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When tomatoes aren't in season, what do you put in your tortilla soup?

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I made a variation of tortilla soup tonight, which, though delicious, suffered from my inclusion of subpar tomatoes. I even roasted them in the oven in hopes that would make them sweeter, but they were less flavorful and much more acidic than I like. I should have held out for my usual "Ugly tomatoes" in the local supermarket, but I was trying not to make multiple grocery store stops today.

I'm a Connecticut Yankee with no native tomatoes in sight anytime soon. What do you use when you can't go native--do you use canned tomatoes? Last time I made this, I roasted uglies and they were much tastier. Just wondering if canned is a better option this time of year. I noted a RIck Bayless recipe for Sopa Azteca calls for a can of fire-roasted tomatoes. If only I knew where to buy such a thing.

By the way, I made my soup with chicken and spinach sausage instead of chicken just to give it a try. I will make it this way from now on!

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  1. Muir Glen makes fire roasted toms, but they're not fab.. Just use good canned tomatoes and roast them @ 400 on an upper rack on a foil lined baking sheet in the oven for about 20-25 mins. Even better if you sprinkle a little brown sugar before roasting. adam

    3 Replies
    1. re: adamshoe

      Thanks kindly, Adam. I knew someone would have the perfect tip to help me out. :) I like the brown sugar idea, too.

      1. re: adamshoe

        Adamshoe's idea gets my vote ... I do exactly the same thing (but I don't include brown sugar)

        1. re: adamshoe

          I second adamshoe's suggestion. There's not much difference between fire roasted and plain old canned tomatoes, both of which are better than anything you can make from the usual supermarket tomatoes. I don't add sugar, and I put them under the broiler (not too close, use a rack about 1/3 from the bottom of the oven) until they just start to char a bit. Either way, you're concentrating the flavor a bit and caramelizing the sugar in the tomatoes (and the added sugar in adamshoe's method). If you don't use the broiler, be sure to preheat and keep it hot. 400 is about as low as I would go.