From a very young age, one of Neven's favourite pastimes was to shadow his mother in the kitchen, watching her cook; his pastime soon became ...
50 g butter
675 g onions (thinly sliced)
1 tblsp sugar
25 g plain flour
1 l brown chicken or beef stock
1 tblsp cider vinegar
1 small baguette (cut into slices)
100 g carrigaline cheese (waxed removed and thinly sliced)
2 tsp chopped fresh parsley
salt and freshly ground black pepper
If you have heatproof serving bowls, fill with the piping hot soup and float the cheese-covered baguette slices on top and then grill until the cheese is bubbling and melted. Here I've used a semi-hard waxed cheese from Cork, but really any Irish cheese would work well, even cheddar.
Melt the butter in a large pan and add the onions and sugar. Cook the onions over a very low heat for about 15 minutes until well softened and golden brown, stirring occasionally so the onions do not stick as they caramelise.
Stir the flour into the onion mixture and cook over a very low heat for another 5 minutes, stirring continuously.
Gradually pour in the stock and add the vinegar, stirring to prevent any lumps forming.
Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes until the onions are meltingly tender and the soup has thickened, stirring occasionally. Season to taste.
Preheat the grill to high. Arrange the baguette slices on the grill rack and toast on both sides.
Arrange the cheese on top and cook for another 1-2 minutes until bubbling and melted. Sprinkle the parsley over.
To serve, ladle the soup into warmed serving bowls and arrange the bubbling cheese toasts on top.