Sunday, January 24, 2010

Classic Bechamel Sauce

Bechamel sauce is the basis of just about all cream sauces. It can be made into a peppercorn or mushroom sauce for your steak, a cheddar sauce for your Macaroni and Cheese, or just left as a bare naked white sauce used for such things as lasagne or moussaka.
The recipe is quite easy to remember as it consists of the same amount of butter to flour, then adding milk - the amount is depending on how thick you want your sauce.
The measurement of the milk will make this sauce quite thick.

4 tbsp flour
4 tbsp butter
430ml warm milk
pinch or 2 of nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste

- In a saucepan melt the butter on low-medium heat. Remove from the heat then stir in the flour. Replace onto a low heat and continue stirring for 3 to 4 minutes. This is to cook the flour but do not allow it to brown..
- With a whisk slowly add milk, bit by bit. Allow the milk to come to a slight boil then reduce heat again and simmer while stirring for 5-10 minute until the sauce is thick.
You will know the sauce is ready also when you lift the wooden spoon and the sauce come off it in a silky smooth line.

To make cheddar cheese sauce add 1 cup of strong cheddar cheese, about 125ml more milk - give or take, 1 tsp mustard and a tiny pinch more of nutmeg.

To make a mushroom sauce saute 1 cup sliced mushrooms. Add them to the sauce (along with the juice that came off the mushrooms, with some extra freshly ground pepper to taste

To make a peppercorn sauce add 1 tbsp brandy (or red wine, in which case add 2-3 tbsp), a couple splashes of worcestershire sauce, 2 tbsp peppercorn (colour of choice or mixed) - half of them crushed and half left whole

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