Updated: Apr 27, 2020
I recently received a message asking about how to make a Bechamel sauce and what can it be used in. Well, it is a really simple sauce to make, it does take a bit of time at the stove but the uses are endless as well as the variations to the sauce. The best Mac and cheese recipes all start with a variation on Bechamel sauce.
This sauce is the base for the best Mac and Cheese, Egg dishes; the base for sauces of fish, chicken, veal dishes; Souffles, Croquettes and so much more.
2 tablespoons of unsalted butter
2 tablespoons of unbleached flour
1 cup of warm milk
Salt and Pepper to taste
Melt butter over medium to low heat, do not let the butter brown.
Next whisk in flour until smooth, still over medium to low heat.
Slowly add the milk, whisking all the time. Once all the milk is added you will need to constantly whisk until the sauce thickens. This will take about 5 minutes. Season with salt, pepper, and a pinch of ground nutmeg.
Now for the Variations;
For an enriched sauce add an additional room temp butter to the sauce once it thickens. Do this 1/2 tablespoon of butter at a time, make sure the butter is absorbed into the sauce before adding more.
Add a 1/2 cup of grated cheese of choice to the thicken hot sauce, whisking until cheese is melted and combined.
Substitute warm/hot chicken, beef, fish or veggie stock for the milk
Substitute the milk with cream and add 2 tablespoons of minced onion.
Add 1 tablespoon of Dijon Mustard to thicken the sauce, whisk until combined.
Whisk 1 teaspoon of each of the herbs of choice into thicken sauce, simmering for an additional minute or two until flavors are released.
Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of tomato paste to thicken the sauce, whisking until combined.