Tuesday, September 13, 2011

How-To Tuesday! Bechamel Sauce

There are generally believed to be five "Mother" sauces of French cooking.  These sauces serve as the base for all other sauces. So if you can learn to make these sauces, you can make any sauce!   

The five "Mother" sauces are:
1. Bechamel - a white cream sauce made from butter, flour and milk
2. Veloute - a white sauce made with butter, flour and chicken, veal or fish stock
3. Espagnole - a brown sauce made with butter, flour, tomato paste, veggies and meat stock
4. Hollandaise - a rich yellow sauce made of egg yolks, butter and lemon juice.  
5. Tomato- you guessed it, a red sauce made from tomatoes.

Hopefully I'll get to covering each of them on the blog sometime.  I happen to be in love with Eggs Benedict so Hollandaise is a must.  But for now there is Bechamel.

Bechamel Sauce, from Mario Batali
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
4 cups milk
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg**

**If you own a microplane buy whole nutmeg, it is so yummy and it is really easy to grate it fresh since it is stored in a glass spice container and keeps for a long time**

To begin, heat the milk in a small saucepan over medium-low heat.  You want the milk to get hot but you don't want it to boil!  Keep a close eye on it. When the milk is starting to feel warm to the touch melt your butter in a large saucepan on medium-low heat. 

Milk heating in the back, butter melting in the front.

Once the butter is melted, turn the heat up to medium and add the flour.  Stir constantly and cook for about 6 to 7 minutes.  The mixture will be a nice golden color.

Now add the hot milk to the butter/flour one cup at a time. Whisk constantly to incorporate it all before adding more milk.  Once all the milk has been added and the sauce is smooth, bring it to a boil...carefully!  Stir it constantly and adjust the heat down if needed so that it doesn't boil over.

Let it boil for about 10 minutes until the sauce is thickened, again stirring constantly.  Remove it from the heat and stir in the nutmeg and salt.  

May not look like much but it is delicious!  Bechamel Sauce is the perfect sauce to use in homemade macaroni and cheese.

Macaroni and Cheese, courtesy of 4 Pears
1 lb cooked elbows
1 lb grated cheese (get creative!  I made an "adult" mac and cheese on Sunday using half mild cheddar and half spicy buffalo wing cheddar)
bechamel sauce from above
20 crushed Ritz crackers, divided
2 tablespoons butter
salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 350 F. After draining your elbows put the pasta back into the large pot you cooked them in.  Pour over the bechamel sauce, stir in two thirds of the cheese and half of the cracker crumbs.  Pour the pasta into a greased casserole dish and top with the rest of the cheese and then the crackers crumbs.  Dot the top with butter.  Finish with a little salt and a lot of freshly ground pepper.  Bake for 20-30 minutes or until the top is golden and the cheese is melted.

Before it went into the oven

Sorry there is no "after" picture.  Alex and I literally dug into the dish as soon as it was out of the oven. :P

No comments:

Post a Comment