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A few clouds. Low 11F. Winds WNW at 15 to 25 mph..
A few clouds. Low 11F. Winds WNW at 15 to 25 mph.
Updated: November 17, 2022 @ 8:57 pm

During my four years at Carroll High School, Mr. Garry Vreeland was my French teacher for French I, II, III, and IV. The students of Monsieur Vreeland were fortunate to have such an enthusiastic teacher that taught us songs as he played his guitar and had us watch Sol, the Canadian hobo clown on VHS tapes. Most notably, Mr. Vreeland enthusiastically arranged for his French students to travel by school bus to Omaha to experience fine dining at The French Café in the Old Market of Omaha. Sadly, The French Café closed in 2012 after 42 years of business.
Before our trip, we selected French cuisine from the restaurant’s menu. We practiced for weeks in advance to ensure we knew proper French greetings and how to order “en français.” I clearly recall ordering French Onion Soup and Chicken Cordon Bleu, two of my most favorite dishes still to this day.
The food at The French Café was superb. There was nothing like the experience of an expertly prepared lunch followed by being let loose in the Old Market to explore an array of eclectic shops. I recall purchasing an old red British Army beret from a secondhand shop and I still have it tucked away with my high school memories.
French Onion Soup
If French Onion Soup is on a restaurant menu, there’s a very good chance I will order it. The rich broth and sweet onions topped with a layer of melted cheese and crusty bread is irresistible. This recipe incorporates a touch red wine to add a bold finish to the broth.
– 3 tablespoons butter
– 4-5 small-medium yellow onions, peeled, halved, and thinly sliced
– 3 teaspoons minced garlic
– 2 sprigs fresh thyme, plus more for garnish
– 1 bay leaf
– 1/2 cup semi-dry red wine
– 48 oz beef broth
– salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
– 1 mini French baguette
– 4-5 oz Gruyere cheese, freshly grated
Add butter and sliced onions to a large pot over medium-low/medium heat. Melt butter and cook onions for at least 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Do not allow onions to burn. Onions will soften and turn dark and golden. Add garlic and stir for 30 seconds. Then add thyme sprigs, bay leaf and red wine. Cook over medium heat until most of the wine is absorbed. Lastly, add broth and allow soup to simmer for at least 10-15 minutes.
Slice baguette at an angle with a serrated knife into 8 equal slices. Place each slice on a baking sheet and top with grated Gruyere cheese.
Place baguette slices under the broiler until cheese is melted and slightly brown around the edges. Remove from oven.
Ladle soup into 4 soup bowls and top with two slices of baguette. Garnish with additional thyme leaves, if desired and serve.
Note: If you can’t find Gruyere cheese, Swiss or Provolone could also be used.
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