takes being away for them to appreciate what they had. I know that’s how it was for me. And I’m super excited to be able to go the State Fair this year.

  27. Yay! Happy for you. I’m from Pennsylvania but I’ve always loved Texas. Maybe I’ll come see you in Dallas some time while visiting family. Please have book events or talks there!

  28. Lisa In Fort Worth

    If you do come to West Fort Worth skip the tourist Joe T’s (less than stellar), and go to El Paseo on Jacksboro Hwy. The fajita nachos are the best!! For a great breakfast, no frills, aka cheap, West Side Cafe is fast friendly and we eat there three times a week cuz it’s good and fast! And I love a place where we walk in the door and they say , “Hey , Lisa and Steve so glad to see you!” Then when we leave…… see you tomorrow! Like they don’t know I love to cook!!

  29. “Gone to Texas” Welcome home, always enjoy your recipes and comments.

  30. Brenda Sotomayor

    Lisa…now that you are in Dallas….hop over to CANTON, TEXAS for TRADE DAYS…you will love it!

  31. This dish looks SO deliciously good. I wish I could eat that right now!

  32. Lynn in Texas

    Welcome back, Lisa! Many years ago we went to The Grape when it was newly opened, and had a fabulous evening with about 8 or 10 friends. That was the first time I’d ever had Chicken Kiev and it was stuffed with their namesake, grapes! A few weeks later I tried the recipe at home made from The Joy of Cooking cookbook I’d gotten as a wedding gift. Of course no grapes were called for, but I added a few anyway, in honor of the wonderful meal we enjoyed that night! (Turned out great) My husband is the one who got me hooked on mushroom soup, so I’ll definitely be trying this version. Thanks for bringing back fond memories!

    • Lisa Fain

      Lynn–Now that’s a fun twist on chicken Kiev! I do love grapes and chicken together so I may have to try that! Thank you for the warm wishes and for sharing your memories.

  33. A real welcome back would be a down home breakfast at the Montgomery St. Café. That is about as Texas as it gets.

    • Lisa Fain

      Leann–Next time I’m in Fort Worth, I’ll pay a visit.

  34. Congrats on returning to Texas, Lisa! We’re still in Dublin and still loving it, but we’re really looking forward to two weeks in Austin this month. Best of luck on your new adventures in Dallas.

  35. terri mayson

    hey, Lisa:
    I am your opposite–Homesick New Yorker living in Dallas (for, yikes, 28 years!). I love your blog and have both books. Welcome back to Texas!

  36. Cyndi Green Pettit

    Lisa, Welcome Home! Your mom and I grew up at the same church and same high school. Her family lived near mine in Oak Cliff and I remember your grandparents and uncles. I also remember when you were born. And I’m thankful you’ve come back home to your roots. Hope to see you around town soon and meet you in person. I’ve been following you for years and love your recipes! Blessings on your new adventures!

    • Lisa Fain

      Cyndi–What a small world! Thank you for the kind words. One of the reasons I’m so thrilled to be back is just the comfort in being around people who know your people. I look forward to meeting you, too!

  37. Christine

    Welcome home! Made this recipe last night w/ baby bellas, double garlic, and a smidge less cream. Didn’t blend it as we loved the texture. This was a fantastic dinner, thanks!

    • Lisa Fain

      Christine–Thank you! My mom used to leave it unblended sometimes, too. I agree, it’s also good with some texture!

  38. Jeanie Cannon

    Welcome home Lisa! I’m looking forward to having you come to the Hill Country.

  39. Congratulations on returning to your roots. The call of the heart is a strong one. Half of my heritage is also from Dallas surrounds going all the way back at least 3-4 generations and when I first visited Texas, it felt strangely familiar.

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