Béchamel — Basic White Sauce
Béchamel is one of the sauces of French classic cuisine. It is a basic white sauce that has many uses, including forming the base of Real Macaroni and Cheese.
INGREDIENTS | SERVES 6
- 2 whole cloves
- ¼ onion
- 4 cups milk
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- salt and white pepper to taste
Poke the cloves into the quarter onion.
Put the milk in a saucepan with the onion and bay leaf, heat to scalding (not quite boiling), and then turn off the heat. Let the mixture steep for 15 minutes.
Remove onion and bay leaf.
Melt butter in a saucepan. Add flour and cook, stirring, for a few minutes.
Gradually add the hot milk, whisking to smooth out lumps. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer, and simmer until thickened, 10–20 minutes. Stir frequently during simmering to prevent sticking and burning on the bottom.
Season to taste with salt and pepper. Strain finished sauce to remove any lumps.
There is more to Beurre Blanc, a white butter sauce, than just melted butter. A thickened mixture of white wine and shallots is required first; then a dash of cream is added and a large amount of butter is whisked in.