Grilled Onion Soup with Flame-Licked Croutons
Adapted from BBQ Bistro by Karen Adler and Judith Fertig. French onion soup is a cult classic that is rumored to have originated at the old Les Halles Market in Paris. In the traditional recipe, you caramelize onions on the stovetop, and then add beef broth to make soup. But guess what? You can also caramelize onions on the grill, where they take on an even more pronounced flavor. If you want to keep this recipe vegetarian, use a good quality vegetable broth in place of chicken or beef.
2 large (2 pounds/1 kg) white onions
12 slices baguette
12 ounces (375 g) freshly grated Gruyère or Comté cheese
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (500 ml) dry white wine
1/4 cup (50 ml) dry sherry
8 cups (2 L) broth—chicken, beef, or a combination of both
Prepare an indirect hot fire in your grill.
Slice the onions 3/4 inch (1.5 cm) thick and thread each slice onto a wooden skewer that has been soaked in water for 30 minutes. Brush the onion “lollipops” and the slices of bread with olive oil. Set on a baking sheet.
Grill the onions for about 5 to 7 minutes per side until charred and soft. Grill the bread for about 1 to 2 minutes per side until toasted with good grill marks. Top the bread with 2 tablespoons of the cheese and set on the indirect side of the grill for a couple of minutes or until the cheese melts. Set aside. When the onions are cool, remove them from the skewers and chop. Set aside.
Melt the butter in a stockpot and add the chopped grilled onions and salt. Sauté for a couple of minutes over low heat. Add the wine and sherry and simmer for 15 minutes. Add the broth and bring to a boil, then simmer for 30 minutes.
Spoon the soup into 6 bowls and top with two cheesy croutons and sprinkle the remaining grated cheese among the bowls. Serve at once.
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