Mornay — Cheese Sauce

This is a basic cheese sauce that can be served over vegetables, on open-faced sandwiches, or with pasta. Parmesan, Monterey jack, or any other cheese you prefer may be substituted for the Cheddar.


  • 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
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
  1. Poke the cloves into the quarter onion.

  2. 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 steep for 15 minutes. Remove onion and bay leaf.

  3. Melt butter in a saucepan; add flour. Cook for a few minutes, stirring constantly.

  4. Gradually add hot milk; whisk to smooth out lumps. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until thickened, 10–20 minutes. Stir frequently during simmering to prevent sticking and burning on the bottom. Remove from heat.

  5. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Strain sauce to remove any lumps. Quickly whisk in the egg yolk and shredded cheese. Allow time for the cheese to melt, then stir to make a smooth sauce.

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