Mushroom & Tortellini Soup

Ellen and I went for a hike yesterday, and it was 18 degrees. This soup was a wonderful way to finish off the morning!! It was given to me by my fellow County Commissioner and friend Myron Iwanski.

Mushrooms & Tortellini Soup

This soup calls for shitake and and baby bella (crimini) mushrooms from the grocery. For a mix and complexity of flavors, reduce the amounts and then add assorted wild mushrooms such as oysters and maitake (Hen of the Woods)


2 tsp butter
Mirepoix chopped (1 small onion, 1 small carrot, 1 stalk of celery @ 2:1:1 ratio)
2 cloves garlic, minced
8 cups chicken broth ( I use homemade stock, not broth)
2 cups water
5 oz. shitake
8 oz. crimini
1 small Parmesan Reggiano rind (optional but good – also at Kroger))
9 oz. three cheese tortellini (I use Buitoni brand from Kroger – comes in 20 oz. pack)
Salt and pepper to taste (some truffle salt works great)
Whole parmesan to grate as garnish.
Chopped parsley as garnish


Melt butter in a Dutch oven – med heat. Add mirepoix and sauté until tender. Add garlic toward end.

Add chicken stock, water, mushrooms and bring to boil for 2 minutes. Season and stir. Turn down heat and simmer 20 minutes. Then, add tortellini to the simmering liquid and cook to al dente.

Remove the rind and serve soup

Garnish with grated parmesan and chopped parsley.

NOTE: Stores well overnight in frig, so make the day before and reheat as an appropriate time saver. If you go out for a walk on a cold day, put the reserved soup in a crock pot on “low” and have it ready upon your return !!!


Looking forward to the Asheville Mushroom Club Christmas potluck Saturday. It’s always great friends and great food.

Meanwhile, Jimmy sent me this e-mail. Watching the video of his song might be a good start to thinking about morels.

Hello Whitey, I hope you remember us. My wife Lois and dog Griffin went with you on the camp walk at Oconee in 2013. I’ve been enjoying your blog posts and envying your hen and chicken finds. We made a music video in Oct. and I finally got it up on Youtube about morelanoia. Please check it out at:

If you like it please feel free to share it with the Asheville club and whoever. I plan on making another this morel season on the lighter side. There is also another video on my channel called Funga Among Ya recorded in a patch of Chantys in 2013.

Hope you enjoy the holidays and happy hunting!

Thanksgiving Hen

Yogi Berra said, “It’s ain’t over ’til it’s over.” He could just well have been referring to mushroom season. Deep into November, I wasn’t having much luck, and then the temperatures dipped – to 17 degree lows two nights in a row. “That’s it, I thought.” Then a few days later, the afternoon before Thanksgiving Eve (Nov 25), I got a call from Dino.

I met DinHen bucketo this fall while we both delivering to Seth Simmerman at Knoxville;s Echo Bistro, and we got acquainted. Dino had heard about me, so he pulled out his cell phone and showed me a picture of a large patch of mushrooms around a stump to identify. They looked like honey mushrooms, so I said, “ Bring them in to Seth and I’ll stop by tomorrow.” He did, and sure enough they were honeys, which Seth used.

dinoA few weeks went by, and on the day in question, he sent me this picture of mushrooms in a box. He said it must have weighed 10 pounds. I did a double take and got right back to him – no doubt in my mind. I met him the next day and weighed out a13 pound Hen of the Woods (click picture to see the whole thing), plus two more small ones that went 2-3 pounds total.

Apparently the Hen had come up right before the deep freeze and survived well. Only a few tips were frostbitten, and scissors took care of that. The nice thing about it being so large was that it had a very large and solid center which let us cut what looked essentialy like mushrooms steaks.

Dino gave me 3-4 pounds as a “consultant”. On Thanksgiving, I cooked cracked-pepper encrusted pork tenderloin, accompanied by yellow potatoes roasted with duck fat. Then, 1/2 pound of Hen (Maitake) went in the pan, along with  flour and freshly home made chicken stock to make a wonderful gravy. There were other dinner items, but the feature was Hen gravy – no Turkey today. Yummyyyy.