Grilled French Onion Soup
Makes 8 servings. Recipe is by Elizabeth Karmel.
3 large heads of garlic
4-pound bag sweet onions (7 to 8 large), not peeled
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 quart beef stock
2 cups red wine
1½ tablespoons packed brown sugar
Generous pinch of white pepper, plus more to taste
8 thick slices of French bread, left out to get stale or dried in the oven
1 pound grated Gruyere or comte cheese
1. Prepare grill for medium heat, indirect cooking. For a charcoal grill, this means banking the hot coals to one side of the grill and cooking on the other side. For a gas grill, this means turning off one or more burners to create a cooler side, then cooking on that side.
2. Remove the first layer of papery skin from each head of garlic. Slice off the top ½-inch from the top of each head. Set each head on a large square of foil, then drizzle with oil and sprinkle with salt. Loosely wrap the foil up around the garlic, crimping it to seal. Set on the cooler side of the grill. Add the onions to the same side of the grill. Cover the grill.
3. Cook the garlic for 40 to 60 minutes, or until the cloves are golden brown and soft. Grill the onions for 60 to 90 minutes, or until the skins are dark and the sugars have caramelized and blackened. When the garlic is cooked, remove from the grill and cool. Open the packets and squeeze the cloves from the skins and into a small bowl. When the onions are cooked, remove from the grill and set aside to cool for 15 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, in a heavy 6-quart stock pot over medium heat, melt the butter. Trim the ends off the onions, then peel and remove the outer skins. Chop each into large pieces, then add to the butter. Saute for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
5. Add the reserved roasted garlic and about 1 teaspoon of salt. Stir well to combine, then cook for an additional 3 minutes, or until well mixed. The onions will separate into small pieces and look almost melted.
6. Add the beef stock, red wine, brown sugar and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings.
Let cool, then refrigerate.
7. The next day, heat oven to 375 F.
8. Bring soup to a boil for 5 minutes before serving, stirring occasionally. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary.
8. Just before serving, ladle into mugs or bowls about three-quarters of the way full. Place a piece of the stale bread on top of each serving, then top that with a generous handful of the cheese.
9. Place the soup bowls on a baking sheet and place on the oven’s bottom shelf and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until brown and bubbly. Enjoy immediately.