Herbed Tortellini Vegetable Soup in the Crockpot

My pic didn't work, so I am offering this pic from
Half-Baked Harvest until I can make it again. 

I am lucky to have
friends that send me links to recipes occasionally and this one from a site called Half Baked Harvest landed in my inbox just that way. I love soups, especially easy crockpot ones. But what drew me to this recipe in particular was the heavier amount of herbs, tablespoons instead of teaspons, and the addition of fennel seeds which I love to use. 

The unique taste of fennel seeds is often compared to a hint of black licorice which I don't care for. But it's just a hint and somehow that hint blends well in cooking, adding a unique flavor that makes me sit up and take notice. If you like them too, you can check out another make-ahead holiday roasted carrot dish that uses fennel seeds I use regularly HERE!  

This soup did not disappoint. It was absolutely full of flavour and as easy as they come.  Sautee the onion with the herbs. Place in the crock pot with a few others ingredients. Then 15 minutes before serving, dump in all the other ingredients, including the tortellini. stir and finish cooking.  Yup, you don't cook the tortellini separate.  It goes right in the pot. I was hesitant, but it actually ended up cooking them perfectly.

I love the name Rachel Ray coined - "stoup" - which is a soup so thick it's almost a stew. That's exactly what this dish is like. It's warm, filling and full of flavor and definitely one I'll be making again.

Enjoy!

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Herbed Tortellini Vegetable Soup in the Crockpot
Serves 4 - 6 depending on serving size

Ingredients

1/4 C                Extra virgin olive oil
                      Sweet onion, chopped or diced
2-4  cloves       Garlic, minced, pressed, or grated
2 tsp                 Dried Thyme
1 T                    Dried basil
1 T                    Dried oregano
1-2 tsp              Fennel seeds
1 tsp                 Smoked paprika
1 pinch             Crushed red pepper flakes
kosher salt and black pepper
2 T                   Tomato paste
6                       Carrots, chopped
4                       Celery stalks, chopped
1/2 C                Dry white wine, such as Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc
6 C                   Low sodium vegetable broth
4-6 C               Roughly chopped kale
1/2 C               Whole milk or heavy cream
1/3 C               Grated or shredded parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
1 lb.                 Fresh cheese tortellini

Instructions

Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. When the oil shimmers, add the onion, garlic, thyme, basil, oregano, fennel, paprika, and a pinch each of salt and pepper. Cook 5 minutes, until very fragrant. Remove from the heat and add to the bowl of your crockpot.

Stir in the tomato paste, carrots, and celery. To the crockpot, add the wine, broth, and a pinch of red pepper flakes. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 4-5.

During the last 15 minutes of cooking, stir in the kale, cream, parmesan, and the tortellini. Serve the soup topped with additional parmesan and fresh oregano, if desired.

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