One of the things I like to make sure I teach my students is how to cook from the pantry. It’s all very well to meal plan ahead of time and mark “must make” recipes in cookbooks but sometimes you arrive home after a long day and need to rustle up dinner in a hurry. As we’re moving into the warmer months now, it’s much easier to have fresh produce on hand to work with but something I always make sure I never run out of is tinned tomatoes. They are such a versatile ingredient – from soups to stews to sauces – that as soon as I use a can, they go on my list straight away – I never like to be without them as I know I can always make a quick meal if I have a can on hand. They are like the ultimate blank canvas waiting to be seasoned.
So, I was happy to learn that to Canadian grocery stores (Real Canadian Superstore and Walmart) are welcoming field grown, vine ripened and certified organic Muir Glen tomatoes in a variety of flavours (Fire Roasted Diced, Fire Roasted Crushed, Plain Diced, Crushed with Basil). Muir Glen growers’ harvest their tomatoes in late summer at their peak of ripeness and deliver them to the processing facility right away. The tomatoes go from field to can in 8 hours or less, ensuring maximum freshness. They are packaged without synthetic chemical additives of any kind and the processing equipment itself is triple-washed to guarantee no cleaning agents are present in the cans.
Whether you’re looking to impress or want something quick and easy, there is something for you in their range of canned tomatoes (crushed, whole, diced) and for an extra boost of flavour, many products in the range have seasonings too – fire roasted, with basil or green chilies. I was excited to work with the fire-roasted variety as roasting fresh tomatoes is something I love to do, but don’t always have the time, especially on busy weeknights. It really adds a depth of flavour to dishes like soups and chili and the end result tastes like you’ve spent way more time in the kitchen than you have which I always love!
The recipe I am sharing today really highlights the flavour of these lovely fire-roasted tomatoes in a soup with cheesy croutons, inspired by this grilled cheese sandwich with tomatoes.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
- 1 large onion, roughly chopped (approx 200g)
- 3 medium carrots, roughly chopped (approx 200g)
- 2 sticks celery, roughly chopped (approx150g)
- 1 can Muir Glen Fire Roasted diced tomatoes (796mls/ 28floz)
- 1 litre (4 cups) chicken or vegetable stock
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- For the croutons:
- 4-6 slices country bread
- 75g sharp cheddar cheese, grated
- Heat the oil and butter in a large saucepan on medium-high heat.
- Add garlic and onion and gently sauté until just starting to soften but not brown (5-8 minutes).
- Add the carrots and celery and continue to cook over medium heat for around 10 minutes. The vegetables should be starting to get a little soft.
- Add the tomatoes and stir to combine.
- Add the stock and increase the heat to high. Bring to a boil.
- Reduce the heat to a simmer and cover the pan.
- Simmer, stirring occasionally, for around 30 minutes. The vegetables should be quite soft at this time – you should be able to crush them with the back of a fork.
- Remove from heat and season to taste.
- Allow to cool before you use an immersion blender or a regular blender to blend the soup until smooth.
- For the croutons:
- Pre-heat the broiler (grill) to medium-high.
- Toast your bread, then sprinkle the cheese evenly over the top of each slice.
- Place bread on a baking tray lined with parchment and place under broiler until the cheese is melted and bubbling.
- Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly before cutting into croutons.
- Serve on top of the soup.
This is one of my favourite soups and the “fire-roasted” flavour brought it to the next level. The cheesy croutons are an easy addition to this dish which adds a little something special – all your favourite flavours of grilled cheese and tomato soup in a more elegant presentation. Perfect for these “in between spring and summer” evenings we’ve been having lately!
Canadians – win a Muir Glen prize pack valued at $50 ! Details here.
Disclosure: I received compensation in exchange for this post and recipe. All opinions are my own and I only recommend products I use myself.